The Love Bug has crashed for the last time. Launching as part of the Disney Magical Moments Festival, a drivable replica Lightning McQueen now features daily in Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular, replacing Herbie’s comedic cameo which has been part of the show since opening in 2002. It’s a chance to update the long-running show with a more recognisable film franchise, tying in perfectly with the impending Summer release of Pixar’s spy-themed sequel Cars 2, but is this “rookie race car” a match for Moteurs’ seasoned stunt vehicles?
This new Lightning McQueen vehicle was first unveiled at last month’s Shareholders Meeting and arrives at Walt Disney Studios Park as the second full-size Lightning in the park, the first being a static prop next to Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. Joining the motor stunt show in Backlot, he has the advantage of already matching the colour of the show’s existing “hero” vehicles — but this is no stunt car. In fact, this Lightning is fully electrically-powered car, custom built in France.
Taking the place of the previous Herbie segment, the new scene follows the plot of the upcoming Cars 2, which sees Lightning and his tow truck friend Mater mistaken for international spies during their World Grand Prix tour. The Mediterranean fishing village sets of Moteurs… Action! couldn’t be more perfect then, themselves inspired by James Bond and other action thrillers. Though the location here is meant to be France, it’s not even that far detached from the fictional Italian resort of Porto Corso due to be featured in the new film.
Check out the official footage of the new scene:
Mater appears on the giant video screen instructing Lightning (known as Flash McQueen in France) on his secret mission. The new vehicle does a good spot of “motor acting” as he dodges a villain car carrying a giant “secret weapon”, eventually coming face-to-face with each other…
The scene ends as Lightning McQueen manages to chase the villain, a cleverly dressed-up regular black car with an evil growl, off set along the roadway in front of the audience. And that’s it.
Here’s a video of the full scene:
Produced at the same time as the film’s sequel is in production, the set appears to use the real (English) voices of Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy for Lighting and Mater, with original on-screen animation and some perfectly-crafted custom vehicles. The Disney Parks Blog announced last week the scene is also be added to the version of the show in Florida — known as Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show — from this June, again to replace Herbie.
Sadly, there’s just no “pay off” for the waiting audience. Where Herbie would drive around a little before crashing off-set and reappearing as two halves for a comedy finale, here Lightning just speeds (as fast as a custom electric car can speed) off set and that’s it. Younger fans of the Cars universe will likely be thrilled to see a real, driving Lighting McQueen in front of them (and probably wish the whole show was based around him), but there’s little to entertain anyone else and make this anything more than a well-timed promotional spot.
The new cameo scene didn’t even get off to a great start during the 2nd April press events as the assembled audience of press, photographers and celebrities waited in the stands of the much-heralded moment… only for Lighting’s battery to go flat, having apparently not charged properly overnight. For those who didn’t care to sit through the whole 40-minute show again later, Lighting was driven over to Disneyland Park that night for a one-off photo-op on Town Square…
Performing full-on stunts with a vehicle like this is out of the question, but for all the effort put into this new cameo most still wish it had just a little more “kachow”…