Mater (also known as "Tow Mater" or "Sir Tow Mater") is the deuteragonist in 2006's Cars and the main protagonist in its 2011 sequel. He is also the subject of a series of TV shorts, Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales. His catchphrases are "Dad gum!", "If I'm lyin', I'm cryin'" and "Git-R-Done!" (his voice actor, Larry the Cable Guy's signature phrase).
Mater is a friendly, lovable, loyal, silly, dim-witted, and goofy tow truck, but he also has a vast knowledge of all car parts considering his job of towing and salvaging, which proves to be useful in exposing Miles Axlerod as the one behind the conspiracy to sabotage the World Grand Prix. He is very friendly, especially towards Lightning McQueen.
- Mater may look rusty, but he's got a heart of gold. He's proud to be Lightning McQueen's best friend.
"Mater's lived in Radiator Springs his whole life. In his younger days, he used to be a real handful around town, playing pranks on everyone, tippin' tractors, saying inappropriate things at the wrong time, but luckily he's matured a lot since then."
"Mater's a good ol' boy with a big heart and the only tow truck in Radiator Springs. He runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage and manages the local impound lot. Though a little rusty, he has the quickest towrope in Carburetor County and is always the first to lend a helping hand. Mater sees the bright side of any situation. He's the heart and soul of Radiator Springs, and he doesn't have a mean bolt in his chassis."
"Keep an eye on Mater, he tends to take things a little too literally."
Mater is a friendly tow truck with buckteeth. He speaks with a thick Southern accent with a dash of hillbilly twang and frequently uses incorrect syntax.
Mater runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage. Mater is one of the first to befriend and support Lightning throughout his adventure in Radiator Springs. During the film, Mater shows Lightning how to do Tractor Tippin' and how to drive backwards without crashing by using rearview mirrors, which Lightning uses to counter Chick Hicks' dirty racing in the Piston Cup race. In the end, Lightning gives Mater an opportunity to fly in a Dinoco helicopter like he always wanted, saying to Sally that Mater is his new best friend.
Mater is also capable of racing, as well as being the (self-proclaimed) world's best backwards driver. He attributes his skill to his rear-view mirrors and his own philosophy: "Don't need to know where I'm going, just need to know where I've been."
Mater is the protagonist of his own short.
One night, Mater plays a series of scary pranks on his friends until a blue light begins to haunt him. Mater's final prank is his most successful: Lightning sees a tow hook hanging from behind a stack of cans and, assuming that Mater is hiding behind it, approaches to foil the prank. Mater then jumps off of the roof of Flo's café, screaming behind Lightning, who then is startled and knocks over the pile of cans, revealing that the hook was actually from the sign of Mater's place of business, thus a decoy. Everyone starts to laugh at Lightning for falling for such a trick, and Mater says that Lightning looks like he's seen "the Ghostlight".
Sheriff tells Mater not to mock the Ghostlight, a character of urban legend amongst the cars. The Ghostlight is a glowing orb of blue, translucent light that haunts Radiator Springs, and hates nothing more than the sound of clanking metal -- a sound frequently made by Mater's rickety shell. Sheriff continues to tell the story of a young couple lost in the area, whose only remains were "two out-of-state license plates". He then concludes with an overly cheerful "Well, g'night!". The population of Radiator Springs then leaves within seconds, leaving a very nervous Mater all by himself in the dark.
As he reaches his garage, he is first frightened by a "lightning bug" (a tiny flying Volkswagen Beetle with bright headlights). As he relaxes, a bright blue glow suddenly appears behind Mater and he goes into a blind panic, driving around in a frenzy, first going along the main road, then going through the tractor field (past Frank), then around Willy's Butte, and doing a lock-strafe move after that, until he is exhausted. However, the Ghostlight was revealed to be a glowing blue lantern to Mater's towing cable hung up by Lightning and Guido to scare Mater.
The short ends with Mater finally collapsing on the road with the rest of the folks surrounding him, revealing the joke to him as retribution for the pranks he did to them. The credits roll and after them, there is a closing shot where the frightened Mater finds he has a huge construction vehicle behind him, snarling and carrying the license plate "Banshee." However, Mater doesn't realize who it is and warns it of the Screamin' Banshee before driving off, bidding the Banshee a good night.
Mater is now the protagonist in his own TV series.
Each tale begins with Mater telling a story of something he has done in the past (such as him once being a firefighter, a drift racer, a rockstar, an astronaut, etc.).
In the story, Mater finds himself in an inescapable predicament. When Lightning questions Mater over whether the events in the story actually occurred, Mater responds, "Don't you remember? You was there, too!", in which Lightning sometimes responds with "What?" or "Huh?", and continues the story including Lightning's sudden participation.
