Kuu Kuu Harajuku: Music Baby – Fun, Imaginative, Vibrant, Fashionable and Filled with Great Songs


From the mind of Gwen Stefani comes the world of Kuu Kuu Harajuku! Say hello to HJ5! A super cool band made of five super cool girls! Love, Angel, Music, Baby and their inspirational leader G love to sing, dance and sport the latest kawaii fashions (Kawaii is “cute ” in Harajuku speak)! With help from their loveably incompetent manager Rudie, HJ5 travels all over to put on shows for their fans! Although they are totally talented, every time they start a gig, something wild and crazy happens before they finish the first bar! I mean, it’s not easy performing while you are being attacked by space aliens, adorable (and ravenous) monster pets OR hunger (you don’t want to mess with Baby when she’s hangry). No matter what challenges come their way, they always work together to save the day! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “The perfect animation colors and style make this concoction a work of art that is pure genius. This is an adorable fun world full of fashion, original songs and five smart girls with problem solving skills and teamwork.” Kamryn B. adds, “Kuu Kuu Harajuku is a jamming new TV series that is now available on DVD. This show is filled with humor and adventurous episodes. The vibrant colors make the show even more “Kawaii,” the Japanese term for cute.” KIDS FIRST! Juror Rachael V. wraps it up with, “This program was co- created by Gwen Stephani (No Doubt) and you can really tell. It’s extremely girly and stylistic and the music is fantastic.” See their full reviews below.


Kuu Kuu Harajuku: Music Baby

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12


The adventures on this DVD are crazy and humorous! The perfect animation colors and style make this concoction a work of art that is pure genius. This is an adorable fun world full of fashion, original songs and five smart girls with problem solving skills and teamwork.

I adore the likable, optimistic characters including G (Maggie Chretien), the leader of the band HJ5 who is ready for a challenge at all times. She believes nothing is impossible. This is why she is my favorite character. Fun fact: G is supposed to be represent Gwen Stefani in encouraging young girls to become themselves and to have faith in each other as well. Baby (Charlotte Nicdao) loves everything and just wants to give everyone a hug and talk things out. Love (Daisy Masterman) is the brainiac. She knows her technology and her brain is big and chocked full of knowledge. She is one smart cookie. Music (Sally Taylor-Isherwood) is the sarcastic, sassy one who knows what to do and when to do it. Angle (Emma Taylor-Isherwood) is the girl to call on when you need an outfit for an event. She loves fashion and shopping. They all want the best for each other while they try to make it as a girl band. They are true to themselves and believe every problem has a solution.

The voiceover talent is fantastic. They know how to bring out the perfect tones for each character. Gwen Stefani is the executive producer and along with her, many other wonderful actresses are a part of this crew. Lessons to be learned from the show are inspirational and helpful. HJ5 helps kids learn to be themselves and accept who they are. That is what makes this show so special. People are all different and have a unique quality about them. The world would be boring if everyone was the same. We should accept each other’s differences. It is okay to be different. Embrace our differences and have fun with it. That is what makes you who you are and what makes you special and unique.

Phony ponies is the cutest episode. It reminds me of the Kentucky Derby because of the hats that they wear, like the actual Kentucky Derby. My mom and I always wear crazy hats and watch the horse races. Team work is a great theme for this show. The music is originally and catchy. It makes you feel good and you want to sing along. The animation is perfect as are the colors and style. All the colors are eye catching and fun. On the other hand, the style is perfect. I love the complex shapes and details and the way that they make it all work together.

I recommend this funtastic DVD for ages 4 to 12. For kids who love music, fashion and adorableness,  this fabulous DVD will be a hit. I give it 5 out of 5 “Kawaii” (Japanese for cute) singing stars. This DVD comes out on June 13, 2017 so, keep your eye out for it.

