It’s been a while since I heard a theater crowd applaud at the end of the movie. It wasn’t a passionate, emotional applause, but definitely a joyful, grateful appreciation for a positively delightful evening out with the kids. This third installment in the Cars franchise takes us back to the deeper relationship we hoped for with “Lightning and Friends,” and we enjoy a passing-of-the-torch adventure loaded with great messages of honor. And power slides.
In this story, Lightning isn’t ready to take the merchandising money and run (which is sort of funny since I have oodles of car No. 95s in every Matchbox collection and toy chest in my house). Lightning battles a fascination with the new shiny things but keeps his focus well-grounded in his core truth—he loves the sport and he loves the friends who stand by him. Pixar created a wonderful experience for families to feel happy (and resolved) for their friend Lightning McQueen.
I liked the strong story of honor for the past and the people who paved our paths; the importance of realizing how they dedicated their hearts and talents to our success. Kids might not glean the nostalgia and won’t notice the consistent genius of the Cadillac Ranch desert rock formations, but it’s sure a good conversation to share with them over ice cream.
And another delightful part of the Pixar gift was the animated short film preceding the movie. “Lou” will prime your pump for a sweet and uplifting whole-movie experience. Even the four middle school boys I brought with me found lots to love.