Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cars 3 Adoption Movie Review (SPOILERS)

Lightning McQueen has gone from being an underdog to a superstar, but now finds himself being passed up – in the media and on the racetracks – by younger, slicker cars. When a bad crash ends Lightning’s season, he must decide whether to train for a return, or whether to call it quits. He remembers his own trainer, Doc Hudson, who was forced out of racing by an injury, and Lightning decides that he wants to go out on his own terms. With resolve, he joins forces with his trainer, Cruz, in hopes of winning one more race.


The Adoption Connection

There isn’t an adoption theme to Cars 3. There are some good portrayals of mentoring.

Strong Points
The animated short before Cars 3 shows a bully named JJ who finally realizes the error of his ways when he remembers the pain of being bullied as a younger child, and his change for the better is reinforced when he sees the joy in others when he helps them instead of tormenting them. In Cars, we also learn that sometimes, a when a bully bullies, it’s because they’re intimidated of the person they’re bullying.

Cruz is Lightning’s trainer, but she has always wanted to be a racer. Her family discouraged her dreams, and so she settled for a job training other cars to race. As she works with Lightning, he also works with her. (SPOILER ALERT) Lightning makes a sacrifice to give Cruz a chance to chase her dreams, and in doing so, Lightning follows in the footsteps of his own mentor. (END SPOILER).
Cruz encourages the cars she trains that, “You can use any negative to push towards the positive.” At the same time, she encourages racers to put in the necessary work for success, “Wait until you’re ready; there are no shortcuts.”

Lightning has a trusted confidant in Mater. Lightning didn’t know how to put his problem into words, but Mater’s words are great, “I’ll stay right here with you till we fix it.”

Lightning believed that Doc Hudson thought of his racing career as his best days; however, Lightning learns that Doc actually considered his best days to be the ones he spent coaching Lightning.  


Some kids might be sad or scared when Lightning suffers a dramatic, car-rolling crash.

Lightning breaks Cruz’s spirits when he speaks sharply towards her, unintentionally brushing up against a painful secret she hasn’t told him.


Cars 3 seems like a positive movie for kids of all ages; it will probably be most enjoyed by kids up to age 11 or 12. The movie, and the animated short that precedes it, can offer parents a chance to talk to their kids about friendship, mentors, and bullying. It’s worth checking out. The film also has a positive portrayal of a female athlete who decides to chase her dreams, which could be helpful for many families. It’s worth checking out.

Questions for Discussion

If there was one thing that you could fix, like JJ did, what would you fix?

What does it feel like to do something nice for someone else?

Who have been some of your best teachers or coaches?

What do you think your teachers or parents were like as kids?

When Lightning hurt Cruz’s feelings, was it all on purpose, or was some of it by accident? How can someone hurt someone else without meaning to? What can they do to fix it?

Lightning was able to call Mater when he needed someone to talk to; even though Mater didn’t have any answers, it helped Lightning to have someone he could trust with his unresolved feelings. Who else could Lightning talk to? Who can you talk to? Do you have any friends that you are a confidant for? 

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