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Last March, I had a chance to visit the legendary Pixar Studio for a press event that included sneak peek footage from the anticipated Cars 3. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the entire film but the 40 minutes of footage was enough to get me excited for the release of the film in June. Before I get into my reaction, I would like to warn you that spoilers may be included so read at your own risk.

I’m breaking down my reaction into the following three parts: Storyline, performances, and the visual effects.

Storyline

The impression I had after watching the footage was that Cars 3 is the story of a sports icon coping with the challenges of getting older. Past his prime, Lightning McQueen finds himself chasing a shadow of his once great career. Fans still love him but he can’t compete with the new and technologically advanced models of cars (A car by the name of Storm to be exact). Later, he realizes that old age can have its advantages. Age brings experience and it can trump technology. That becomes apparent when McQueen races his new “trainer” Cruz Ramirez, who depends on machines to get physically fit.

While watching the film,  I was reminded of the “Rocky” movies. In fact, in one of the scenes McQueen and Cruz Ramirez race on the beach, reminiscent of Rocky and Apollo in Rocky 3. Trust me, this is a great thing.

Performances:

Owen Wilson, as always, rocks the house as Lightning McQueen. Along with the entire cast, they put their hearts into the performances. Moviegoers may think that doing voice over work is an easy task but it’s not.  It takes high acting skills to pull this off.

Visual Effects

One again, Pixar takes animation to the next level. The key here is realism. When the filmmakers study racing, Nascar, car movements, and mimic them. That’s why we believe in the characters and what we are watching.  Not only did they give realism, they also brought the cars to life by adding personalities and real-life drama.

I saw the film with incomplete visual effects and it was mind-blowing to see how well the characters looked in front of real life backgrounds.

In conclusion, it looks like Cars 3 will satisfy fans of the original movie and add a little something for the next generation.

Footage grade: A

Synopsis:

After being trounced in a race by upstart newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), everyone begins to wonder if Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson) should retire. But Lightning isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet, and with the help of another rookie – Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) – the old dog is going to learn some new tricks and attempt a comeback in the Florida 500.

Release date: June 16, 2017 (USA)

Director: Brian Fee

Music composed by: Randy Newman

Film series: Cars

Production companies: Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures