Saw it this afternoon, with a healthy smattering of kid-audience--
(And had to sit through EVERY upcoming animated trailer, "Nut Job 2" included, as well as seeing Sony's "Emoji Movie" and BlueSky's "Ferdinand" do the exact same "I feel like I don't fit in..." "You have to learn to be yourself!" plot, in direct succession.)
At the risk of getting into plot spoilers:
I was reading one Disney-fan site where the female columnist, still on a Grrl-Power high from watching Wonder Woman the week before, gushed, and I quote, "Take your daughter to Cars 3...Is this Pixar's most openly feminist movie to date?"
And was so determined to promote the message, I had one comment pulled for saying "No, we know what's 'Pixar's most openly feminist movie to date', and at least thank God it's not THAT one."
I suspect we should hunker down and prepare to get a lot of such wishful thinking over the next few weeks, as more folk discover the movie from word-of-mouth, but as much as I liked the movie for going back to Lightning and NASCAR (Mater's in the movie for just over five minutes total), Cruz was a big problem in the movie for me:
"Feminist role model for our young daughters", she is NOT. For the first half of the movie, she's virtually Dory on wheels--think the story department was a little too busy on Finding Dory at the time, and some of it spilled over--chirpy, optimistic, utterly delusional, and frustrating our poor hero with her non-stop chirpy optimistic delusions while Lightning, like Marlon, slow-burns that he just wants to solve his problems with a little SANE common-sense for five minutes straight. Sally from the first movie makes a few Radiator Springs cameos, and we're reminded how sympathetic a character she was when she tried to get the town going again, and was Lightning's conscience back in his jerk days, as she gets to be here. Even the one bright spot of Cars 2 was that Holly Shiftwell was a more competent and sympathetic Car-ette.
And then, in the second half, like Finding Dory, Cruz gets the big Pixar Dream-Crush of being told that she's too utterly clueless and real-world inexperienced about how to coach him, and, like Dory, we're too busy agreeing with him to create any pathos.
At which point, in the last third, it suddenly becomes Cruz's story about HER racing dreams, and not Lightning's. Which is supposed to lead us into the idea that Lightning wants to follow in Doc's footsteps and be racing's next old-man mentor, but still feels like a bait-and-switch.
C'mon, wasn't Lightning not being the main protagonist in his OWN MOVIE the big key problem we were trying to solve this time around?
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