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Film review: Cars 3 – Pixar’s talking car sequel is a slam-bang racing fest

Owen Wilson and Cristela Alonzo star as the voices in this story of millennials versus baby boomers featuring fun new characters and thrilling racing scenes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 5:30pm

3.5/5 stars

Less sensitive than most of Pixar’s movies, Cars 3 succeeds as a slam-bang racing fest that just happens to have talking cars as its protagonists. The lack of cute characters, meanwhile, may mean that fathers and older brothers will find it more fun than the young children they are accompanying.

Fans of the series may be disappointed to find that their favourite characters have been relegated to supporting roles to allow a bunch of new motors to drive into the spotlight. But the new guys – and girl – are good fun, so that shouldn’t prove a barrier to enjoyment.

The plot revolves around the conflict between millennials and baby boomers, as reigning champ Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is horrified to discover he can’t keep up with a younger breed of data-crunching cars on the racetrack.

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Not wanting to retire, Lightning enlists in a state-of-the-art racing school, where young trainer Cruz (Cristela Alonzo) introduces him to the wonders of a virtual reality racetrack. When this doesn’t work out, Lightning takes Cruz out on the dirt tracks of his youth, to show her what it really means to be a racer.

The racing scenes are played surprisingly straight, and are thrilling examples of animated sports. A demolition derby, in which the main aim is to smash up all opponents, is another highlight, as is a bar scene which features a garage band of cars pumping-out Springsteen’s Glory Days.

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The resolution of the conflict between the millennials and their ageing rivals is fudged, but fans of talking-car movies probably won’t care too much about the finer details of generational politics.

Cars 3 opens on July 13

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