Racing into theaters this weekend from writer/director Brian Fee, Pixar Animated Studios and Disney is everyone’s favorite racers with “Cars 3.”

Lightening McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) has been a winner on the track race after race. That is until one day a big race that he felt was a win suddenly changes when a new generation car speeds past to take the win. Shocked, McQueen meets Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), a new race car that is all teched out and he isn’t sure how to deal with it.

When an event on the track happens, McQueen goes back to his little town to basically hide. That is until his friends Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Luigi (Tony Shalhoub) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) convince him that he needs to reach out Rust-eze, the sponsor who is now owned by Sterling (Nathan Fillion).

Sterling gives McQueen trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) who makes her duty to get him up to speed, literally, before the next big race in Florida. Wanting to go back to training the old-school way, McQueen and Cruz begin to understand one another.

But there is still one more thing McQueen needs to do and that’s return to where his mentor Doc (Paul Newman) lived and discover what motivated him! He meets Smokey (Chris Cooper) who introduced him to old-school racers who push McQueen.

When they arrive in Florida, McQueen begins to realize that the racing world is changing and it might be time for him to change too!

Wilson as McQueen once again brings humor and fun to his vocal role. This is a character that just continues to grow, even if he doesn’t understand why he has to. Wanting to be the best for as long as he can isn’t a new concept in life and McQueen eventually shows us all that being the best only changes when we realize change can be oh so good!

Alonzo as Cruz is a young lady car that absolutely needs to know her worth. As McQueen begins to understand her drive, he realizes that he can either help his new friend or be part of the problem. I love Cruz’s get up and go but also her dreams.

Cooper as Smokey brings in the old school gang to straighten out McQueen letting him know that Doc has always been with him. Those scenes are extremely touching. Hammer as Storm is a car that plays to the cameras but his wit even though it is stingingly aimed at McQueen. The addition of Fillion as Sterling is an owner that seems committed to McQueen but, of course he’s only in it for what he can get out of it and not the love of racing.

Larry the Cable Guy as Mater is till the sweetest and sometimes smartest car of them all. He wants what is best for his friends, believes in them and will drop everything to help them. He helps McQueen in ways that even Mater doesn’t realize. Larry will always be Mater!

Other cast includes Ray Magliozzi as Dusty, Kerry Washington as Natalie Certain, Bob Costas as Bob Cutlass, Margo Martindale as Louise Nash, Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip and Isiah Whitlock Jr. as River Scott.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Cars 3” four tubs of popcorn out of five. It is fantastic that Pixar and Disney have returned to the original formula that made the original “Cars” so much fun. Having come full circle with the inclusion of Paul Newman’s character just brought a tear.

The story gives each character an added depth of loyalty, belief in one another, can-do attitude and even when feeling defeated the uplifting of friends. It is thrilling that the original cast came together bringing all the comedy and laughs I felt missing in the second film.

Everyone in the audience truly had a great time and with school ending it is a great beginning to the summer family movie going experience. Lightening McQueen and the gang have brought their story full circle and it is nothing short of well done and fun.

Grab the family and head to the theater this weekend for an amazing story from beloved friends who just happen to be “Cars.”

In the end – It’s not over until lightning strikes!

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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.