Cars, Cars 2, and Ultimate Lightning McQueen

My nephews love Lightning McQueen and have about a thousand toys bearing his likeness.  So when I learned about the Ultimate Lightning McQueen, I had to get it, even though I had never seen Cars (or Cars 2 for that matter).  For those who aren’t on Sphero’s mailing list, Ultimate Lightning McQueen is a remote controlled car that costs US$300, and here’s why it costs so much money:

Ultimate Lightning McQueen is not just an RC car.  This is a robot that has animated eyes and mouth, reacts to touch, and can recite tons of lines from the movies either randomly or in pre-programmed scripts.  Basically, it’s the toy robot that little Sean always dreamed of.

With the toy on the way (it arrived last night!), I felt like I should finally watch Cars beforehand so that I knew the basics about Lightning.  So that’s what we did, and it turns out that Lightning is a real jerk.  Like so much of a jerk that he doesn’t have a pit crew because he can win on his own.  So much of a jerk that he doesn’t change his tires, which naturally givecars-movie-disney-pixar_large out on the last lap and cost him a win.  So much of a jerk that when he gets lost in a small town and is pursued for speeding he wrecks the whole main street.

Lightning eventually does redeem himself in a very weird way, but here’s the thing: my nephews have such short attention spans that I guarantee they have not ever watched this movie past the opening race.  They will have watched that race a thousand times but probably have no idea that Lightning ever becomes less self-involved or that he ever needed help.  So it is a good thing that Ultimate Lightning can say so many lines, because I am going to be choosy with my catchphrases.  That way, maybe I can redeem Lightning in real time and teach my nephews that they do indeed need a pit crew (/more applicable sports metaphor), just like Lightning eventually figures out.

For good measure, we also watched Cars 2, which is more Mater’s story than Lightning’s (though Lightning doesn’t miss the chance to be a jerk to Mater in the sequel).  Just like in the first movie, Lightning wins with the help of his friends.  It would be a mycars-2-02172012stery why he is so loved, except that he is definitely the coolest looking racecar in the movies and that’s really all the explanation required, isn’t it?

And now, we have Cars 3 to “look forward to”.  My hopes are not high, because these movies definitely aren’t Pixar’s best work.  Still, it’s something I know our nephews will love and now that they’re old enough to go to the movies, something that we’ll probably get to enjoy with them, and that’s good enough to make me genuinely excited about Cars 3 even though I thought the first two movies were entirely forgettable.

It also makes a US$300 Lightning McQueen toy feel like a bargain, because I know our nephews are going to lose their little minds when they see it in action.  Ultimate Lightning McQueen is everything I could have expected – it blinks, it looks around, and moves as though it is alive.  It is truly animated in every sense of the word.  As a bonus, it is a powerful little car that is really responsive, does donuts on command, and has a turbo button.  Because who doesn’t love a turbo button?  Having tried it out, I am even more excited to show off Ultimate Lightning McQueen to Lightning’s three biggest fans!

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14 thoughts on “Cars, Cars 2, and Ultimate Lightning McQueen

  1. Liz A.

    Yeah, I was kinda meh about Cars, and I think I saw it in the theater. Did you know that there are several Mater shorts that they did? It was in the Pixar shorts bundle that got aired on TV a couple times. (That’s when I saw them.)

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    1. Sean Post author

      I don’t remember the Mater shorts and I think we have a Pixar Shorts DVD in the collection. But I have been so indifferent to Cars that I may just have tuned it out at the time.

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  2. Kristine @ MumRevised

    That sounds like a crazy cool toy! Although we are finally out of the Cars movie mania, my son still asks, “Does Lightning need car insurance or life insurance?” when he sees an ad. Dammit if it doesn’t make me laugh every time. I can’t say that for the movies 🙂

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    1. Sean Post author

      Yes, it’s hard to call it a toy when it’s so expensive and complex, but it’s amazing whatever category you put it in.

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  3. J.

    Oh! A turbo button!

    But yeah, I’ve only saw Cars in the background while visiting the parental units one Christmas a few year back cause they had it on for my nephew. I don’t remember much except that he saw the benefits of teamwork.

    … but a turbo button!!

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  4. reocochran

    I can’t pay for this ultimate car toybut am happy you tried it out and gave it a great review, Jay. I liked the movies, including Mater’s story and the Planes story.
    Now, my grandson’s made me take them to that Monster Trucks, that was such a strange film, with ecology and tear-jerker part with the creatures (living inside the trucks) joining their family again. . . It made me mad to cry! 🙂

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  5. Hazziesof

    Is it just me or does Owen Wilson always play the same type of character? Or does it just seem that way since I recently watched him in Masterminds? lol I still enjoyed the cartoon more than I expected but if it weren’t for my son I would probably never have seen it. Thanks for the review. The remote controlled car sounds really freaking cool!

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