‘Cars 3’ Feels Like An Older Generation’s Fear of the Future
I’m seeing this debate a lot within various sports communities. An older generation fears the new style. The new generation is brash and cocky, trying to match the ones before. This basically happens in any industry. ‘Cars 3‘ offers a candid look at old vs new in sports. It’s buried deep within this film and doesn’t touch on it enough to be thought-provoking. When it does, that’s when the movie is the most confusing.
Lightning McQueen represents Generation X. This is a group raised by Baby Boomers but rubs shoulders with a younger generation. Gex X is on the cusp of two worlds. Jackson Storm is the new breed of athlete that’s driven by science and swag. Jackson Storm is how an entire generation views Millennials. Lightning McQueen leans more towards Baby Boomers with the whole “Damn these kids and their new attitude” mentality.
“I can’t go out on the track and do the same old thing; it won’t work!”
– Lightning McQueen (before he goes out and does the same old thing)
These two ideologies clash in the film like they do in real life. But why push this narrative?It comes off like a stubborn person refusing to see another side because they aren’t familiar with it. Yes, characters like Jackson Storm comes off condescending towards Lightning McQueen. He has a few jabs about McQueen being an “old-timer”. Jackson Storm even says many times that he respect McQueen’s legend status but just wants to be the new legend. His whole villain arc is based around this. I originally hoped this would go the ‘Rocky IV‘ route and craft a young antagonist but with dark motives. Sadly, it just made the antagonist young and left it at that.
Even the secondary antagonist has no real villain motivation other than promoting his business. Sterling, the car who buys out Rust-Eze, wants to make Lightning McQueen into a brand. He sees McQueen nearing the end of his career so he jumps at the chance to make him a rich legend. There’s no evil scheme to buy-out other teams, no one is cheating…it’s just about becoming a brand. That’s enough for this movie to make someone a villain. This feels like the condescending mindset of someone who rejects the notion of “selling out” and becoming a brand. More of the old vs new mentality.
I’m not denying both antagonistic characters aren’t nice but I seriously question their motives. ‘Cars 3‘ is another example of trying too hard to build a hero’s journey. When you do that, the rest of the characters suffer. Fleshing out Storm & Sterling out with proper arcs or actual villainous moments makes it easier to cheer for Lightning McQueen. Instead, I find myself questioning why I hate these guys. Hell, I almost like them!
Feels weird that ‘Cars 3‘ would get so preachy. I’m sure it’s enough for this film’s nostalgic middle America demographic but leaves much to be desired. This is a movie made by Baby Boomers trying to tell Gen X parents that Millennials are bad. You expect this from a meme on your odd uncle’s Facebook but not a Disney/Pixar movie.
Check out ‘Cars 3‘, in theaters on June 16th and let me know if you agree!
“Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.”
Starring Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington and Lea DeLaria.