Kuu Kuu Harajuku: Music Baby

By Kamryn B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15



Kuu Kuu Harajuku is a jamming new TV series that is now available on DVD. This show is filled with humor and adventurous episodes. The vibrant colors make the show even more “Kawaii,” the Japanese term for cute. The characters Music, Baby, Love, Angel and G experience different puzzling situations together as they sing to their accumulating fan base. Their unorganized manager Rudie and General No Fun are always trying to ruin the band’s plans.


This show was created by Gwen Stephanie based on her Harajuku Lovers brand. Steve Aranguren, Gillian Carr and Madellaine Paxson are credited as co-developers. The cast includes Charlotte Nicdao as Baby, Emma Taylor-Isherwood as Angel, Daisy Masterman as Love, Danny Smith as Rudie and Sally Taylor-Isherwood as Music. I commend the voice actors for the way they make the characters’ emotions seem real.


The animation is quite unique, compared to other animated shows. The show has multiple shades of purple and pink that would make any girl squeal. The characters are all quite unique and well defined. G, the leader of the band, helps the group focus on the task at hand. Whenever General No Fun gets in the way of fun, she helps figure out a way to have fun despite his intentions. Since their manager Rudie isn’t much help, G has an important role to play. Baby is childish and knows what’s cute and what isn’t. Love has all the smarts to create a formula of success. Angel is the fashionista who wears all the newest looks and styles.  And Music is my favorite character because of her sense of humor and a hint of sass.


My favorite scene involved Music in one of the episodes when she suspects something fishy is going on that would negatively affect the band. Music does her best to protect her friends. The different episodes evoke a different message. One that I resonate with is the idea of teamwork and working together as a group. It also emphasizes that people should not be ashamed of  who they are or what they love to do.


I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars. The animation is great, the characters are lovable and enjoyable. I recommend this DVd to kids age 5 to 10. This DVD comes out on June 13, 2017 so, be sure to check it out.
Kuu Kuu Harajuku: Music Baby
Reviewed by Rachael Vickers, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.

This program was co- created by Gwen Stephani (No Doubt) and you can really tell. It’s extremely girly and stylistic and the music is fantastic. It’s about a band called HJ5 . It has a real cutesy Spice Girls meets My Little Pony feel to it. The girls are always running into problems while trying to do a gig. Nothing seems to go their way, but because they are such great friends they always find a way to salvage the day. There is an adorable episode called Baby’s Birthday. Baby is on the girls in the band and it’s fun watching the other members scrambling to make this day worthwhile for Baby. This is definitely not a program that I think boys would particularly enjoy. There are no action moments . It is all heavily focused towards girls , which is fine. The music is great and it has a fun pop sound. The animation is quite good and the storyline flows well. I recommend this for ages 4 through 11 and give it 5 out 5 stars for really teaching girls to be tough and stay positive!



Lee Brice Headlines 3rd Annual ShipKicker Country Music Festival at the Queen Mary July 1 Daniel Bonte & The Bona Fide, Honey Country, and Jake Parr Added to Artist Lineup Tickets On-Sale Now at QueenMary.com


The Queen Mary will once again go country with ShipKicker, the 3rd annual country music festival at the Waterfront Events Park on Saturday, July 1. Country music favorites, Daniel Bonte & The Bona Fide, Honey Country and Jake Parr, have joined the list of top country artists set to perform. Lee Brice will headline the day into night festival joined by The Swon Brothers, Jerrod Niemann, and the 2017 ShipKicker battle of the bands winner: James Rensink.


Daniel Bonte & The Bona Fide is Orange County’s own break-out “rock” country band. Showcasing incredible vocal talent and songwriting skills, the band has produced some of Southern California’s favorite country hits including “Moments” and “Enough.” Rooted in three-part vocal harmonies, Honey Country is a female trio, SoCal country-pop group named one of the top 10 country artists you need to know in 2017 by Rolling Stone. Country music songwriter and musician, Jake Parr, will join also join the ShipKicker artist line-up for a boot-kickin fun day of performances.


