When an invitation to an advanced screening of a movie comes in, I’m very much of the “yay – another movie to go check out!” opinion. My son, who usually accompanies me, has reached the age where he is a bit more selective with his enthusiasm for new movies.
Guardians of the Galaxy? YES. Avengers? YES. LEGO Batman? Absolutely. But Disney/Pixar doesn’t hold the “of course!” place in his heart that it once did.
When I received a notice to preview Cars 3, I asked my 10 year old, Evan, like I usually do, if he’d like to go with me. He was quick with his no thanks. Now, my child is a bit different. He was never a mega fan of the original Cars movie, release in 2006. But since he was born in 2007, he was the prime age to grow up with Lightning McQueen.
We eventually figured out that he doesn’t love animated movies where the characters are inanimate objects (he never like Chuggington, Planes, or Thomas the Train either). And yet, I was going to force him to sit through Cars 3.
He’s at the age where he’s old enough to start feeling nostalgic – remembering toys or tv shows or movies from when he was much younger. I wanted to give him the chance to experience that. I also said that I really wanted his opinion on whether or not other tweens might like to see the movie. Well, I flattered him with that one and he was in.
(Side note: He also is a huge fan of Pixar and animation. He’s watched so many videos on The Pixar Theory that I think he convinced himself the screening was “research.”)
Turns out we had very different opinions of the movie and I’m quite sure it’s because of our, ahem, age difference.
What Fadra Thought of Cars 3 – Mom
Oh, I hate to say this. I realllllllly hate to say this. But I’m gonna say it.
I did not enjoy Cars 3 at all. It was boring (I yawned, I looked at my watch, I ate too many chips). It was cliched. I mean, we know there’s a formula but this one was coming from a mile away. It was dramatic. I kept saying to myself, THEY’RE CARS. Stop cuing the sweeping music meant to manipulate us (it didn’t work). Just hurry up and get to the happy ending, which we know is inevitable.
Spoiler alert: There is a happy ending and that always makes me, well, happy.
The animation was gorgeous. That’s a no brainer for Pixar.
The characters were okay. Cruz Ramirez was the newest character who served as a racer wannabe who now works as a racer trainer. To me, it felt like Disney was pushing the female empowerment thing a little too much this time.
The story was meh. It reminded me of Barry Allen on The Flash whose continuous mantra is I have to go faster. Only this time, it was Lightning McQueen who needed to go faster, continually spouting, I am speed but never really showing it.
On the flip side, as a car enthusiast, I enjoyed looking for the old, new, and obscure model cars that made up the crowd scenes. Even Evan got excited when he saw a VW Bus, now that he is actually recognizing real life models.
But let’s be honest. Pixar didn’t make this movie for me. Sure, they want me to enjoy it because I’ll be there as a parent. Let’s ask someone who is better suited for this movie.
What Evan Thought of Cars 3 – Tween
After the movie was over, I was waiting for it. I was waiting for all the reasons he wished he didn’t come. And I didn’t get any of them.
He said he thought the movie was really good. And that he “really liked it.” That’s about as much enthusiasm as I can get out of him.
When I pressed him a little more, he thought similar things about the storyline (he is is mother’s son) but was much more generous with his opinion. In the end, it was the animation that he enjoyed the most. I like to think he’s studying the craft he might one day pursue.
The One Thing We Agreed On – LOU
The best part of the entire screening was the first few minutes with the Pixar animated short, LOU. I had a chance to preview the short in its entirety when I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in February. Not only that but Evan and I both met Dave Mullins from Pixar Animation Studios, who was the heart and soul of this short. I loved seeing it again, showing it to Evan, and getting to finally talk about some of the details behind it. It’s definitely one of my favorite Pixar shorts!
Recommended for: Kids of all ages! Bring the younger ones to this one (ages 3 and up) and convince your tweens to go and relive their love of Lightning McQueen.
Discussion points: There’s a crash scene and I heard one young girl say to her mom, “What happened to him?” I giggled and leaned over to Evan and said, “He got a boo boo!” Otherwise, it’s a pretty fun and straightforward storyline.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars; Definitely not my favorite Pixar film but for diehard fans of the Cars franchise, you won’t be disappointed.