“Cars 3” is the coming of age story of Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson), the Piston Cup winning #95. Finding himself overtaken by the next generation of racers, led by Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer,) McQueen first tries to challenge the newcomers head-on, however he finds that age and technology may have passed him by. After a devastating accident and with the help of trainer Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo) McQueen learns that he has more than one role to play at the racetrack. The story teaches the value of perseverance and trust in ones self. It provides an especially strong message to girls that they should never give up, and that they can do anything they set their minds to.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The story was both engaging and entertaining, with plenty of humor for adults and children alike. I particularly liked how the relationship between Lightning and Cruz developed into that of mentor/mentee instead of a romantic one. In typical Disney*PIXAR fashion the animation and effects are top notch. You really feel as though you’re watching real racing, with pieces of rubber, smoke, and all of the associated sounds. The world of Cars is immersive, with details everywhere on the cars, in the scenery, in the buildings. In those details you’ll find plenty of references to other PIXAR stories, past and future.
The bonus disk is jam-packed with features:
Blu-ray & Digital: Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (Exclusive new mini-movie) – Enjoy blindsided testimonials from the Crazy 8’s, touting the transformative impact Miss Fritter’s Racing School has had in reshaping the direction of their lives Theatrical Short: “Lou” – When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box. Let’s. Get. Crazy. – Get schooled in the world of demolition derby, the “rules” of figure 8 racing, and how Pixar puts the crazy in the Thunder Hollow Crazy 8 race. This piece is hosted by Lea DeLaria. Legendary – a close, historical look at the racing legends Wendell Scott and Louise Smith, whose tenacity and perseverance got them into the race even when they weren’t invited. Ready for the Race – Disney Channel’s Olivia Rodrigo and NASCAR Racer William Byron check out the Hendrick Motorsports campus to showcase how real-world race training influenced the filmmakers. World’s Fastest Billboard – Blink and you will miss all of the graphics and “car-ified” advertisements created by Pixar’s Art team to make the ”Cars 3” world as believable as possible. Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could – Join Cristela Alonzo and the filmmakers on their journey to create a race-car trainer turned champion racer. Generations: The Story of “Cars 3” – For the story team, creating Lightning McQueen’s next chapter didn’t involve just a tune-up, but a complete overhaul. My First Car – A collection of illustrated first-car stories as narrated by members of the “Cars 3” cast and crew. “A Green Car on the Red Carpet with Kerry Washington,” “Old Blue,” and “Still in the Family.” 5 Deleted Scenes – Each deleted scene is set up with an introduction as to why it was removed from the film. Deleted scenes include “The Boogie Woogie,” “The Jars of Dirt,” “Lugnut,” “The Bolt,” and “More Than New Paint.” Cars To Die(cast) For – Take a look at the phenomenon of die-cast toy collecting and the more than 1,000 unique designs that exist in the Cars universe. Commentary – Brian Fee (Director), Kevin Reher (Producer), Andrea Warren (Co-Producer) and Jay Ward (Creative Director)
My personal favorite Cars D’oeuvres – A collection of humorous animations featuring the main characters in “Cars 3”
This movie is well worth adding to your collection.
“Cars 3” on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD™ & Blu-ray™ on Nov. 7
HULK SMASH! I do love that line… this was by far the best Thor movie by far. It really takes the best parts of last couple of Marvel movies and puts them together. Think all the humor of Guardians of the Galaxy spliced with the off beat comedy of Thor. I really loved this movie and highly recommend it for any adult, my son Marc who is 9 was laughing a good bit of the movie and cheered at the fight scenes but there is a body count in this movie, so please think twice about bringing children under 7 to seeing this movie.
In Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok,” Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk!