Lee Brice will headline the 3rd annual ShipKicker country music festival stage. Brice’s breakout track “More Than a Memory” was released in 2007 and was the first single in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart to debut at #1. His cardinal album, Love Like Crazy, took the country music scene by storm in 2009 with the title track setting a record as the longest-charting song in Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart history. Brice has had multiple chart-topping hits, gold albums, and was even honored with song of the year at both the CMA and ACM Awards for fan-favorite hit “I Drive Your Truck.”


Brice will be joined by the likes of favorite country artists including Jerrod Niemann, The Swon Brothers, Daniel Bonte & The Bona Fide, Honey Country, James Rensink, and Jake Parr.


The ShipKicker Saloon will keep the entertainment rolling in between sets on the main stage featuring a full bar, dance floor, and performances by Alicia Kelly, Alexandria Korn, Melissa Farrior, and Camel Helene.


ShipKicker country music festival will offer food vendors, a beer garden, cocktails, mechanical bull rides, line dancing lessons from Cindi Massengale, and country yard-games to entertain in between musical acts.


Kick-off the music festival weekend with the inaugural ShipKicker pre-party on Thursday, June 29 starting at 5 p.m. at Gaslamp’s Strictly Country Thursdays in Long Beach. As Lee Brice sings in his 2013 hit song “Parking Lot Party” – there aint no party like the parking lot party. For $10 with a general admission ticket, festival-goers can kick-up some dust to Redneck Rodeo and Morgan Leigh Band at the ShipKicker Parking Lot Party on Saturday, July 1 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Keep the fun going at the ShipKicker after party with performances by the Scotty Mac Band at Long Beach’s Cowboy Country. Entry to the after party is free with proof of ShipKicker ticket.


Tickets start at $49 (online in advance) and $59 day of and at the door. VIP tickets are $99 (online in advance) and $110 day of and at the door. VIP tickets include access to a private bar, shaded lounge, trailer bathrooms and front-of- stage access. Both general and VIP admission include complimentary access to the Queen Mary until 6 p.m. on July 1.




Tickets for the Queen Mary’s 3rd annual ShipKicker Country Music Festival are on-sale now at http://www.queenmary.com/events/shipkicker-2017/.

Credit: The Queen Mary. 

Super 4: Welcome to Enchanted Island – Where fantasy and creativity reign supreme!


Welcome to Enchanted Island, an island covered with a mysterious enchanted forest, which is home to every form of magical creature you could ever imagine – fairies, mischievous boy sprites, unicorns, sirens, ancient tree spirits and magic wishing wells. Visitors to Enchanted Isle must beware for nothing is ever quite what it seems, and dreams and reality quickly become one. At the center of the forest is the palace of the capricious Fairy Queen, who is in a constant temper due to being turned into a frog by a talented young fairy who overdid herself and, in an attempt to grant the ultimate favor to the queen by making her even more pretty, she cast a spell that gave her the head of a frog! Unfortunately, that talented young fairy is our friend, Twinkle. Twinkle has great potential as a fairy but she must learn to master her wand and its magic. Join Twinkle along with her Super 4 friends as they band together to fight villains and save their worlds from chaos. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Alejandra G. comments, “I love that this DVD is filled with creativity and fantasy, factors that truly draw children’s attention. Each story has witches, fairies, enchanted worlds and many other fanciful things.” See her full review below.


Super 4: Welcome to Enchanted Island

By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15



I love that this DVD is filled with creativity and fantasy, factors that truly draw children’s attention. Each story has witches, fairies, enchanted worlds and many other fanciful things. Since young children have big imaginations and tend to be extremely creative, they are automatically drawn to the show since they can relate to the fantasies in each episode. Their open imagination allows them to dream about these unique and special creatures. I understand why kids love the series so much.


In this show, the characters go on adventure after adventure to help their friends solve problems or situations they are in on the Enchanted Island. They get into very funny and odd situations that children will relate to as something that is actually possible. Of course, using magic to help them adds to the intrigue.


