The sucky world of Pixar’s Cars

Yes, this is what I think about in my spare time. When you spend far too much time around younger siblings and watching far too many of their movies in the process thoughts like these often come to mind. I’m sure some parents could relate.

When you think about it, the world of Pixar’s Cars must suck to live in. I’m not talking about how it makes no sense, how the cars are made with no humans around, Max Eddy at The Mary Sue already covered that. But how from the moment of inception a car has only one career for the rest of its life.

Take the main protagonist, Lightning McQueen. Lightning is a racing car, sporting a slick red color scheme and an aerodynamic body. At the start of the first Cars movie Lightning is a young, hotshot rookie who quickly rose from nobody to somebody. A classic underdog tale, but Lightning is a race car. Always has been, and he always will be.

Early in the movie, Lightning has a conversation with some of his sponsors (who he clearly seems to despise), who state that if he wins they’ll buy him new headlights. Lightning responds to this by saying that he’s a race car, and won’t ever need headlights because the track is always lit. Lightning will never need headlights, because he will never be anything other than a racing car.

Next, we have the truck that hauls Lightning from tournament to tournament, Mack. Mack is a truck, designed to haul things around. Always has been a truck, always will be a truck.

We see a number of vehicles, never humans, who seem to take a form that can never be changed, Jumbo Jets, camper vans, Minis, Trucks just to name a few. For the most part, these vehicles are stuck as they are.

So in the Cars universe, there is a more limited amount of freedom then in our world. If you are born a truck, you will be a truck, forever. Never to be a racing car, or a Porsche, or a Humvee. But a truck. Always. Similarly, if you’re born a normal car, then there is no way you can become a truck. You are what you’re born as.

And to add unto the problem the cars regularly need to fill up on petrol and change tires, otherwise the car simply stops. You could argue that this is similar to a human body in the we need food and water to keep going, but in the world of Cars it’s different. Without nourishment a human can keep going for a time, before collapsing, while a car in Cars simply stops while still fully conscious of what’s happening. Now, apparently lacking the need for any external nourishment to keep the car alive you could argue that this is in fact not a problem, just wait for rescue. But if you’re lost in some desolate, no man’s area like a desert, then it’s possible you could be there forever. And considering we know the cars can pass away…

At face value, the world of Cars our destinies are chosen for us by our birth, what we are made as. That sucks… But it’s actually very similar to our own world, as Chris Seck points out in ‘Arguing For and Against Genetic Engineering’ :

“It is true that genetic engineering may limit children’s autonomy to shape their own destinies. But it is equally true that all people’s destinies are already limited by their natural genetic makeup, a makeup that they are born with and cannot change. A short person, for example, would be unlikely to join the basketball team because his height makes it difficult for him to compete with his tall peers. An ugly person would be unable to achieve her dream of becoming a famous actress because the lead roles are reserved for the beautiful. A myopic kid who wears glasses will find it difficult to become a pilot. A student with an IQ of 75 will be unlikely to get into Harvard however hard he tries. In some way or another, our destinies are limited by the genes we are born with.”

We are inherently limited by what we are born as, similar to what a car in Cars is. From the moment of our own birth, we are limited and controlled by our traits and skills we receive from our parents. However, a human could change their jobs and destinies relatively easily; if a writer wants to become a singer then there’s nothing stopping them, while a truck cannot become a jet in Cars.

I’m probably thinking way too far into this, it’s a kids movie and probably doesn’t need to have a world as deep as what I’m trying to make it out to have here, but hey, theorizing is always fun. And it’s a new way to look into the movie.

Originally published at

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