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Headscratchers / Cars 2

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  • It appears that the weaponry that the vehicles use are hidden behind panels. So does that mean that Mater, Shiftwell and McMissile have been surgically altered into fighting machines? Yeah, that brings up a bit of Fridge Horror for me.
    • More like the spy genre and the cyberpunk genre are the same thing in their world.
  • The main page says that Mater's aptitude for tall tales has key importance for the plot. Would anyone kindly point out where that skill was used? I didn't notice any case of it.
    • I haven't seen the movie yet but I know Mater causes Lighting to lose a stage in Grand Prix so I figure Mater tries to explain all the weird Espionage Tropes that are occurring to Lightning. Lightning, who's been told all of Mater's tall tales before, doesn't believe him.
      • Thank you. Yes, now that's probably the closest one it gets. Still, eh... Mater does not try to bring Espionage Tropes to light, as he does not yet even know that his new girlfriend is a spy. Because of that, his story does not sound implausible at all (heard the voice of my date, got out of the pit box, saw a martial arts festival, got into a fight...) - and McQueen doesn't seem too disbelieving, knowing Mater's previous antics - more like angry and annoyed at having lost the race. Not much of a tall tale, I think. But it's close, yeah.
  • There already is a question regarding homologation rules in the original, but in the sequel, the World Grand Prix openly includes all types of racers, from open-wheel F1 (like Bernoulli) through sports (like that Japanese guy) to rally cars (like that one from France). They even make an attempt at justifying it, saying that the race tracks have various parts, like strips of dirt-track where rally cars would be able to gain an advantage. Not being a racing aficionado, I would like to know how much sense it makes to those who are. Or is the WGP officially a charity event, making the rules more relaxed?
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    • Repeat the MST3K Mantra a few times...there is no possible way you could fairly race F1 cars, NASCAR cars, rally cars, drifters, etc. against each other, ESPECIALLY not with different track sections—on a grand prix track the F1 cars would demolish the others, a rally-style stage would shred the other cars' bodies, which can't take dirt racing and aren't meant to, drifters are entirely different concept. Cars cars seem to be able to adapt themselves to conditions, real cars cannot.
  • In the scene where McMissile and Holly are outfitting Mater with spy gadgets, they offer to repair him, as his, ahem, less-than-perfect paint job interferes with their state-of-the-art holographic camouflage. Mater, of course, proudly refuses (can't let minor nuisances such as this alter the image of our protagonist, all right). But the reason he gives is that all these dents and scratches were received during his adventures with Lightning. Only... he totally was looking exactly like that when Lightning first met him in the original film. Fine, I could've let that one fly... but from that moment onwards, the holographic camo works like a charm on top of his rust without ever shorting out like it did the first time.
    • Holly mentions that she'll 'work around the dents' at the end of that scene, so that's your latter question answered.
      • She does? Weird that I missed the line. Doesn't explain much (if the camo can work around the dents, why did it short out in the first place?), but a handwave is a handwave, ain't an expert on how futuristic holographic spy camouflage should or shouldn't work anyway.
      • I would assume it would've been easier to fix the dents than to have to edit the complex software to disguise it. Holly would've preferred to not have gone to effort of doing something she saw as unnecessary, and only agreed otherwise when she understood how important it was to Mater.
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    • And for the first one. He's a really rusty car that looks broken already, new dents wouldn't exactly stand out. What I'd like to know is how they got a computer like that to work away from the spy base (or plane, wherever they were). Even in the bad guy's meeting place.
      • The costume-shifting imagery was embedded in the new siren light they installed on top of Mater's cab. And given that Mater could get detailed information on the various villains, it probably included a high-speed wireless data link.
  • In all of the Japan scenes from the sequel, how the heck did Kabuto get his modifications back? He should've stayed naked because of Mater the last time they met!
    • Maybe all of Mater's tall tales never really happened, and the only thing that actually happened was him telling his stories. That would mean that Kabuto can still exist, but he just never ran in with Mater.
    • Suppose someone loses a bet and has to go outside naked as a result. Doesn't mean he's going to be naked when you meet him in a year.
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    • You don't think Mater gave them back? He has no use for them and Kabuto had already been humiliated. Maybe he was a good winner and gave them back to him.
