Back in 1995, a company appeared on the world stage and blew everyone - audiences and other companies alike - away. Since then, that small company has consistently delivered box office-breaking and critic-pleasing movies to a point where no one can equal or top them.
Much has been spoken about how they, Pixar, will go back to the beginning and start again on a film if they don't feel that it's working - case in point being Toy Story 2 which up till now was the studios only sequel.
Both Pixar and Disney have etched themselves in history when they've hit the magical balance of fun and laughter for all ages. When there's jokes for the children and the accompanying adults, all enjoy the experience and most importantly, enables them to do repeat viewings. The reason I say all this is because all Pixar productions will have a massive uphill battle on their hands, created by their own success - expectations will always be high concerning their movies.
And, for once, it seems that expectation was too high. Cars 2 leaves you feeling like you've just watched what should have been a short film that you find on their DVD/Bluray releases that's been padded out to a full length animated feature's running time. Stories tend to be well-worn ones but the characters, their interaction and the multi-layered jokes excuse that. Here, the tale of a not-the-sharpest-tool-in-the-shed being mistaken for a super spy rattles along but it doesn't sit well with the race-rivalry between Wilson's still cocky NASCAR and Turturro's equally cocky F1 car plot. It should have been one or the other to allow the kind of quotable dialogue and laugh-out-loud moments that Pixar normally delivers.
With no zing for the older audience member and, for once, more attention to how the view looks (still beautiful as ever of course) rather than how the story progresses, it seems that Lasseter's pet project is just that - something that feels like it only appeals to him rather than a toy fighting for his right to be with his owner or a fishy father searching for his only son.
Obviously, Pixar firing on half cylinders is still streets ahead of most of the competition but it's hard not to feel abit let down by the team that always charmed the socks off you.
UK release date: 22.07.11