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Kids are not down with the Cars 3 trailer

Why Pixar? Why?


Last week, Pixar released the first teaser for its upcoming installment in the Cars franchise, Cars 3. Unlike previous Cars movies, which were full of happy and carefree adorable cars, this trailer was eerie and seemed to foreshadow a terrible accident for the franchise’s main character, Lightning McQueen.

When it first came out, Polygon wrote about how unusual and horrifying it seemed — and apparently kids are having similar reactions. After the trailer went online, a couple of YouTube users recorded “Kids React” videos. Like other reaction videos on YouTube, the premise is simple: Watch the trailer for the first time and record your reaction.

One video in particular seemed to capture the horror of the situation pretty well. A mom and her two young sons watched as Lightning McQueen flew through the sky and you can actually see the confusion sprawl across their faces as they watch. To capture the essence of what it was like for one of the kid’s watching the trailer, we’ve broken it down into three different GIFs.

The first one, which can be seen below, shows how excited he is as the different cars drive around a racetrack. The possibility of what’s to come, the anticipation of seeing Lightning McQueen appear on screen again for the first time in six years!

The second GIF tracks the exact moment he sees Lightning McQueen go flying across the screen.

The third and final GIF marks the moment that he realizes he’s probably seen the death of Lightning McQueen and everything he believed in no longer exists.

This is probably the most visual reaction that the trailer has received from kids — that we can watch online — but it’s not an isolated reaction. After the trailer was posted on YouTube, Disney and Pixar added it to the batch of previews and trailers that played before Moana. It didn’t take long for adult movie goers to start posting their thoughts about the trailer, and more importantly, their own reports of how kids reacted.

The intensity of the trailer has stirred debate among parents and fans over the dark tone. Some have said that it’s too much for a kids movie, while others argued that Pixar and Disney films have always been chilling at times. One of the major comparisons that was brought up multiple times on the Cars Facebook page was to Bambi and the death of Bambi’s mother.

“Bambi's mom shot, Tarzan's parents killed by leopard, Mufasa murdered by his brother, Nemo's mom eaten by a barracuda, but yes a car flipping is too dark for a kids movie,” one commenter wrote.

“Nice job. My six year old is sobbing,” another commenter argued. “I've never seen him this upset. Now none of us want to see it. Remember your target audience is small children.”

One of the top comments on the Facebook post, which boasts 10,000 likes, simply asks, “When did an animated movie about talking cars become so dark?”

Despite the controversy, it looks like Cars 3 is shaping up to be another success for Pixar. Since the trailer premiered a week ago, it’s been seen more than 17 million times and has a pretty high approval rating.

Polygon reached out to Disney for comment, but hadn’t heard back at the time of this writing.

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