The Best Sentient Cars In Movies – GameRant

For those that prefer benevolent machines that are sentient, there are plenty of friendly automobiles in movies.
It's a weird fantasy niche. Giving inanimate objects the power of speech and thought is always a high-fantasy or magical-realism trope because it can't work in real life. Some science fiction examples of sentient machines exist, but they tend to be more horror than fantasy and never seem to end well. Whereas computers tend to turn against their makers, some machines are seen as benign, even seeking out the companionship of humans.
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It's part of North American culture specifically, but cars get more love and consideration than kids or pets most of the time. For those that prefer benevolent machines that are sentient, there are plenty of friendly automobiles in movies, and they're consistently cast in the roles of good guys or even the hero. There are exceptions to every rule, however, with the occasional death machine popping out of the tar pits.
RC Car had a supporting role in the first two Toy Story movies, and he was one of the first characters the audience met. RC, which just stands for "remote control" appeared in the opening scene with Woody and actually started the rumor about how competitive, and even mean, their de-facto leader could be.
Doubts about Woody as the most popular and most important toy in the bedroom are what set the stage for the plot. When Woody ends up with the rotten, sadistic kid next door the other toys aren't sure they should help him. The cowboy has to redeem himself and get Buzz to be his enthusiastic self again, and the result was a whole new era of animated entertainment.
Both sentient and animated, Benny was one of the more memorable supporting characters in the live-action movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He's a taxi cab and driver rolled into one, which is pretty efficient since he's working in both the cartoon world of Toontown and the real-life setting of Hollywood.
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Benny provides transportation to the movie's heroes during the tense third act, and in a funny bit of irony, the last the audience sees of him he's driving off in another car after his own tires have been damaged. Two years later, the cabbie that would join forces with the main character in Total Recall was also named Benny. Coincidence?
When Disney made Cars they were capitalizing on the popularity of 3D animated movies in general, and the investment was a sound one. The franchise now consists of three sequels and two spinoffs, Planes and Planes: Fire and Rescue, along with video games, television shows, and even Disney rides.
The Cars franchise, with Lightening McQueen as its flagship vehicle, extends to the Disney theme park in California. "Cars Land" was a big part of the extensive renovation that the park underwent a decade or so ago. A central part of the new rides and attractions is Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy, which officially opened in 2019.
The bright yellow chassis of Bumblebee runs a close second, but the fact is Optimus Prime is not only the face of Transformers but also one of the most iconic sentient cars in entertainment history. To be precise, Optimus Prime's vehicle form is a semi-tractor trailer, and not a car, which partly explains his original name in Japan, "Convoy."
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He might look like a car, but Optimus Prime is a Cybertronian, a race of alien beings, and the leader of a group of warriors called the Autobots. Always cast as the hero and a foil to the evil Megatron, Optimus Prime is the leader following the high road, doing good and keeping the evil Decepticons in check.
Some sentient cars are referred to by male pronouns or have gender-neutral names, but Christine is most definitely female. Based on the book by Stephen King, which was released in the same year as the movie, the adaptation was directed by horror master John Carpenter and is truly terrifying.
In the movie version, Christine was bad before she even rolled off the assembly line. The day she was built, she killed one man for having the audacity to flick his cigarette ashes on her leather seats. Another suffered a life-changing injury for peeking under her hood. This is slightly different from the book, in which the car was possessed by the malevolent spirit of the previous owner.
The most iconic of all sentient cars, Herbie isn't just a movie icon, he's also one of Disney's most recognizable characters. The adorable little Volkswagon coupe was eventually nicknamed The Love Bug, after the title of the feature film that started the franchise in 1968.
The movie was a wild and crazy success, ensuring sentient cars would be a permanent trope in the entertainment world. The popularity of the Cars franchise is partly due to the love viewers gave to Herbie. Adored by both fans and critics alike, along with spawning a franchise that included four more movies and a television series, even people who have never seen the movies recognize Herbie's red, white, and blue stripes with the number 53.
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Kristy Ambrose has been writing professionally since 2010. She dabbles in various genres and creates everything from short blog posts to serialized novels. Her inspiration comes from gamers, beachcombers, foodies and of course her fellow travelers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Victoria.


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