Chris Hemsworth returns to the tle role of the hammer-wielding hero of Asgard. He is joined by Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s duplicitous adopted brother, Loki; Cate Blanchett as the villainous Hela; Idris Elba as the Asgardian sentry, Heimdall; Jeﬀ Goldblum as the eccentric dictator, Grandmaster, ruler of Sakaar; Tessa Thompson as the ﬁerce warrior, Valkyrie; Karl Urban as Skurge, one of Asgard’s strongest warriors; Mark Ruﬀalo, reprising his role of Bruce Banner/The Hulk from “The Avengers” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”; and Anthony Hopkins again portraying Odin, King of Asgard.
There are two after the movie scenes. A mid credit scene and one extra scene at the end of credits.
THOR OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD 2017!
Disclosure: We attended a screening of this movie to help facilitate the review. All opinions are my own and honest.
As part 3 of our continuing coverage of the home video release of Disney Pixar’s CARS 3, we were granted time with Director BRIAN FEE and Producer KEVIN REHER. Together they shared insight on the changes and decisions made during the creation process and how ultimately it changed the direction of the film.
Brian Fee started with Pixar Animation Studios in 2003 as a story artist. During his time with Pixar he has has worked on the “Cars” films, “Ratatouille”, “Wall•E,” and “Monsters University.” With “Cars 3” Fee makes his directorial debut.
Kevin Reher joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1993. He began as a finance and production representative for Walt Disney Pictures on “Toy Story” and co-producer of “A Bug’s Life.” In 1999 he formally became a part of Pixar as the development producer, overseeing the “incubation period” of feature and short film projects, starting with 2003’s release of “Finding Nemo.” Reher also oversees Pixar’s casting process, beginning with “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles,” and continuing with “Cars 2,” “Brave,” “Monsters University,” and the studio’s 2015 releases “Inside Out,” which won the Oscar® for best animated feature film, and “The Good Dinosaur.”
One of the first things that becomes apparent when viewing this film is that it’s not just a rehashing of the existing story. In “Cars 3” we’re introduced to Cruz Ramirez (voiced by Cristela Alonzo), a younger female assigned to help train Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) take on the new generation of faster racers. As the story progresses we learn that Cruz is not only a trainer, but also quite capable in her own way. She just needs to learn that for herself. This storyline was not always a part of the script. During our Q&A we learned that the decisions to make Cruz a “she” was not only driven by story, but by what the production team observed in their real lives as parents and coworkers.
Question: How do you feel about Cruz and Cristela, and that character, and what she brought to the movie?
KR: We absolutely love her, she’s so fun to work with too. She did all of her recording on set, flying back and forth.
BF: You know Cruz didn’t start off as a female character. Early on in the process of this film it was a male one. While we’re trying to constantly evolve and enrich the story, and we just keep redoing it, we eventually realized that we’re missing an opportunity here. I have two girls at home, and here we have a very heavily male dominated movie, and it’s a male dominated sport. I wanted something for my daughters, something for them to look up to, for then to identify with. I would see them afraid to do something. If they thought they were going be bad at it, they just wouldn’t even try it. That’s human nature, but it still breaks your heart as a parent. Because, well, everyone’s bad at everything at first. Everything that happens at home, it gets put in our back pockets, and we come to work the next day, we start talking about story. That kind of stuff, it comes up. So we started just paying attention to all this, and we thought Cruz needs to be a girl character, on every level. First thing we did we made her a female. We do these rough screenings, it’s all storyboards, and it’s all just us doing the voices and stuff just to try out the story while we work on it. We decided let’s not rewrite the part, let’s just make it a female. That didn’t work.
Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo)
KR: Having a female character speaking former lines by a male character was like, uhhh…
BF: Well it wasn’t a strong character…
KR: Yes. If you look at the deleted scenes, you also can see her journey as an actress and how she found the character, because some of it’s a little cringeworthy.
BF: The original Cruz as a male character was working at the time. He was very… soft. You almost have this…
KR: …Syncophantic assistant…
BF: Yes, and he was funny because he wasn’t confident. He didn’t have any bite to him, and that was somehow entertaining as a male character. As soon as we gave it a female voice it was just all kinds of wrong. So we started to write the character with more bite. That’s why we have the scene where McQueen starts blaming her. He’s just frustrated, and kind of lashes out at her… and she just, like, bites him back. That’s the reason we wrote the scene that way, it’s because we thought “What would Cruz really do?” It’s a learning journey. She was easily the hardest character to crack, and she was also quite frankly the most important character in the film.
