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...