Ask a film critic what the weakest Pixar film is, and then ask a kid what their favourite is, and there’s a decent chance the answer will be the same. And, given that the child fans of the original Cars (released way back in 2006) are probably now all blogging somewhere, you can surely expect some mixed reactions to hit the internet as part three arrives this week.
In truth, this franchise has never had the emotional depth of a Toy Story or an Up (then again, what does?) but it has always done what it does with panache. And, in Owen Wilson’s Lightning McQueen, poster-boy for a million young bedrooms around the world, it’s got a top lead.
This time out, McQueen’s champ status is threatened by the arrival of Armie Hammer’s young punk, Jackson Storm, which led to one of the most distressing trailers of all time. Shot in crunching, slo-mo desaturated colour, it saw McQueen flip and smash his way down the track in a fatal-looking crash that was presumably intended to be evocative, but instead caused trauma in children around the world. It’s okay, kids. Disney assures us this is business as usual, just with a new lick of paint.