  • How does that one female car have her eyes in her headlights? What is that supposed to represent?
    • Some type of self augmentation thing that would probably just creep you out way too much to even wonder how it was done.
      • Now that I think of it, the twins Mia and Tia in the first movie were flashing their pop-up headlights at McQueen. Food for thought.
    • (note: haven't seen it) Maybe she's a shout-out to the Chevron with Techron cars at Autopia; they're also made by Aardman Animations who made Wallace & Gromit, so it'd be a double-shout-out.
    • It was most likely a Take That! against previous attempts to make anthropomorphic cars. Before Pixar, the most popular place to put the "eyes" was in the headlights. However, since the placement of headlights isn't exactly anatomically correct to where human eyes should be, it looks incredibly unsettling when compared to cars that have their eyes placed on the windshields.
      • But Real Life car designers often speak of a car's "face", with the headlights as eyes. Putting them in the windshield denies them the basic function of cars (i.e., transporting humans) led to a cascading effect of why buses, crab-fishing boats and taxis exist in a world without humans... And have you ever seen one of those Cars-car-eyes sunshades in use?
    • Different races or cars? Hey, that way we can insert all the other stories with anthropomorphic cars into the universe!
    • Judging by Mater's reaction of shock at first, followed by nervous politeness, it could be the Cars version of a physical defect or disfigurement.
  • According to Lightning McQueen, there are supposed to be 43 race cars competing in the Piston Cup (just like in NASCAR as in real life), but in actuality, there are only 36 cars competing in the Piston Cup!
    • Similarly, in the sequel, there are eleven race cars competing in the World Grand Prix, but the starting line shows an empty twelfth starting marker!
  • All right, in Cars 2, Sarge reveals that, before the last race, he switched Lightning McQueen's "Allinol" (the alternative oil sponsored by Axlerod) with his own organic fuel, thus explaining why he wasn't affected by the EM pulse. Except...the film didn't show the villains TRYING to hit him with the EM pulse! When did they even try?
    • At the very beginning of the third race, they had the EM camera trained on him the whole time and were surprised when nothing happened.
    • I think what the OP was trying to say is that Sarge never had a reason to switch the fuel, because he had no idea that Allinol was dangerous. I don't think he ever knew about the danger per se; he just really likes organic fuel for some reason. So McQueen has been running on organic fuel this entire time; it was switched before the first race.
    • "Once big oil, always big oil." Sarge just plain didn't trust Axelrod, on general principles. Possibly he had no idea that Allinol was dangerous, but he did doubt it was as efficient of an energy source as Axelrod claimed. He knew for a fact that Fillmore got good performance from biofuel, so he swapped out Lightning's Allinol for the hippy van's home-made mix.
  • Anyone else notice that ladder during the scene where Mater and the other two are driving through the airport? I mean, they're having some sort of chase scene AND THERE IS A FREAKING LADDER CONNECTED TO ONE OF THE BOARDING GATES IN THE BACKGROUND. Did the animators just not care, or something? Unless we're going with the 'human slave' WMG theory. Which admittedly explains a lot.
    • Possibly it's not a ladder, but rather an extensible appendage of the boarding gate. Boarding gates have motors, after all, so they could be intelligent (albeit sedentary) and would need some way to manipulate their surroundings (e.g. baggage hung from its rungs to be hauled up or lowered down).
  • The plot kicks off by announcing that Allinol is a replacement, environmentally friendly, sustainable fuel. The idea being that it's going to eliminate the Cars world's reliance on gasoline. Then the Big Bad and the "lemon mafia" find and tap one the largest oil fields on the planet. So a plan is hatched to blow up world-class racing cars in a high-profile, Allinol-fueled race so that any belief in Allinol being a suitable gas replacement will be crushed, so that cars will still have to rely on gasoline and be beholden to the mafia and the big oil companies. Then we discover that the racing cars are gettng blown up because Allinol isn't really a sustainable, replacement fuel source, but in fact just gasoline modified so that it makes cars blow up when hit by an EMP. Which means there was no Allinol to begin with. Why in the world cook up such a complicated plan to discredit Allinol (and, presumably, by association, other alternative fuels)? Instead, simply announce that, sadly, Allinol doesn't live up to its promise when that new oil field is found, and then own the market more-or-less legally, without any shenanigans or, more importantly, the Cars equivalent of murder. There's a throwaway line about Fillmore's homemade organic biofuel, but really, who's gonna believe a Hippie Microbus that he has a legitimate, alternative, scalable source of sustainable biofuel versus Axelrod's Allinol "failure", the oil industry and the frickin' mafia. (Especially since, if it's really a viable alternative fuel, you'd think it would get publicity from the fact that one of the winningest race cars in history uses it exclusively. Except that it's never even mentioned until a line or two at the end.) In conclusion: by the end of the movie the only changes to the status quo are: several world-class race cars get blown up, it is made clear that the mafia is now in charge of the largest oil field in the world, that large-scale, sustainable, alternative fuel sources don't exist and that the Cars world - except for a few cars who home-brew their own biofuel - is still going to have to rely on gasoline pumped from under the ocean.
