The ‘Cars’ Conundrum

What in the world is going on in ‘Cars’ land? That’s the question I keep asking myself over and over, and I can’t seem to find an answer. If you’re perfectly fine with Pixar’s ‘Cars’ movies and the world that the characters inhabit, then stop reading right now. There’s nothing for you to see here. If you’re like me, however, and you find the actual world that Lightning McQueen and Mater live in completely perplexing, then by all means join me in a rant that will more than likely result in thinking way too deeply about a silly kid’s movie.

The world of ‘Cars’ makes little to no sense to me. I was recently thrust back into my insane ruminations when I happened across some musings on Locke Peterseim’s Facebook page. Peterseim is a movie blogger who writes for Redbox’s movie blog, The Redblog. After revisiting ‘Cars 2‘, he brought some questions back to the surface of my mind that I first asked after I initially saw the original ‘Cars‘ film. Questions like: Why does the world these cars live in have sidewalks? It’s simple question without a definitive answer. Sidewalks are completely unnecessary in a world populated by sentient cars, right? Especially since those sidewalks appear to be the same width, relative to the movie’s scale, as sidewalks in our world.

Continuing on with the question of scale, how big does a stadium have to be in order to fit thousands of snugly parked cars into it? I can’t imagine exactly how large one of those stadiums would have to be, compared to the stadiums we build with tiny people seated side-by-side. Not to mention the bathrooms that the cars shuffle in and out of. Those must be huge. Which brings up another question: Why do cars need bathrooms at all? Yeah, it provides a simple sight gag, but why are these cars filing into bathrooms? What are they doing in there?

Were there ever organic animal organisms in Cars World? There are bugs in the first movie, but they’re cars too. There are plants and trees and such, so there is some organic life flourishing in this world. However, there’s no organic life that has been able to overtake the cars for supreme control.

In a world full of cars, how did they evolve? Obviously, they need to be constructed by some third party, right? There’s a storyline about Lightning McQueen being attracted to Sally in the first movie, but that brings up a whole other issue about whether cars actually do, somehow, have sexual intercourse. Do they? Or are all cars manufactured at some factory acting as the Car God? How exactly do we wind up with so many different kinds of cars and who is deciding the kind of cars they will be? This is all assuming that there’s no way for two cars to procreate with each other. If somehow there is, then I’m at a loss to explain how it happens. Something to do with pistons and exhaust pipes, I presume.

In ‘Cars 2’, there’s a mention of fossil fuels, which could only have been created by organic beings living on the Cars World at some point. What happened to those beings? Were they dinosaurs? And if so, would they be engineered to look like cars if we were to see them?

I can go on and on thinking myself in circles about this world that seems so utterly improbable. It’s even more impossible than, say, a world inhabited by superheroes or a world where monsters actually live. The main problem is that cars are not organic beings, and therefore could not reproduce. If you think about that, it throws the entire world on its head. Who’s making the cars? Who’s playing god in Cars World? To me, that seems like a more interesting story for a ‘Cars’ movie than watching Larry the Cable Guy pretend to be funny for 90 minutes.


  1. adam

    i was having this conversation with my friend the other day. We were wondering how a car would give birth. Hatchbacks are probably the only ones who could successfully pull it off.

  2. All I have to ask is…..

    Why does it matter? The people that really hate this movie seem to care WAY too much about stupid stuff like this, you can ask a gillion questions about most movies that throw the logic clean out the window, so it matters this much for a family movie? Are we ranting and raving each time some hot co-ed opens a door in a horror movie? Are we flipping out when a family simply wont leave the haunted house they are staying in? The list can go on forever, so what if a family movie is about Cars living in a world that is impossible, to me thats what makes it so appealing, Cars is my favorite pixar movie and none of this stuff makes a bit of difference to me

    • Personally, yeah I do. I love those types of movies, mind you, and those ridiculous elements are part of their charm, but absolutely I call them out every time. It’s part of the fun and this is no different in my eyes.

      • EM

        Exactly. In a sense, the Cars films are the Pixar features closest to the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies world in terms of mythology. On one level, I accept anthropomorphic animals conversing with humans. On another, I recognize the absurdity as one of the bases of the films’ humor.

  3. In “Wall E” there’s a nursery full of babies. But it’s a major plot point when two of the humans touch each other. A creepier question that will bake your noodle more than what’s going on in Cars world is, how were those babies made?

  4. Jane Morgan

    Does the Cars bible mirror the hebrew bible?

    Did cars evolve from fruit carts?

    In the middle east, are some of the fruit carts jihadist?

    Are flying cars the evolution of the species, or the result of inbreeding?

    Do cars fear the singularity?

    Who is the Wes Anderson of indie car directors?

    Does the car internet have car controls to protect compact cars from car porn?

  5. I think most of these questions are just a result of letting your mind wander while cursing the presence of Larry the Cable Guy.

    Have you tried watching the movies with the French dub and English subtitles?

  6. Great article, I too over-think the Cars movies…for a studio as great as Pixar to make such a dumbed down movie pisses me off. It’s a obvious cash-in for boys to see the movie because they love cars. I’ve come to expect more than Pixar.

  7. I dont think Cars was ever a cash in, its a simpler story yes, but it has as much meaning to it as any of their other movies, the idea of people speeding through their lives and not taking the time to slow down and enjoy it is very relevant in today’s society, the mother and father that constantly work way too much and dont take the time to enjoy each other, what they’ve achieved, most likely their kids, it happens all the time, people find out too late how good life is and they wish they would have enjoyed their family, kids and friends more. Thats really the story behind Cars and to me its more touching and caring than most of their other movies (except probably UP), Cars 2 on the other hand went with an even simpler theme about friendship and liking the person for who they are, not what you think they should be, Mater getting involved in all of the “action” in the film is because of McQueen and how he’s come to view Mater, I have friends that are similar and fit this story and it hits a cord with me on a different level than the other Pixar movies do, Cars 2 is a different type of movie but I dont see either of them as a cash in, it just so happens that movie was HUGE with kids so why NOT merchandise the hell out of it when its such a big hit?

  8. I am reminded of the conversation between Brody and T.S. in Mallrats in regards to Superman’s ability to reproduce with human females. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Mallrats. If you DO know what I’m talking about, then you’re awesome like me. 😉

  9. “Something to do with pistons and exhaust pipes, I presume.”

    I would think that if Cars had reproductive organs, the exhaust pipe would be the waste removal unit, aka the asshole. So…yikes, sir, yikes at the thought of sodomite Cars!

    explains Larry the Cable Guy, though.

  10. That1guypictures

    This is hilarious. It’s even more hilarious since I just had Siri on my iPhone4S read it to me in her computerized voice!