My favorite scene from this collection is when the queen’s head turns into a frog as she attempts to make herself more beautiful. She wants to try, but fails and has to deal with the consequences. This scene demonstrates how the shows’ makers incorporate things that children will easily be drawn into. It’s typical of young children dream of and imagine. Also, it is quite funny to see how they manage to make this funny scene part of the story.


The episodes truly excels at entertaining children and making them have a great time while watching. It offers positive role models and a theme of friendship. The Super 4 friends band together to fight villains and save their worlds from chaos. I can honestly commend the makers of this show on their smart and intelligent writing. While at first look, it appears as a length infomercial for Playmobil toys, it is more than that. The stories are unique and special and geared appropriate for its young audience. It’s highly entertaining and fun. I wish the females were more engaging. I rate this DVD 3 out of 5 and recommend it for ages 3 to 8.


Super 4: Welcome to Enchanted Island

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12



Super 4: Welcome To Enchanted Island is eye catching and entertaining. The lessons are perfect for kids and the animation is terrific. Kids will love this DVD for so many reasons and they will talk about for years to come. The animation in this DVD is one of my favorite things about it. I adore it. The characters all look like toys from a Playmobil toy set and, that is one of my favorite things about this series. Everything that is in this imaginary world is built with Playmobil blocks. Also, the animation is very colorful and joyous and makes me fell all giddy whenever I watch it. 


The morals and life lessons in this DVD are terrific and can be very valuable for everyone. Some of the lessons included are be courteous to everyone no matter who they are or what they have done to you, use everyone’s talents not just your own, look to the future and not the past, and look before you leap.

The characters are all quirky and energetic. I like Alex (Damien Farrette) who is the knight in shining armor to call when you need help. He is also always there for you and ready to lead a helping hand. Rudy (Laetitia Lefebvre) is another goodhearted, but mischievous character for she is a pirate at heart. Even though she is trying to get rid of some of her flaws, she stills has a few. Gene (Frank Lorrair) is a sci-fi futuristic kind of guy who likes to use gadgets, which some might say are magical because of how stupendous they are. He also loves to use logic to solve all kinds of problems, such as how to wrestle with a troll and so many more life lessons. I know I will use them in the future. My favorite character is Twinkle (Sara Natochenny). I love her for her kind heart and her shyness. She wants to make things right by turning the fairy queen back from a frog into a fairy so she can make amends. Also, she wants to do no wrong even though she needs to learn how to use her wand correctly since she accidentally turned the fairy queen into a frog in the first place. Twinkle always looks to the future and always has a good attitude unless her fairy friends are sad. When the furious elf turns all the colors into black and white and makes the fairies all sad and unhappy, Twinkle is there to help them out and look to the future. Twinkle is a fairy full of determination!


I recommend this DVD for ages 6 to 12. Kids will love the quirky characters, fun learning experiences with Twinkle, Alex, Rudy and Gene. They will also love the factor that it is inspired by Playmobil and brings all kinds of worlds together into one big, huge, wondrous universe.  I give this magical DVD 5 out of 5 Golden Wands. This DVD is in stores now so, if you want fun adventure and excitement in your home, go check it out.



The Book of Henry – Surprisingly good with excellent writing and performances


Sometimes things are not always what they seem, especially in the small suburban town where the Carpenter family lives. Single suburban mother Susan Carpenter works as a waitress at a diner, alongside feisty family friend Sheila. Her younger son Peter is a playful 8-year-old. Taking care of everyone and everything in his own unique way is Susan’s older son Henry, age 11. Protector to his adoring younger brother and tireless supporter of his often self-doubting mother – and, through investments, of the family as a whole – Henry blazes through the days like a comet. Susan discovers that the family next door, which includes Henry’s kind classmate Christina, has a dangerous secret – and that Henry has devised a surprising plan to help. As his brainstormed rescue plan for Christina takes shape in thrilling ways, Susan finds herself at the center of it. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie J. comments, “However, I was pleasantly surprised by this under-the-radar film and am sure general audiences will as well. The Book of Henry is an emotionally affecting film with a few fine messages about parenthood and altruism.” See his full review below.


