The Art Of Cars 3, foreword by John Lasseter, Preface by Brian Fee, Introduction by Bill Cone & Jay Shuster
When a film franchise is in its third film, a lot of the decisions about the main characters have already been made and one then has to go around looking for what has changed. In the case of Cars 3, what has changed is that Lightning McQueen has been blindsided by a new generation of faster racecars that have made him obsolete and he has found himself coming to a midlife crisis of sorts where he transitions from star athlete to mentor and helps others with the hard-won wisdom he has gained through the years, while also coming to terms with the past and realizing that his own mentor had been like him so long ago. Whether or not this film is made for the kiddos watching it, the film has a lot to say to those of us who have found ourselves in middle age not having spent our youth in the way that we would have wanted, and not wanting to feel ourselves to be obsolete or over the hill or anything like that. And it is the story more than the (admittedly gorgeous) art that gives this book a strong sense of poignancy.
Coming in at a bit more than 150 pages, this book follows the plot of Cars 3 and contains quite a few discussions of sequences and deleted scenes and ways that the artists pondered how to work with this story. After the foreword and preface and introduction, the book is itself divided into 3 acts. In the first act, Lightning McQueen is on top of the world, having won several years worth of championships as he dominates racing, all before being surprised when fast new cars make him seemingly obsolete overnight and push him beyond his limits, leading to a wreck. Act 2 then finds Lightning McQueen in a sort of semi-retirement funk, investigating the past to find that his own mentor had once been the hotshot racer of the early beach and rural racing circuit, giving him a sense of the history of the sport and the way that the passing of generations happens eventually to all of us who live long enough to see it. Finally, the book has a third act that shows Lightning McQueen taking on the role of a mentor and guiding a new champion to a win, after which there are outtakes and acknowledgements.