Many of the characters in “Cars 3” were voiced by real-life racers like Junior Johnson, Ray Evernham, Kyle Petty, Shannon Spake, Danny Suarez, and others. They may be perfectly comfortable behind the wheel, but placing them in front of a microphone could be a different story. We asked the team about what it was like working with these professionals.
Q: You’ve worked with great voice actors on many of your films. How was it working with some of these actors, taking them out of their comfort zones?
KR: Blood, sweat, and tomatoes! (laughing) It was masterful, but when you have non-actors it can be tough.
BF: When you have an actor, well trained and experienced…
KR: Kerry Washington (voice of Natalie Certain) comes in and just knocks it out of the park. You’re done early.
Natalie Certain (Kerry Washington)
BF: But you still have to put them in the right mindset. They have to feel it so that what comes out of them feels true. They’re not concerned about how silly they look. With a non-actor they’re aware of standing in front of a microphone, everyone’s watching. They’re not comfortable making funny noises. In that moment the job is to make them become comfortable, which usually means me making a fool of myself. For example working with Kyle. There’s a really heartfelt moment where he has to basically say goodbye to McQueen. It’s really an acting moment. I already knew that that’s going be a challenge, it’s going to be hard. It’s one thing to just say some things really loud as a joke, and it’s another thing to really connect on an emotional quiet level. One of the things we did was after he had the line down, I took his pages away so he was no longer reading words, to get out of that reading cycle. Then I would stand really close to hime and say “No, don’t say it to the microphone, say it to me.” I would get uncomfortably close to force him to just say it to me. He would lower his voice, and we would just do it alot. He got more comfortable, and we recorded him several times. He got really good by the end, he adapted and he learned.
Part of what makes the “Cars 3” franchise work it the incredible amount of detail that is integrated into the films. The backdrops, racetracks, and scenery all seem to interact on a real level. Much of this is due to the amount of research that goes into producing the work. We asked Brian and Kevin if they did any specific research in preparing for this film:
KR: It was great. We started on Route 99, then Charlotte, Daytona…
BF: We hung around racetracks.
KR: Lot’s of racetracks. Abandoned tracks. We went to Wilkesborough in North Carolina, Occoneechee, and that’s how we ended up hearing about the legends of racing. All the legends came out of all that research.
BF: Then we spent equal amount of time talking with drivers, like Junior Johnson and people that were there when it was getting started, and hearing their stories. You’d take all that stuff, and you have kinda put it in your back pocket. Then it comes up later, and it’s like “We got to have a character named Smokey that’s in some way fashioned after Smokey Yunick.” Then you’re able to attribute certain things to that character based on the real person that give it a richness.
Smokey Yunick (Photo by ISC Images Archives via Getty Images)
KR: “Smokey’s Garage, best dang garage in town.” It’s actually Smokey Eunic’s Garage was the best damn garage in town, but it’s a Disney movie, so we couldn’t. After we talked to Junior Johnson and mentioned that we had visited Occoneechee he said that he had ended up in the river there a couple of times. So we ended up with a character named River. Then there’s the story of Wendell Scott, who was the only African American stock car racer. If you watch the DVD extras there’s a terrific featurette on the legends, and his story was amazing.
Finally, we asked if they were happy with the final product, and if the next one would be even better.
KR: Yes, very happy with it.
BF: Yes happy with it. As far as the next one, I hope I can learn from the experience and do better. That’s what we live for, doing better.
CARS 3 now in HD and 4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray on November 7th
As part of our continued coverage of the upcoming release of Disney PIXAR’s CARS 3 on home video in Digital HD and 4K Ultra HD on October 24, and Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on November 7, we’ve been granted insider access to some of the people responsible for bringing this work to life.