The Book of Henry
Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 18


I had no expectations going into this movie. I knew I like the director, the leading actress and it had an interesting premise. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this under-the-radar film and am sure general audiences will as well. The Book of Henry is an emotionally affecting film with a few fine messages about parenthood and altruism.


The movie actually surprised me. Perhaps it’s because I had no prior knowledge about it, but the twist (I don’t think it’s supposed to be a twist per se) in the movie is reminiscent of Psycho, in that the seeming protagonist has an interesting cinematic journey. That provides the basis of our catharsis. It’s actually very solid writing. We become invested in this character who has a charm and wit about him that’s irresistibly likable and we fall for him. We become invested in his relationships with his mother, his little brother and his neighbor. The plot is already in motion and then the twist happens.


After this twist, the true protagonist comes to the forefront and we become invested in her because we feel for her and root for her cause. The only issue – her cause happens to be literally unbelievable and predictably improbable. However, we find ourselves nearly believing it. I mean, there’s a sequence that’s utterly Hitchcockian, when there’s cross editing between two separate scenes. One scene is used as the musical background for the other and the tension is palpable. It’s reminiscent of the concert scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much. It all comes to a satisfying ending that we all knew was coming and yet, isn’t any less smile-inducing.


The performances are very good. Naomi Watts is one of our generation’s most consistent actors and the youngsters Jacob Tremblay and  Jaeden Lieberher hold their weight and then some. However, the score and direction deserve a lot of credit. The film is very well paced and switches between tones so seamlessly. Never are we pulled out of the film because it gets boring or it goes too quickly or it switches between genres.


A lot of reviews are bashing the film. Don’t get me wrong, it has its flaws. The foundation of the character is never told and is a glaring hole. A few plot elements are improbable, definitely. However, those are forgivable in the grand scheme. This film has charm and intrigue. I believe it’ll go down as one of those films where critics and general audiences just don’t agree. With that said, I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater when it opens June 16, 2017.


Celebrate #DaddysDay with MAM and win a $500 prepaid card or tickets to a MLB game of your choice! We have also teamed up for a Giveaway!

#DaddysDay - Chelsea

MAM is celebrating Father’s Day with a great contest!


This Father’s Day, MAM will be selecting one lucky person to win a $500 prepaid card or tickets to a Major League Baseball game of your choice! Share a story that shows what makes the dad in your family a great father with the #DaddysDay hashtag and MAM will select their favorite story to win! Enter here: http://www.facebook.com/mambabyusa

This contest ends June 18th.

i love daddy 2000 x 2000 300dpi

We have teamed up for a Giveaway! One winner will win a $30 MAM prize package! To enter leave a comment below telling us something great about your Dad or Husband! Deadline to enter is June 18th, 2017 at noon PST.

Follow MAM:

Facebook: MAMbabyUSA

Twitter: @MAMBABY

Pinterest: MAMUSA

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Credit: MAM.

Last Minute Grad Gifts

Graduation is here or almost here for those who aren’t quite out of school yet for the Summer!

Here are a couple great gift suggestions!


The new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age [June 6, 2017; Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins] offers a set of twelve easy-to-follow rules for artists to live by that translate artistic success to business success. The author Jeff Goins is a marketing expert, bestselling author and creative thinker.

This book has some real sound advice and I highly recommend it for those who are creative. It truly explains how you can survive and not give up on your dreams. My favorite thing I read was to not wait for inspiration. 

Real Artists Don’t Starve launched on  June 6th, 2017 and can be found at Thomas Nelson and wherever books are sold.


Girls Graduation Gift: Notebook Doodles Go Girl!

I love how positive this one is! This one is great for  middle grade age girls. Jess Volinski’s coloring book Notebook Doodles Go Girl!: Coloring & Activity Book is an inspiring and empowering book for girls. I would even recommend for younger girls transitioning to middle school. 

