Despite a brief cameo by Michael Schumacher Car, the filum Cars steers clear of German cars. Oh, there’s a VW campervan, but that is a hippy, with a typical hippy accent (its your grandad’s idea of a hippy at that, straight out of early seventies films). Equally British cars barely get a look-in. So there is no Pixar representation of a Mini Hitler – even if it would be a grossly inappropriate character for an all ages cartoon. Indeed the only racial profiling the film does is of the two Italian vehicles: Guido the fork-lift and the Fiat, Luigi.
Now I’m not saying that Guido in any way resembles Mussolini. Though it has to be noted that in the one scene where a train appears, it does seem to be running on time. But it is odd that the Fiat’s get the accents and the other cars don’t. Of course the truly odd thing, and the item that seems to have hit every critic, is the insistence on the film to using the windshield for the eyes, rather than the already very eye-like headlights. It has the effect of creating a face within a face, and sometimes a much more robust, less cute one.
Originally my angle on talking about Cars was to compliment the Nacho Libre piece, discussing its sexism. There is only one major female character in Cars, and she is squarely love interest. How Cars make love, and the upshot, is not discussed in this U film. But the fact that all the racing cars, all the trucks, all the “manly” vehicles are all male is surely a mis-step. But then if there is one fault that can be laid at the door of Pixar is that, with the exception of The Incredibles, they have barely created a memorable female character (don’t Jessie me: she was a direct response to this criticism in Toy Story, and is a knock-off of Woody). It is strange that, while Pixar seem much better at storytelling and getting the feel right in their films, that they should still be so backwards in this area. Cars are asexual: this Cars isn’t. It would almost make a Mini Hitler proud*.
*If Hitler (or the artists impression of Mini Hitler) had been notably sexist rather than being notably racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic etc. He didn’t have all that much room for open sexism.