Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Meaning of Cars

Cars is one of Pixar's most famous movies, and most certainly one of the most successful in the box office. The movie is about Lightning McQueen, a famous rookie race car who has taken the racing league by storm, but lets his ego get in the way while trying to pursue a championship. He ends up in a town called Radiator Springs, where he is arrested for essentially destroying the town, and is required to fix it. While performing this seemingly daunting task, McQueen comes to love the town and the people in it, and these citizens prove to have a pivotal role in helping McQueen winning the championship at the end of the movie. As a child, I only watched the movie for the entertainment and because I always loved racing, but as I rewatch it years later, I pay attention to the lessons trying to be taught by Pixar.

Throughout the movie, all McQueen cares about is himself. He only wants to win the championship and become sponsored by Dinoco, the leading team in the race car world. In the beginning of the movie, he fires his pit crew because they called him stupid, and everyone else then sees that McQueen's ego goes completely unchecked. Everyone believes that McQueen is a great racer, but not the most social and friendly person. When traveling to the tie-breaker race, McQueen's agent asks who he wants to attend the race, and McQueen can't name a single person that he would call a friend. Shortly after this, McQueen's reality check begins. He falls out of his trailer and finds himself in Radiator Springs, where he tears up the town and is mandated to fix it. Doc, the city judge, says the repairs should take five days, which is the day McQueen's tiebreaker race is scheduled. McQueen hates his situation, and initially, refuses to befriend anyone and try to leave Radiator Springs as quickly as possible. However, as the five days progresses, he befriends a tow truck named Mater, who is responsible for keeping McQueen from escaping. McQueen tries to escape on numerous occasions, but is inevitably caught. McQueen also befriends the de-facto mayor, Doc, an old car whom McQueen originally despises. However, as time progresses, McQueen realizes that Doc was formerly known as the Hudson Hornet, a legendary race car who won three championships. McQueen begins to be taught by Doc, and ironically enough, by Mater, and by the time the fourth day comes around, the media come to Radiator Springs, find McQueen and take him away for him to race in the championship. The people of Radiator Springs are devastated, but not angry at McQueen. At the end of the movie, the Radiator Springs crew shows up at the championship to support McQueen and even act as his pit crew. McQueen ends up losing the race, only because he helps King, another legendary race car, finish the race because of a terrible wreck. McQueen ends up heading back to Radiator Springs, and makes it his racing headquarters in order to be with the people he became best friends with. In the beginning, everyone views McQueen as a self-centered car who only cares about winning. During the first race, McQueen refuses to change his tires against the wishes of his pit crew, and ends up blowing the back two tires, nearly losing him the race. The decision to not change tires makes McQueen look incredibly stupid. Pixar is essentially trying to prove a rather negative message during this part of the movie, saying that you really don't need anyone's help to be successful. As the movie progresses, Pixar begins to incorporate their positive message, essentially saying that everything you achieve is far greater with the help of friends. Pixar also teaches the audience that being first isn't everything. In fact, it's simply a number, and if one has to sacrifice being first to help someone out, the reward is far greater than a trophy.

When comparing each point made in the movie, the one children come to realize much quicker is the positive one. Pixar wasn't necessarily trying to prove that you should do everything alone and tune everyone else out, but that friends make your successes far better, and that first place isn't always the best award. When children watch this movie, all they see in the beginning is a cocky race car who doesn't have the word "lose" in his vocabulary. However, as the movie progresses, children come to understand that McQueen isn't perfect, and in fact, he's far from it. They realize that McQueen doesn't have any friends at first and that he is rather lonely. At the end of the movie, he has some of the best friends one could ask for, and that they've influenced him to become a better person.

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