JAY WARD the Creative Director of CARS 3 started with PIXAR Animation Studios in 1998 as a production assistant working in the art department on the 2001 feature film “Monsters, Inc.” Shortly thereafter in 2001 he was promoted to coordinator and began early development work on he 2006 film “Cars.” Jay already had real knowledge of the automotive world, which gave him the ability to fill various production roles, including character team manager and automotive consultant to the director and co-director. After Cars he went on to manage the art department for “Ratatouille” and “Brave.” Jay’s automotive expertise led him to become a major contributor on the Disney-Pixar feature “Cars 2,” and he was also a consultant on the creation and production of “Cars Land” at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. He continues as a contributor to everything in the “Cars” franchise.
RAY EVERNHAM (voice of Ray Reverham) grew up in New Jersey, and remembers playing with small cars in his driveway at an early age. Unlike other boys who wanted to be firemen or astronauts, Ray always knew that he wanted to be a driver or involved with cars. He started racing and working on cars at the age of 15, and spent the next 20 years as a driver, competing with the likes of Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Darrell Waltrip, and Bill Elliott. In 1992 he became the crew chief for Hendrick Racing team #24, Jeff Gordon. In 7 years as chief he led the team to three NASCAR Cup championships and 47 Cup victories, including two at the Daytona 500 and the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After the 1999 season, Ray retired from the crew chief position and moved on to the even greater challenge of team ownership. Leading Dodge’s return to NASCAR racing, Evernham was able to develop a car, engine and parts distribution program for Dodge’s entire NASCAR presence. With Bill Elliott driving, Evernham’s team won Dodge the 2001 Daytona 500 pole position in their first Sprint Cup series start in almost 20 years. Since 2007 when he sold his ownership of Evernham Motorsports, Ray has been active as a broadcast TV racing analyst with SPEED, ESPN, and NBCSN. He co-owns, co-produces, and hosts his own TV series with Rick Hendrick, “Americarna” on Velocity. in 2014 he joined Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant member of the executive management team. In 2015 he was nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Question: Can you tell us about how Cars 3 got started?
Jay Ward: We knew after Cars 2 we wanted to tell another story and we also knew we wanted to get back to sort of more the roots of Cars 1, a McQueen story. We also knew what people love about Pixar films is they love that emotional journey of a character and the transformation of a character. So that was the impetus. That was the beginning and then we thought, “Okay if we’re telling the story about McQueen he’s already a hero, he’s already great at what he does. What do we tell?” So we started with a comeback story. Kind of more like a Rocky 3. He gets knocked down by the young guy and does he get back up? That would have been great movie, easy story to tell, but what we found along the way, what was more exciting was telling a story about mentorship, and telling a story about paying it forward, and telling a story about telling somebody who had limited themselves in life. That, “No you are good enough. You can do this.” So that was how it started.
Q: You guys had lot of pressure, right, to make sure that the sequel lives up to the first one and the second one? It’s almost kind of the trilogy of Cars. Kind of like a race car driver comes full circle. So how much pressure were you having to make sure that this is isn’t a dud?
JW: Well it’s hard because PIXAR Films are held to a different standard, you know. There are studios that make animated part 2,3,4,5 and people are like, “Yeah it was alright.” but we can’t get away with that. People hold– for good or for bad, they hold us to a really high standard. So there’s a lot of pressure on our movies. It has to have a great story #1. Any film can look beautiful, but not any film can tell a great story. You have to feel a sense of wanting to connect with that character. Luckily we had people who had this love of Cars and this connection with Cars. It did add a lot of pressure of telling a story that was special, and that’s why our films take so long. I mean yes, technically they’re challenging, but it really is about getting that story right. No way around it.
Ray Evernham and Jay Ward
Q: Was it harder with that emotional roller coaster that Pixar always puts you on to maintain that Pixar level, but also get everything right for Cars and NASCAR and everything?