    • Possibly it's meant as a shout out to James Bond Villains?
    • The point is not to discredit Allinol: it's to discredit all alternative fuels. Axelrod and the lemons plan was to make everyone fear change. Gasoline is safe, so why risk trying anything else? Lasseter explains it pretty well on the commentary.
      • Indeed. Remember that in the end the plots of these movies have parallels with our world. As world supplies dwindle and the adverse effects of relying on oil is known we are desperately trying to find alternative fuel sources, and so are the cars in the Cars universe. It's the biggest threat to oil companies, and Axlerod wants to put a stop to that.
    • Invoked Disastrous Demonstration.
  • The climax...I mean, I know Batman Gambits rely on the people involved doing exactly what you'd expect them to, but this one's pretty ridiculous. Consider if Mater didn't figure out how to escape from the Death Trap - then there wouldn't have been a bomb to blow up McQueen with, considering the bomb was attached to Mater directly. Then McQueen likely wouldn't die, considering the bomb in question would be nowhere near him, and the earlier EMP camera plan failed spectacularly. Not to mention, the only other plan I noticed - taking McQueen out in a fight - wouldn't play into the "alternative fuels are evil" message their plan hinges on. They couldn't really have put all their eggs in those two baskets, could they?
    • Maybe they had some other plan for how to plant a bomb in case Mater didn't escape, and the one attached to him was a fallback plan in case he did.
    • Two secret spies, and something of a Genius Ditz, imprisoned together with an obvious means of escape...I imagine it'd be unlikely that neither of the three of them would have come up with it. The villains probably left all of Mater's weapons intact in order to make it all the more obvious.
  • At the very end we get told that Allinol is just normal gas with something added to make it go ballistic when exposed to an EM ray. But we get told earlier that it had been analyzed by an independent scientist. How did this scientist not notice that it was gasoline with something added to it? An organic chemist testing the dangers against gasoline would quickly notice the similarities.
    • There WAS no independent study? Just a lie by Axelrod?
      • Either that, or the "independent scientist" was in fact paid off by Axelrod to give false information. It's not an unheard-of thing.
      • Possibly the Professor was the "independent scientist". Presumably he has a public reputation as an honest researcher, a la most brainy James Bond villains, with only those in the spy trade knowing about his shady doings.
    • Axelrod really did create a biofuel by improvising when he got stranded in the wilderness, just not something that could be mass-produced and accessible to the world's cars as a viable fuel option in terms of affordability among other things.... But since he actually did create some biofuel, the cars of the world assumed that he could mass-produce it for the world and thought it redundant to personally examine the fuel every time it was put into a racer's tank for the World Grand Prix that he started anyway. That and he's been knighted; he is Sir Miles Axlerod. Seems like a trustworthy person.
      • This is Truth in Television. Biofuels on small scales can use cheap products available in mass to make inexpensive fuel (this is the used cooking oil to biodiesel stuff you hear about). On large scales, this "cheap products available in mass" is a very small drop in a very large budget that is global energy demand. In 2014, around 98% of all alcohol produced on the planet is burned in automotives, producing large price shocks in foodproducts to replace a small fraction of their gasoline supply.