Notebook Doodles Go Girl! is not just another kid’s coloring book! It is designed specifically for the design-savvy TWEEN who thinks kids books are too juvenile and mom’s adult coloring books are too, well…adult! Inside this book, youthful readers will discover 30 interactive art activities that are just waiting to be filled with color. They will also find a coloring art lesson, 20 inspiring color palettes, 8 pages of colored examples, and inspiring quotes to go with every design. Watercolors, colored pencils, markers, crayons, and gel pens will all look stunning on high-quality, extra-thick paper. Each page is perforated, so when it’s finished, it can easily be removed to hang up or give as a gift.

Connect with Jess Volinski on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and at http://jessv.com.


Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Happy Graduation!

theBlu An Underwater VR Experience @ The Natural History Museum Open until June 18, 2017

What would it be like to swim alongside manta rays, angler fish, and a blue whale? Well, you can – in virtual reality! All you need to do is wear a VR headset and you will discover what it is like to swim up close to a jellyfish (my favorite!) or a Whale.


In this high-tech, immersive experience, you’ll explore the ocean and it’s really like you are there! I had the opportunity and really thought this was an amazing experience! My favorite was seeing the jellyfish!


This 6-minute expedition is great for any virtual reality skill level. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the latest in VR technology and explore some of the world’s most remarkable marine ecosystems. This is an exhibit that you don’t want to miss!


Advanced timed-tickets required

Members $8, Nonmembers $10 with General Admission. For ages 10 and up.

Find out more here.

Self Disclosure: I had the opportunity to visit the Natural History Museum to facilitate this post. 

Cars 3 – Best in the Cars Series!



Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage! Benjamin P. comments, “The animation in Cars 3 is great. No other film succeeds in making everyday objects feel truly human as well as this franchise does. This gives it a sense of realism and puts me more in tune with characters’ emotions and makes me care more about them in the process.” Jolleen M. adds, “This film is really unique and well made! I really enjoyed watching it. The storyline is well thought out and original. I also love the animation which is very detailed.” Lucia F. wraps it up with, “As a teenage girl who did not see the first two Cars films, I had serious doubts about this movie. Imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying Cars 3 from beginning to end.” See their full reviews below.


Cars 3

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11



Cars 3 is a great new chapter in the Cars series. While it doesn’t soar to the heights of other Pixar films, it still is the best Cars film yet.


Cars 3 sees Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) undergo a series of losses and then a near fatal crash. His fellow racers are dropping out and being replaced by new, high tech cars like his rival Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). McQueen realizes during his recovery that the game has changed and he’s not the sharp rookie he used to be. He knows he needs to train harder than he ever has to keep doing what he loves. With the help of trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), McQueen plans to beat Storm at an upcoming race in Florida to start off the season. This is his last chance to prove his worth to his fans and his new corporate sponsor (Nathan Fillion) and McQueen is not going down without a fight.


My favorite character in Cars 3 is Cruz Ramirez. The reveal of a new car being added to Lightning’s crew is exciting. This character’s glowing positivity is a nice contrast to McQueen’s snarky pessimism. Cristela Alonzo brings a lot of enthusiasm, but also plays the deeper sides of this character very well too and engages you in the evolution of Cruz Ramirez throughout the movie.


The animation in Cars 3 is great. No other film succeeds in making everyday objects feel truly human as well as this franchise does. This gives it a sense of realism and puts me more in tune with characters’ emotions and makes me care more about them in the process. The backgrounds in this film are gorgeous. They’re detailed, picturesque and really reflect the quality of Pixar’s animation. The total effect makes me envy the characters and wish I could visit them in their rich, colorful world.


Preceding Cars 3 is the short film Lou about a creature made out of objects from a school lost-and-found bin. It’s an interesting concept and carries an important message. It’s one of my favorite Pixar shorts to date. I recommend Cars 3 for ages 5 to 12. The scene where Lightning McQueen crashes is quite intense and could scare younger children. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. Cars 3 opens in theaters June 16 so be sure to go check it out.


