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Kidsday review: ‘Cars 3’ is a rollicking ride

Actor Armie Hammer, who voices Jackson Storm in

Actor Armie Hammer, who voices Jackson Storm in "Cars 3," with Kidsday reporters, from left, Jean-Paul Duchatellier, Angela Gelo and Sara Schroeder at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We say, get ready for a fast-paced, high-kickin’, laugh-till-you-cry, encouraging and all-around entertaining family movie that leaves kids with the positive message that you can do anything if you believe in yourself and are willing to work hard for it. You will see all this in the new movie “Cars 3.”

You will find yourself cheering for Lightning McQueen (voice by Owen Wilson) when a new generation of fast cars comes to town and challenges McQueen to a showdown of exciting twists, turns and fast engine moves. The new generation, including Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), is like nothing you have seen before. Over-the-top, slick, fast racing and high-gear engine noises build the excitement and make you feel like you are on a roller-coaster ride.

Jackson Storm is like the new kid in school who just can’t be stopped. McQueen quickly realizes he may not be as young and hip as Jackson Storm, but he is determined to compete with them in every way. The Piston Cup Race is coming up, and the new generation’s “I got this” attitude is leaving McQueen in the wind. McQueen enlists the help of some new friends, including new character Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), an eager technician who has her own plans for winning. Yeah!

“Cars 3” finally introduces a lead “girl” car with the smarts to help McQueen train for the race and take the new generation by surprise, and it will surprise you too. Old “Cars” friends such as Mater, Chick Hicks and others lend a wheel to McQueen with the love and humor shown in the other movies. The Piston Cup Race left us wanting more. Don’t miss this one — it’s a definite on your summer movie bucket list. We rate it 5 out of 5 smiles.

Last week we met with actor Armie Hammer at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan to talk to him about his role in the film. We asked him:

What did you do to prepare for working in this movie?

I went back and watched the other “Cars” movies, which was very easy and fun preparation. That was pretty much it!

Why did you want to join the “Cars” movie series?

I love cars, I love driving. The movies were great, and it was a movie that my kids would get to see, too, and that will be a lot of fun.

Who is your favorite character in the movie besides yours?

I would have to say I like Lightning McQueen, but I also have to say I like Mater. Mater is very funny. And, now that I know you guys have seen it, the school bus character is good. How great is that character?

What made you want to make a Disney animated movie?

Well, if you are going to make an animated movie, you might as well make it with Disney — they are the best in the business. They make great films, and I have worked with Disney before, so it was nice to come back to them again.

What was the hardest part about making the new Disney movie?

I didn’t have the hard part in this movie. There are people who worked on this movie for years — the animators and the artists — and they may work on one scene for months. And they might be told, “Oh we don’t need that,” so they have to put in a new scene. My job was easy. I just had to show up when all the other stuff was done and just say these things.

Who was the funniest person in the cast?

Larry the Cable Guy [voice of Mater], and he is a comedian! But everyone was great and everyone was fun.

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