We Have Some Existential Questions About The Universe In Cars 3

Photo: Courtesy of Disney.
Questioning Pixar universes is a dangerous road, and really not an all that rewarding activity. (The movies are cartoons. Can we really expect verisimilitude?) Nevertheless, the questions persist, especially when it comes to Cars 3. The Cars franchise has always been (sort of) about mortality. The star, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), is perpetually concerned that he'll become irrelevant. (He's like Alexander Hamilton in that way. Or any other artist ever.) In Cars 3, this question is especially prevalent. Lightning McQueen is dogged by a rival named Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), a hotter, cooler car than Lightning. The implication is that Lightning McQueen is getting old and that he, like Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, should probably retire. Of course, like Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, he stages a triumphant comeback with the help of a scrappy team of trainers and buddies. We have questions, and we're not the only ones.
Doesn't this mean that cars in this universe age? And if so, this raises an even darker question: Do cars die in the Pixar-created universe? They seem to sentient beings, which would imply that they evolve in some way. But, er, regular cars don't just die, right?
In Cars 2, it's heavily implied that Doc Hudson, the "retired" race car, is dead. (Paul Newman, who voiced the role, died before production.) If he's dead, then surely his body is somewhere. Scrap metal doesn't just disintegrate. Cars aren't organic!
Moreover, to return to the most important part: Cars can't just die. Ask any 20-something you know — you can ride an ancient, rattling car around for years. Vehicles "die" when you decide that it'll be easier to get a new one than to fix your old one. Which means that human effectively kill cars. In their world, we are the four fates, deciding who goes when.
Trouble is, in Cars, Cars 2, and Cars 3, there are no humans. So: who does the killing? Who decides when a car is one too many oil changes down the road? WHO IS KILLING ALL THESE CARS.
It doesn't help that in the new film, which has been dubbed a New York Times critic's pick, there's a child car, a Lightning McQueen superfan complete with a high-pitched voice and a miniature body. We want to know: How does this tiny car become a bigger car? Does he get all new parts and a new voice box someday, along with a speech about the birds and the bees?
Oh, and that, too. What about copulation? Do cars have sex?
Cars 3 is a good movie — the box office and the reviews have demonstrated as such. The issue with good movies is that they make you think, and we're very deep in an existential thinkhole. We can only hope for a Cars 4, in which we meet the gods of this particular Pixar universe.
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