…shift gears

As is quite often the case, this summer of blockbusters is full of sequels, but not just sequels, sequels coming off of sequels we’d rather forget. Earlier this summer we saw a valiant effort made by “Pirates of the Caribbean” to erase its fourth installment from its story arc, and this week brings us another Disney

So, with Pixar on its side, was “Cars 3” able to overcome some of the oddity of its immediate predecessor? Start your engines, movie lovers, and get ready for one heck of a comeback race.

The short answer is yes. In its third big screen chapter “Cars” more than made up for its slight veer in chapter 2. In fact, the only apparent recognition of the existence of the perfectly entertaining, but bizarrely mismatched “Cars 2” is the 3 in this film’s title. And I for one am also willing to pretend it was all a dream (and Michael Caine was there and Eddie Izzard and Emily Mortimer) and it never happened.

“Cars 3” more than gets this franchise that started out as a beautiful nod to small-town U.S.A., it’s paved its way towards a bright and promising future with a storyline that is delightfully relevant.

This time around the race track we find our hero, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), dealing with the possibility of the end of his career. With slick new high-tech cars like Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) taking over the racing scene, Lightning begins to question his own relevance in the racing world.

When his sponsorship is bought by a new owner, Sterling (Nathan Fillion), Lighting finds himself facing what could be his final race, if he doesn’t win. Lucky for him he has the help of racing’s top trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), even if he’ll only begrudgingly accepts her help.

Raise your hand if you saw “Cars 3” being compared to “Wonder Woman” on the grounds of its message of equality. If your hand is up right now you’re either a liar, or you work for Pixar. It’s not long into the movie when it’s clear where this is headed and bravo, “Cars,” bravo.

Now if you’re worried you’re going to be bashed over the head with a heavy-handed political statement, fret not. It’s not that kind of movie, but it’s there. And don’t worry, all of Lightning’s friends from Radiator Springs are back too, even if they’re not hitting the track with him. Yes, Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is there too, although, as is to be expected after his adventures in espionage in the last movie, he keeps a decidedly lower profile.

“Cars 3” expands on the universe of cars at a pace that enhances the series beautifully; returning to its roots while taking a huge step forward.

…bi-daily smile…

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