Pixar has had a long running streak of sucess in animation...
For most of its slate, the Lamp has not only had financial hits, but critical hits as well. Out of these films the low bar by many is considered the "Cars" film series (yes, there will be more films from the inhabitants of Ornament Valley). And even though the film is one of the least loved by animation fans, it's still a much better film than ninety-percent of everything out there.
There have been many critics of these films, but the one thing that can't be argued is the success of it among sales of merchandise. It falls just behind the mouse and bear in terms of earnings. There are a lot of fans out there of anthropomorphic metal creations. And there are also a lot of people that hit a logical roadblock there as well.
A lot of people had this problem with the first film, and the second, and even the new DisneyToon Studios spinoff, "Planes" which opened this weekend. Take the review of that film by Capone over at Ain't It Cool, or Drew McWeeny's review of the film over at Motion Captured. There is a common thread of confusion or detachment from the ability to suspend disbelief in a world of talking vehicles. While the Transformers get a pass, the cars, planes, trains and ships get no such break.
It all comes down to the question of where the humans are? Or where did they go? This is the psychological pothole in the road that has some people hitting the brakes on enjoying what happens next. Well, I'm here to put an end to this question. I'm here to tell you where the humans are in the world of Cars. Or to put it more precisely, I'm going to define what humans are in this world/reality.
Humans are the souls of these cars. The souls are the drivers, the conscience of the automobile.
That is why you don't see them, yet the cars seem to function as a repository for them. We are watching the world through their experiences and that is reason they're not visible. Souls can't be seen, but they're there. What you see in the personality of the vehicles, is reflective of the human that owns it. The experiences you see are from the unliving objects point of view based on the guidance of the driver, the soul.
When you see Mater interacting with Lightning or Sally, you're getting a look into the unseen soul of the driver of that car, or plane. The actions that they do are the result of the decisions of the soul. He/she is the one that puts his/her foot on the gas and he/she is the one that decides the destination and makes the decisions. When the wheels move, the heart follows. The driver takes you on the journey. So the next time you watch one of those films, imagine the souls guiding the action of the events that unfold. Think about your soul: the one you know you have, but isn't really visible to the naked eye. It's the driver of your actions, the lead foot on the gas pedal of your choices. Even though it's not tangible to you, you know it's there.
Just like the unseen driver that is the soul in each piece of metal that rolls down the street chasing tractors for fun...
This idea of humans as the souls of the cars really moved me. I always liked the Cars universe. I'm no super fan, but I recognize it as the fun world of imagination that it is. And while I too thought that it was weird that there was an absence of humans, I did not let it ruin the films for me. But, your post makes the Cars films seem even more carefully crafted than what I once thought and also a greater work of art. Thank you for posting this interesting insight. I think because of it I will enjoy the films and my visits to Cars Land even more.
When you say "there will be more films from the inhabitants of Ornament Valley", do you mean another Cars movie or just more Planes installments?
Do you know what project will follow the Planes trilogy at the Disneytoon studios?
Honor, can you talk about the future of DisneyToon Studios in an upcoming article? You usually comment on WDAS but I want to hear your thoughts on DisneyToon Studios as well.
Why are they making more Tinkerbell movies? Weren't they supposed to stop at 4 movies, one for each season? They just announced two more Tinkerbell movies which seem just random adventures with no connection to each other.
Do you know how many Tinkerbell movies are they planning on producing? Have they set on a specific number?
"When you say "there will be more films from the inhabitants of Ornament Valley", do you mean another Cars movie or just more Planes installments?"
Cows do not drive tractors. Good try anyways.
That's easy to explain: cows don't have souls.
If you look at what Honor said, he was talking about cars and planes, not cows when he mentioned drivers. The tractors were only mentioned when he was talking about a car chasing it.
No mention of its soul, no mention of its driver.
I think this video explains it best.
I never needed a reason to enjoy these movies. I don't need to find a rule to allow me to suspend disbelief that cars can inhabit a world and communicate, anymore then I'd have to do so to believe animals can be anthropomorphic, houses can fly with helium balloons, mice can sing, and the list can go on. I go for the stories and the personalities and character traits portrayed by their physical appearance. Cars isn't the gem of the Pixar slate of films, however the first one is still charming, exciting, funny and better then half the other crap animated films being released, cars 2, while weaker then the first, still delivered a better film experience then crap like Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, etc.. I haven't seen Planes, so I can't comment on it.
Since the days of Finding Nemo, critics and wannabe haters have been looking and hoping for Pixar to release a dud. And to those people, cars was it. Because it didn't live up to Toy Story greatness, it became the bastard child to the fans. But in the end, it sells bucketloads of merchandise, has its own acclaimed theme park land, spawned off sequels, spinoffs and successful shorts. It is a hit. And will be around for a very long time. I will enjoy it for what it is.
CowTractor said: "Cows do not drive tractors. Good try anyways."
Actually, I tended to view that as a rural vs. suburban perception...
Most people living in the city have no idea where/how their food gets to them. Or for that matter what it takes to get it there.
They are totally oblivious to the agricultural nature of society and view everything through the machines and mechanical process that citydwellers have.
And the souls only see the tractors and not the plants, the Cornhuskers but not the corn, and the steak, but not the cow it came from.
So the soul of that society relying so much on machines would only see those machines...
I didn't care for Cars at all. Cars is a success because kids love it; plain and simple. If it had come out when I was a kid, I would have loved it too.
I don't quite get how literal you're being. It's a nice interpretation in an abstract poetic kind of way - but it doesn't really hold up to scrutiny if you mean 'there are people driving these cars but we can't see them because we're seeing it from the cars' POV'. Why would people drive their cars into the stands to watch a race rather than leave them in the car park? Why would someone drive a towtruck into a toilet? Why would Jay Leno be presenting on TV sat in a limo? Why would a racedriver attend a court hearing sat in his car? And so on... You get where I'm coming from?
I love that explanation! I wondered about it, but never gave it too much thought. Now I think I'll enjoy Cars even more knowing/thinking that.
Also, I LOVED Cars, it's probably my favorite Pixar, although I love them all (except Cars 2). The music and atmosphere and the message just make me smile every time (and lack of a scary "villain" other than ego).
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