JW: It’s the challenge of any of our films. John Lasseter’s big word is authenticity. Whatever world it is, it’s gotta’ be authentic. Like for Nemo people had to go Scuba Diving. They had to go under water. They had to see what it looks like to look up from underneath the water. It’s different right? For Wall-E they studied so much stuff about space and all– I mean just every film you go to exhaustive research. Including for this film, because Cars is a known world. People know it. We all drive Cars and we’re familiar with them. We can’t get away with just making stuff up. More than that, John’s a gear head. So that’s where I come in. John’s like, “I want all the details right.” My job is to get all those things right. So that the car guys go, “Hey they got that right. That sounds correct, that’s looking right.” Yet the person who doesn’t know anything about cars is like, “I love this movie. That character was so cute.” It’s got to work for both, yeah.
Question to Ray Evernham: Did you have input? Like was there anything that you wanted to see that you kind of said, “Can you make this happen for my character, work within the movie?”
Ray Evernham: I didn’t have that kind of input. What we did was just sit and talk a lot. We talked a lot, and the Pixar team asked a lot of questions, and I told a lot of actual stories of how things worked. It was amazing to see them take that and be able to adapt it into the characters. They would send me something and say, “But what do you think about this?” Especially with Jackson Storm. After being in NASCAR and racing so long I saw the tendencies of Cars were going right. They’re getting lower, they’re getting wider, they’re getting sharper. The aerodynamics are coming from the bottom and the tires are getting wider, and the profile’s changing. We just talked about all those things and, and they made notes, after notes, after notes and, and just kept bringing it to life.
JW: Oh he did. I mean honestly. We knew Jackson Storm was supposed to look like the future of NASCAR. The idea was to make Lightning McQueen look old, which is hard to do ‘cause he looks good. He looks cool, but he had to feel like yesterday’s news all of a sudden. Like when Jackson Storm shows up it’s like, “Whoa he’s totally– this guy’s from the future.” Right? And that’s kind of like what we’re thinking about with Jeff Gordon as a Racer who Ray was the Crew Chief for. There’s one a day a young kid shows up that’s just better than you, you know. What is that like? That was in the design. So when we show designs for Ray we said, “Ray what does a NASCAR look like 20 years from now if you can make it up?” And he’s like, “You guys are on to something good.” So he did help.
Q: How hard is it to find a balance in the Pixar movies that will draw in children, but the parents want to watch it too?
JW: John’s always said that we don’t make children’s films. We make films that work for children and adults. If you start out by saying, “We’re going to make a great children’s film,” then that’s all you’ve made. If you make a great film, a really good film, it’s going to work for all ages. If you think back before we had a film rating system, if you go back to the 40’s or 50’s every film had to work for all ages. You couldn’t put stuff in them that you could put in them now. You can watch The Wizard of Oz as an adult or as a kid and you enjoy it. That’s what I think we strive for with PIXAR. Is to tell great stories that work for all ages and you want to watch it more than once because you’re going to see something you didn’t see the first time. I have young kids, and my kids like watching movies the over and over again. So even if I’m not watching, if I’m driving them and I hearing them, I’m still laughing and still remembering things and that’s pretty special. You don’t get that with all films. There are some kids films that we watched and even my kids will watch it once and then they’re good. They liked it, they walked out, “Hey that was fun.” They’re not going to buy that on Blu-Ray or DVD. They don’t want to see it again because there were some alright some gags and it’s done, but a great story they want to see again and again.
Q: What was it like seeing some of the stories and part of your history up on the screen?
RE: It’s been a fire hose of emotions in some ways because it’s at the end of my career, and having a young child you know I got kind of a blended family right? There’s 24 years difference between my children, and my son is on the autism spectrum at 26 years old. I have a 2 year old and it just seems to be lucky enough to have been involved. This project has brought them closer together, and I understand that a little bit more. Sometimes when I watch the movies with them I learn as much myself about my career. So in some ways when I look at Lightning, you know that’s Jeff Gordon. I’ve watched him through his career. But then through this movie you know some of the lessons that Lightning had to learn about the emotion, and the relationships, and that people were more important than winning the races and the trophies. Because when that’s gone you just had stuff, without the relationship with people it didn’t mean anything. So I actually found out more about my life and my career and, and I think that, that working on this movie has helped me appreciate my adoption into the Hall Of Fame more than had I not.
