I love movies with solid stories and clear lessons to be learnt. Cars 3 was one of those movies for me. McQueen, the main character, has had a good career in racing but this doesn’t last long. Jackson Storm emerges into the racing scene winning all the races and setting new records. McQueen, discouraged and stressed because of this new and better opponent, pushes himself to dangerous limits and gets involved in an accident that puts him out of racing for a brief time. McQueen recovers but starts a journey of self-rediscovery.
McQueen joins a racing training program run by Rust-eze Racing Center (now owned by Sterling) and is attached to a trainer Cruz Ramirez. Cruz once dreamt of being a racer but struggled with self-esteem and decided to settle on becoming a trainer, a job she does well. Cruz is psyched to train McQueen but McQueen struggles with Cruz’s training methods. Sterling notices that McQueen is not getting any faster and offers him a publicity deal — McQueen drops racing and becomes the face of his own racing legacy publicity sales program i.e. making money from selling lots and lots of McQueen merchandise. McQueen is not happy about this and offers a counter deal — if he wins his next race he gets to choose how his career unfolds and if he loses he takes Sterling’s deal.
McQueen manages to convince Cruz to allow him to try alternative training methods. This eventually leads them to Smokey who was Hudson’s trainer. Hudson, now passed on, was McQueen’s trainer. What better trainer than the trainer of one’s trainer? McQueen get’s the training he hoped and more. He gets to meet all of Hudson’s racing opponents, now retired. During this training with Smokey, McQueen sadly realises that Cruz is actually much faster than him. Instead of Cruz training him, he had indirectly been training Cruz to overcome her racing fears. Still discouraged but determined, he heads out to the racing track to face Jackson Storm. His new friends (Hudson’s friends) and his friends from ‘home’ Radiator Springs, come to support him in this very important race.
The race begins and a few laps in, McQueen realises that he will never be able to win this race, but Cruz can! Cruz, having been told off by Sterling for not being at her job training cars to be faster, makes her way from the racing stadium, but McQueen calls her back in and they swap places during a pitstop. McQueen gives her the chance she had been denied many times before. Racing rules only require the racing number be on the track so it’s is perfectly legal to do the swap. McQueen becomes Cruz’s guide during the race. Cruz tails Jackson Storm through the whole race and in a superb close finish she wins the race, overcoming her fears and saving McQueen’s career.
Raising and building a better future generation is a central theme in this movie. Smokey taught and walked with Hudson in his racing days. Hudson did the same with McQueen. McQueen, during his training with Smokey, learns that Hudson’s best and happier years was when he trained McQueen! Hudson was really proud of McQueen and he could not stop sending out letters to his mentor about his protégé. McQueen drops racing and becomes Cruz’s trainer. He learns that raising a better generation is a better legacy to leave behind than becoming the fastest racing car ever. McQueen also learns that he will never be the best. There will always rise up a better and faster car. He did well to learn this sooner.
What a great encouragement! Who can benefit from all you have learnt over the years? Is there something you can pass on to the next generation? If so what are you waiting for?