I still remember the first time I saw Cars in theaters, when my family loved it so much that we just had to see it again...and then one more time before it even left cinemas. I don't particularly remember seeing Cars 2, but I know that we did at some point, and I have more than a few memories of watching both films in my own home. If you've been reading Everyday Disney for a while, you'll also know just how much I love and adore Carsland out at Disney California Adventure. If I could live anywhere in the world, aside from inside Spaceship Earth, it'd be Carsland. Actually, I think I ate at Flo's three times in the five days we were in the parks. Or was it four times?
Either way, Cars quickly rose to, and has stayed at, the top of my favorite Disney-Pixar movies list. I can't quite pinpoint why, but there's just something about this story that hit me and has stuck with me unlike any of the others. Maybe it's the fact that I love driving, and I really loved my road trip this past summer, which, for a while, took us on Route 66. Perhaps it's that dream I have of driving the Route all together, or it might be the beautiful animation and story that should have won it an Oscar. I'm still a bit salty about that one.
I think, ultimately, the thing I loved most about Cars was that it's a movie without a central villain. Yes, Chick Hicks is there throughout the film, but he's not really...evil, at least not in the same way as Captain Hook or Cruella de Vil terrorize their own films. Cars was, and is, a personal journey for Lightning, and he becomes his own villain. I think that was a really important lesson for me back in the day - that sometimes we want to blame others when the fault really lies with us. We want to blame Doc and Mater and Sally and Mac and yes, even good old Bessie, for our problems, but we can be the villains of our own story too. Lightning is so focused on his racing career and coming out on top that he neglects those around him, getting caught up in his own ambitions without ever realizing the toll they'll take on others. And when he gets stuck in Radiator Springs, it wasn't truly the fault of Mac - it was Lightning, and as he begins to slow down and truly open his eyes, he realizes that there's more to life than ambition.
As someone who regularly gets caught up in her own ambition and needs to consciously remind herself to slow down and enjoy life a bit more, Cars made all the difference for me. I know I felt that Cars 2 was lacking that same theme, and a physical villain appeared, so while it's still a spectacular movie, I think it lost some of the same charm for me. Which is why I'm actually thrilled by this first teaser trailer for Cars 3. Like with Toy Story, it seems that we'll be coming full circle with Lightning's story. He was, at one point, the young hotshot who had so much to learn, and it was Doc that taught him new tricks. Now, Lightning's a permanent fixture in the racing world, but as we learned in the original film, fame and good luck doesn't last forever. Lightning was once his own villain, and I'm really hoping that we'll see that again in a new way!
Let me know what your thoughts on the new trailer are in the comments below!
Have a magical day!