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Cars 3 (Blu-ray Review)

7 Nov, 2017 By: John Latchem

Box Office $152.9 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 UHD BD
Rated ‘G’
Voices of Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt, Lea DeLaria, Kerry Washington.

Cars 3 returns the franchise to the spirit of the first film and its homage to car culture, resulting in a fun adventure that should satisfy younger viewers.

The first Cars, back in 2006, took a lot of its cues from the idea of the classic family road trip down Route 66, introducing audiences to hot shot race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), who ends up embracing the quaint town of Radiator Springs that time, and the highway, passed by. The 2011 sequel, on the other hand, took a bit of a detour with an international espionage story against the backdrop of a global race, focusing more on McQueen’s buddy Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) and technological wizardry, evoking the feeling of a 1970s Hollywood caper.

Cars 3 gets back to the roots established in the first film: McQueen’s racing career. Now a wily veteran amid a pack of hungry newcomers, McQueen finds himself falling behind the competition, with ambitious newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) leading the way. Determined to prove he still has what it takes, McQueen takes up with a new trainer, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), as he embarks on a journey to discover the real spirit of the track and the winning attitude of old-school competitors such as his late mentor, Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman in the original film, his final role, and reprised here using outtakes).

So, where the first film was very much about the automotive legacy on Americana, this latest installment looks at the generational shifts in the history of auto racing. This newfound focus is the subject of the several behind-the-scenes featurettes on the Blu-ray’s bonus disc. The 11-minute “Generations: The Story of Cars 3” looks at the film as a whole, while the 11-minute “Legendary” profiles many of the real-life racers who inspired characters in the film. “Let’s. Get. Crazy.” is an eight-minute look at the research and development of the demolition derby sequence.

Other featurettes on the second disc include a “Cars to Die(cast) For,” a fun, five-minute profile of the various toy cars inspired by the franchise over the years; and the five-and-a-half-minute “World’s Fastest Billboard,” about the creation of several of the clever Cars-world brands advertised in the film.

“My First Car” offers three crudely animated segments in which three personalities behind the film recount the first car they own. These run about two minutes apiece.

Also on the second disc are 26 minutes of deleted sequences, though these are mostly from earlier versions of the film and are more beneficial to highlight how the story evolved rather than adding any insight into the story of the final film.

There are also fly-throughs of three of the computer-animated sets, lasting a minute each, plus trailers and promos.

The first disc includes, in addition to the movie itself, the seven-minute short film Lou, about the ghostly presence of a grade-school lost-and-found crate teaching a young bully a lesson; and the new short Miss Fritter’s Racing School, a three-minute commercial of sorts for training to compete in the film’s demolition derby.

“Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could” is an eight-minute recap of the creation, design and realization of this crucial new character to the franchise.

“Ready for the Race” is a six-minute lesson in racing from real-life driver William Byron.

Finally, there’s a filmmaker commentary that provides a lot of insights into the making of the film and where to look for some secret details hidden in the animation.

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