  • How exactly was pretending to create a completely new and highly dangerous alternative fuel supposed to discredit existing alternative fuels, which are still unpopular anyway and have no known history of causing damage anything like Allinol? Surely the most damage lasting done by Axelrod's plan (apart from the victims of Allinol) was to his own reputation, making the whole sceme completely ridiculous. Sure, he might be sitting on the biggest untapped oil reserve ever discovered, but it's hardly the only remaining source of fuel; heck, Axelrod sold an entire oil empire as part of the setup for his plan! Was the public really going to want to buy oil from him after the disaster he was responsible for, even if they didn't know it was all a setup?
    • There was never any warranty that Axlerod would be the face of the new oil empire, just like he rarely ever made personal appearances at his crime syndicate's meetings. A large portion of the winnings could still go to him without the public knowing he was behind the whole operation. Likely he'd hoped that after the Allinol fiasco, he'd be allowed to fade into obscurity as a celebrity, with people thinking he was too ashamed to show his face in public when he'd actually be rolling in riches.
    • It's not unreasonable to assume that public perception against a new thing could be easy to manipulate. Think about this, when a new Self Driving Car crashes, or a new electric car catches fire, it tends to make national news. People then call for these to be scaled back as they are unsafe, regardless of how a handful of cases of these have happened and despite exponentially more crashes fires from regular cars. Note how many people are afraid of flying when like 1 plane crash is like 50 car crashes in terms of frequency. So It's likely Axelrod's plan was to "make a new biofuel on a large scale", have it fail on a massive international scale; which causes people and governments worldwide to scale back support and funding for all other sources of fuel for a long time, which means oil stays dominant for way longer. As for his reputation; Again, he's already running this massive conspiracy. It's likely that Axelrod would pretend to be devastated by the ordeal and publically dissolve his alternative fuel efforts while secretly making more money from oil sales
  • When the main cast finds out that Mater is missing, they all come to London to search for him. Why? They should be going to Tokyo, the last place anyone has seen him.
    • In Mater's note, it said he was heading back to Radiator Springs so he wouldn't be a nuisance to Lightning. While a more thorough or professional search would've had them starting in Tokyo, they probably figured there would've been no reason for Mater to have stayed in Japan this long and that if he's anywhere besides Radiator Springs, it would most likely be one of the locations of the other two races.
  • There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse of statues of car angels in one of the London shots, when Holly is flying past the cathedral. Why, if there are no non-vehicle animals in the Cars world, do they have feathered wings? Wouldn't airplane wings be more appropriate?
  • How does one "fatten" a car, as Mama Topolino apparently wanted to do with Lightning?
    • Fills up their gas tank with too much gas?
  • It's a minor detail, but why would Miles Axelrod have the bomb that he had strapped to Mater refer to him directly by name when it was deactivated? Not only was it beating a dead horse, since we as the audience know from the deactivation alone that he's the guilty party, but it also strips him of really any viable defense that could otherwise be offered in-universe.
    • Easiest answer is Rule of Funny... but for an in-universe explanation? Pure speculation here, but maybe it was a holdover from the testing? A voice-activation program that advanced would need to be tested out fairly thoroughly so they could make certain that only Axelrod's voice would deactivate it. So, either to underline that it had worked, as a cute little greeting to their employer, or just as a joke, the programmers added the personalized message "have a nice day, Mr. Axelrod." Since Axelrod wasn't planning on being anywhere near the bomb when it exploded, he likely just rolled his eyes and said "okay, very funny."
  • In London Mater asks why everyone's on the wrong side of the road. Makes sense, since the United Kingdom drives on the left and Mater who is from the States would be used to driving on the right. But before they went to London they went to Tokyo, and Japan is another country that drives on the left. Even in the movie Japan drives on the left. So why is Mater confused about driving on the left when he should have already experienced something similar in Tokyo?
    • Maybe since Britain is a lot more similar to America than Japan is, and is in roughly the same part of the world, Mater expects that the way people in both countries drive should be equally similar. His thought process could've been, "Why is everyone driving on the wrong side of the road? It's not like we're in Japan anymore, so what gives?"
  • Why did the bad guys bother planting the bomb on Mater? He was already trapped in the clock tower by the time they had to resort to using it, and the fact that Zundapp only had one detonator hints that there wasn't a second bomb in the pit and that they were counting on Mater being able to escape. But why bother? Why not just let Mater get crushed by the clock's gears and actually put the bomb somewhere in the pit like they said it was? If Axlerod was sponsoring the race, it can't have been that hard to arrange.

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