I don't get it.

I want to get it.  I want to understand the basic world so that it doesn't nag at me while I'm watching these films, but so far, I don't get it.

Here's the thing… every Pixar film hangs on at least one big idea that the audience is asked to accept, and for the most part, I get the big ideas.  "The Incredibles" is a family of superheroes.  Easy enough.  "A Bug's Life" is our world, but just observed from the perspective of bugs.  "Toy Story" sets up the basic rule that toys are alive but pretend not to be when we're around.  Got it.  "Ratatouille" asks you to swallow the notion of a rat with a refined palette who wants to be a world-class chef.  "WALL-E" takes place in a world where our trash finally choked our planet out.  All of these ideas are fairly easy to grasp.

So what is it about the world of "Cars" that freaks me out?  Well, I don't understand the nature of their entire world.  They are all obviously machines, built for a purpose, but in a world where there are no people at all, who built the cars, and why?  Why do they have interiors?  Is this an understated horror film where there are mass graves of humans, remnants from the Great Auto Uprising, that are just off-camera, never mentioned but always there?  Or did these machines just start building themselves for some reason, complete with a space for someone to sit, but in a world where they are never given that satisfaction because there is no one to sit in them?

Sure, you can argue I'm overthinking it, but I genuinely don't get it, and I can't turn off that writer's part of my brain.  I know it doesn't matter to the true target audience, because I've seen the way my kids respond to the world of "Cars," and they couldn't be any more excited right now about "Cars 2" if they tried.  I'm hesitant to show them the trailer for Disney's direct-to-video spin-off movie "Planes," but only because I don't want to hear "Daddy, when does 'Planes' come out?" every day between now and 2013.

Even so, there is indeed a trailer for that spin-off today, and once again, I ask you… why do they have interiors?  For what purpose were they built?  WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE!?!?!?



I'll bet you $1000 every one of those machines is fueled by Soylent Green.

"Cars 2" arrives in theaters, ready to take over the world, on June 24, 2011.