Cars 3

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12


This film is really unique and well made! I really enjoyed watching it. The storyline is well thought out and original. I also love the animation which is very detailed. I especially love the facial expressions of the cars which show a lot of emotions.


Cars 3 is about the famous racer, Lightning Macqueen. He is usually the winner of every race until a rookie racer comes along. The rookie, Jackson Storm, is younger, sleeker and faster than Lightning Macqueen and his “old-school” friends. Eventually, his friends retire, leaving room for more rookies to join the races. And Lightning McQueen goes on an adventure to figure out if his racing days must come to an end.


Owen Wilson, the voice of Lightning McQueen, perfectly performs Lightning McQueen’s rage scenes. He makes McQueen sound desperate, frustrated and on the edge of breaking at times, but can make him also sound determined and hopeful. Armie Hammer, the voice of Jackson Storm, voices Jackson as an arrogant character. The voice fits very well because Storm always makes fun of Lightning McQueen.


The animation of this film is very pleasing to look at, is 3D, and even though they are cars, you can see their facial expressions. Their voices and facial expressions indirectly show their emotions which was really pleasing to watch.


My favorite part is when Lightning McQueen goes back to visit the hometown of his late crew chief and former racer Doc Hudson. McQueen sees all of the letters that Hudson sent back home about him. McQueen starts feeling emotional and begins to really miss Hudson. I really like this scene because it warmed my heart to see McQueen realize that he made Hudson happy till his last days. Lightning McQueen was like a son to Doc Hudson.


The message of this film is about persevering and empowering women. Cruz Ramirez, a female car with the dream of being a racer, is told by everyone that she can’t be a racer, even though she works extremely hard every day to become one. Lightning McQueen gives her a chance to become a racer and she takes it no matter what anyone says.


Cars 3 is a great movie and I give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 6 to 14. This film is very positive and has a different storyline. It’s awesome for car lovers. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 16, 2017.


Cars 3

By Lucia F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 18


As a teenage girl who did not see the first two Cars films, I had serious doubts about this movie. Imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying Cars 3 from beginning to end. Although this movie is clearly an action movie, it is also hilarious! I am a huge Larry the Cable Guy fan and, as Mater the Tow Truck, he provides plenty of comic relief. I also love how loyal and heartwarming Mater is as a friend to the protagonist, Lightning McQueen. Of course, his is not the only remarkable performance. Owen Wilson, as Lightning McQueen, is a very effective leading man. His performance is pure genius.


The movie is intense. A new race car character, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) is introduced as competition to our hero, Lightning McQueen. Unfortunately, Storm steals Lightning’s thunder (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Viewers will find the many racing sequences extremely exciting. I actually jumped during the nighttime race through the forest with no headlights. Parents should know that there is another scene that might be disturbing to younger viewers which occurs during the Crazy 8’s demolition derby race at Thunder Hollow. Since all the characters are cars, the destruction could be considered quite violent.


There are three messages in this film. The first is a message of girl power when a plot twist involving Lightning’s female trainer provides a completely unexpected result. Another message is to value and honor the old-timers who succeeded before you and paved the way for your success. We see this when an older lady racer talks about the days when she was not allowed to have a number, so she stole one. The third message, which provides yet another surprise, is that those who support actual heroes are indeed, heroes themselves.


What really stands out for me throughout this film is the music and the animation. I love how the music, usually heavy-metal guitars, suits each race so perfectly. The images are of two types – absolutely breathtaking scenery, such as the trip to the Rusteeze Racing Center, and the appealing, animated car characters. It is also very interesting that Lightning McQueen keeps changing his look throughout the film .


I give this film 5 out  of 5 stars. It very effectively tells a story about doing what you love to do regardless of public opinion.  I recommend this film for girls and boys ages 7 to 18.  Cars 3 races into theaters on Friday, June 16, 2017 so go check it out.  You will absolutely enjoy the ride.