Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What’s the Deal, Pixar’s Cars?

I’ve done this once before, and I’m starting to think that maybe I’m looking into these movies a bit too much.

Lightning McQueen, the red-hot hot rod with a lot of talent and a lot to learn.

If you haven’t seen it, the Pixar movie Cars is the story of a race car, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), who is more than a little full of himself and has a lot to learn about racing. The overall theme would imply that no man is an island unto himself and with the help and support with others, anything can be achieved.

At first I was skeptical of the movie, but then once I saw it, I found that it was a really enjoyable movie with genuine funny bits and sad bits and everything else that one would come to expect from a Pixar movie. One of the things that I really like about Pixar is that if the story isn’t there, they won’t make the movie.

Anyway, all of that is well and good, but there are certain things that I noticed in teh movie that beg the question, What’s the deal?

First off, there’s the matter of technology and how the cars interact with the world around them. The cars can only manipulate their world through their tires, antennae, and their tongues. Some more specialized vehicles, such as McQueen’s pit crew, have forklift-style “appendages” that allow them to manipulate some tools. With such a limited means of manipulating the world around them, how do the cars build the structures in which they live? How do they fix, let alone manufacture something like a radio? They can’t possibly use their tires to piece together a circuit board. Do they have special robots that are used to manufacture these items? If they do use robots, seeing as how the cars are machines, would the robots be some kind of slave? How would the cars make these robots or anything else in the first place? It doesn’t make any sense.

The cars appear to have combustion engines, that take fuel, yet they give off no apparent exhaust (aside from the tractors in the “tractor tipping” scene, but I’ll get to the tractors in a minute). This is awfully convenient, seeing as how a world populated by machines would surely be a nightmare landscape, the by-product of so many greenhouse gasses.

Some of that could be helped by the type of fuel. I would assume by the flashes of crops going by as McQueen makes his journey to California that the cars consume some form of ethanol. Otherwise, what would the purpose of such extensive field crops be? Then there’s the matter of the tractors, which are the cows of the Cars world. What is the purpose of the tractor? We never see the cars consuming any solid matter. Are the tractors used for scrap metal to make parts and/or repairs on the cars? Otherwise, the tractors’ only purpose is for comedic effect.

And the last point that I wanted to touch on is how do the Cars reproduce? There are clearly male and female cars, and they are able to fall in love with one another, which one would assume means they would be able to reproduce. Sadly, though, I think the answer to that question is as mysterious as how Transformers reproduce. The cars appear to get old, and one would therefore presume that they die, so there must be some means of bringing new cars into the world. Is there some kind of car assembly line where they produce car bodies and then somehow recycle old car souls? What if a car is created/born/whatever as a sports car, but it’s really more of a monster truck? Is the soul put into some kind of Car blank that is formed by the spirit that is put in it?

Sadly, these questions are not answered during a viewing of Pixar’s Cars. Luckily, I’m here to ask those kinds of questions so that hopefully these things will be more completely thought out in the future.


Nathan said...


I've never seen Cars, but I'm under the impression it's meant to be a family film. Methods of reproduction can be seen in You make my Motor Run, Behind the Garage Door, and Please mister, not in the tailpipe.

I will admit that due to the use of safe-sex practices, (gaskets, etc.), these movies are not strictly about procreation, per se. And that last movie listed is only about them getting their jollies.

mattw said...

Nathan, of course it's a family movie, but that doesn't mean Pixar shouldn't think about all these things for the parents that end up watching them more than a couple times.

I didn't even touch on the whole subject of body modification through paint jobs, "pinstriping tatoos" and adding parts and accessories to the cars (i.e. Lightning McQueen, like all other race cars, doesn't have headlights, they're just stickers and they talk about eventually getting some for him).

Seriously though, like all the other Pixar movies, it's worth a watch.

mattw said...

Also, You make my Motor Run, Behind the Garage Door, and Please mister, not in the tailpipe, Bwahahahahahahaha!

Some dude stuck in the Midwest said...

Matt, relax!

When a daddy car meets a mommy car they go to the cabbage patch, and pick out a brand spanking new Corola.

Oh, and the cows are strictly for tractor-tipping, it's a sad sad life. Somebody call PETA for tractor abuse!

... Paige said...

cute movie, gotta love the mater;

and What Nathan said

brent said...

Yes, you are thinking about it too much. If cars can talk they can fix their radios with some kind of magical fixing dust, I'm sure.