Regardless of who you are, if you have children it seems only inevitable that you will one day own toy cars that represent Lightning McQueen and probably Mater as well. My son wasn't into "Cars" as early as I thought he'd be, even with the heavy influence of it surrounding him, but he has always been a fan of Hot Wheels and as such this was a rather easy transition. I've always enjoyed the movie "Cars" myself, even if it is just a kid-friendly version of "Talladega Nights", and if you can't appreciate the mere animation aspect of it then I'm not sure we have a lot to talk about here.
When I stumbled upon this Lightning McQueen car at Walmart, in the Hot Wheels aisle mind you, I thought it was cool because I tend to like a lot of things that have a Japanese feel to them. In fact, I almost bought this entire set when I saw them for the first time there because they had everyone except for Mater. As it turned out, my son was not as impressed by Dragon Lightning McQueen (or DLM for short) as I seemed to be but I said I was going to get him anyway.
Aside from the standard Lightning McQueen and Mater (which retail for around $4) this was a version of Lightning McQueen I could get behind a lot more than his cruisin' version, which is just basically him all fancy which does occur for a scene or two in the first film. Speaking of the first film, the second one is when we go to Tokyo and though Dragon Lightning McQueen seems like he should be from there he's not-- he's from another "Cars" related short.
Whether you like it or not, the "Cars" franchise is here to stay because it will always have successful merchandising because of the same model used by Hot Wheels. For how long the original movie has been out, my son just got these "Cars" now and from what I read on the internet these days a third movie is on the way. I didn't like the second movie the first time that I watched it, but we watched it again a second time (The first time my son saw it because- yes- it came out before he was born) and i actually found it to be worth seeking out and finding a "Cars" toy for Finn McMissile (who, by the way, my son also loves now and wanted the toy for as well)
My biggest deal with the "Cars" franchise as a whole in terms of toys is that once you buy a character you don't really need to buy it again. When the third movie comes out, Lightning McQueen and Mater will withstand the test of time (hopefully) and maybe there will be a new character we find worthy of getting. The thing is though, for me, with "Cars", I enjoy having these two main characters and Finn McMissile as well (plus DLM is pretty sweet) but as I realized with this series and "Cars" in general is that if you start buying too many characters then you're going to end up buying them all.
Because if you get Sally then why not Filmore. And so on in that nature. So while I will stick with these four toys from "Cars" for now-- which my son seems to be more than happy with, as he has them on constant adventures-- should the nerve strike me I might end up getting some more one day if something else should come along such as this Dragon Lightning McQueen. But for now I am content with these four "Cars" toys and possibly no one else for a very long time.
You have to hand it to the makers of these though (which is not surprisingly Mattel) because they keep them at such an affordable budget as I'd expect them to be closer to the $6.99 range based on the licensing alone. When we did get Finn McMissile though we did see a "deluxe" version of him that was a little bit more expensive, but hey, for the die hard fans or just the passer-by of sorts like me this line seems to be going strong with no signs of stopping or slowing down even.