JW: When we started research and we went to a NASCAR race you realize how visceral it is. You see that these cars are so loud and so powerful and so impactful that you can’t help but sort of be moved by it, even if you’re not a racing fan. I also think the other thing people sort of assume is “Oh NASCAR, a bunch of good ‘ol boys going around in a circle.” It is so difficult, and it is so technical, and it is so strategic. Everything about it is strategy that you realize it’s multi-layer. Again, you can’t judge a book by its cover. And that’s what CARS 3 tells and that’s what I think the world of NASCAR is too. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
CARS 3 in HD and 4K Ultra HD on October 24
Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on November 7th
Elena is back with all-new adventures coming to DVD with the release ofElena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember! [amazon]
Join Crown Princess Elena, along with her family and friends, as they honor the past, rejoice in the present and greet the future with music, laughter and love. Whether celebrating Navidad, Dia de los Muertos or Carnaval, new and older traditions alike play a part. And even though everyone doesn’t always agree on the best way to get the party started, one thing is perfectly clear: holidays aren’t about what you do; they’re about the special people you spend them with!
This DVD is packed with laughs, new characters to cherish, and heart. Elena of Avalor: Celebrations to Remember [amazon]is a must-own for the entire family! Includes Four Celebration Themed Episodes, Plus Two Bonus Episodes and a FREE Exclusive Elena Locket! (The locket my daughter wears almost everyday FYI!)
Do you have a family game night? Do you kick the kids off minecraft when its time for a playdate? Are you just looking for something really entertaining for the kids to play with that arent electronic? If you answered yes to any of these questions then I’ve got something to talk to you about… way back at Toy Fair I saw this new company YULU they were putting out a few new games and I was really excited about a couple that I saw….
Safe Breaker [Target] is a new electronic game that combines spy skill, memory and a little bit of luck, challenging players to crack the code and break into the safe. This game does requires two or more players.
To start the mission, players pick a card and turn the safe combination to the corresponding number shown. Next, use the fingerprint scanner to test the number. If the light is green, the safe will release some coins. If the light is red, connect the spy listening gear to the safe to hear a top- secret clue to deduce the correct combination code. Clues include mathematical chances and luck elements, allowing for a new experience each round.
BEWARE! Players who release police coins will alert the police and must return all their coins to the safe. The spy who collects the five golden coins or two diamond coins first, wins the game.
The other game was Break Free [Target] which requires two or more players is a new, challenging action skill game full of urgency, suspense and tons of fun. The objective: players must race to pick the lock on their handcuff as quickly as possible and before everyone else!
First, players handcuff themselves together and insert a maze into each handcuff. The game includes three maze colors. Each color represents a different level of difficulty, making each round unpredictable. Using the lock pick, players must try to pick the lock on their handcuff as quickly as possible. The fastest to break free from their handcuff receives a token that corresponds with the maze color. There are points on the back of each token, the player with the most points after playing all three rounds, wins the game.
Now the great thing about both of these games are they’re fun for the kids to play and gets them off of screen time and breaks the typical board game dynamic. Also the kids can become an official YULU Spy Code Spy? The Spy Code Academy encourages kids to become Spy Masters through the Spy Code episodes featured on spycode.toys. Record and complete the mission at the end of each episode and upload your video using upload it using #YULUTOYS. You may have a chance to be featured on spycode.toys and get exclusive rewards from YULU Toys.
Since both games are rated for ages 6 and up they are the perfect birthday present to give a child.
Now both games are listed on amazon but at double the price of that of Target (which is why I choose to link there)… I was provided product samples but all thoughts are my own.