The cartoons end with Mater leaving the scene, often followed by characters or references to the story that was being told, putting up a possibility that the story might be real.
In the series' shorts, Mater tells about his past jobs. His jobs included:
- Daredevil (Mater the Greater)
- Fire Truck (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Doctor (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Racer in Tokyo (Tokyo Mater)
- UFO (Unidentified Flying Mater)
- Bulldozer Fighter (El Materdor)
- Private Eye (Mater Private Eye)
- Auto-naut (Moon Mater)
- Monster Truck Wrestler (Monster Truck Mater)
- Rock Star (Heavy Metal Mater)
- Plane/Falcon Hawk (Air Mater)
- Time Traveler (Time Travel Mater)
In the sequel, Mater returns, but as the protagonist.
In the now popular tourist destination of Radiator Springs, the rusty old tow truck Mater has a number of roles, including proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage, grand storyteller and the heart and soul of the town. But Mater’s favorite title is best friend to Lightning McQueen. Mater values each and every dent he’s earned on his escapades with Lightning over the years, and anxiously awaits further fun with his friend when Lightning returns with his latest Piston Cup.
Cheerful, honest and loyal to a fault, Mater rushes to his best friend’s defense when Francesco Bernoulli began insulting McQueen on live television. When Mater calls the Mel Dorado show to defend his friend's honor, the more Mater talked, the more Francesco mocked, which ultimately lands the off-duty Lightning in an international racing exhibition: the World Grand Prix. When Lightning invites Mater to come along as a member of his pit crew, Mater leaves Carburetor County for the first time ever.
Not long after their arrival in Tokyo, Mater learns that the world outside of Radiator Springs is decidedly different and its newfangled ways may take some getting used to. But when he’s mistaken for an American secret agent after returning from a bathroom due to an "oil leak incident" (actually Miles Axlerod's doing), he falls into an intriguing adventure of his own. Caught between supporting his best friend on a globe-trotting racing competition and his new role in international espionage, Mater ends up in an explosive chase through the streets of Tokyo and Europe alongside a team of British spies and international bad guys. During his mission as a spy, Mater is first blamed by McQueen for "accidentally" messing up the racecar's moves and causing him to lose the first race, Mater is immediately found by Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell at Tokyo airport where they then make a dash toward the spy jet Siddeley while escaping some Lemons who were pursuing them. Mater is then flown to Paris where Finn and Holley tell him about the mysterious Lemon "big boss" who was behind the Lemons' evil plot of the exploding racecars, and that he has to infiltrate the next Lemon meeting, which will be held in Porto Corsa, Italy, which is also where the second race will take place. While taking Stephenson to Italy, Finn and Holley install a holographic cloaking device onto Mater's roof light and has him disguise himself as a Lemon tow truck named Ivan, and upon arrival, Mater, now disguised is sent into the casino where the Lemon meeting is held. Unfortunately, during the meeting Mater accidentally breaks his hologram disguise and allowing the Lemons to identify him, but the tow truck escapes with his parachute and rockets and flies off to warn McQueen about the Lemons' evil plot only to be captured and sent to London (the final race's setting) where he, along with Finn and Holley are all tied to the gears of Big Bentley to be crushed to death.
Mater then learns from Grem and Acer, two of the Lemons inside the clock tower that they have installed a bomb in Lightning McQueen's pit that will kill McQueen upon his arrival (due to their EMP cannon being disabled as a result of Sarge switching the Allinol with Fillmore's fuel). As soon as the Lemons had left, Mater activated his gatling guns to cut through the ropes binding him and races to the track to warn McQueen about the bomb. But when he gets there, Finn calls him on the radio, revealing that the Lemons tricked him, and that the bomb in question was instead inside Mater's air filter! As McQueen returns to the pit and spots Mater, the latter desperately drives backwards to avoid killing his friend, but McQueen chases after him. Mater's attempts to warn about the bomb go misunderstood. As McQueen grabs his hook, Mater accidentally activates his rockets, sending them rocketing out of range of Professor Z's detonator. When they come to a stop, Holley reveals the bomb to McQueen as Finn arrives with a captive Zundapp. The Professor admits that the bomb is voice activated, but neglected to mention that it could only be disarmed by the one who activated it under Mater attempts to deactivate it himself, starting a five minute timer. Holley threatens Zundapp, only to learn that he wasn't the one who armed the bomb, shaving off another minute. After Holley tazes Zundapp, the foursome are surrounded by the Lemons, intending to watch the bomb go off. Mater attempts to reason with them, stating that he understands what it's like to be ridiculed but becoming rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams isn't going to make them feel better. When that failed, the Radiator Springs townsfolk come to their rescue. In the subsequent fight, Mater defends McQueen against the Lemons with his karate.
Guido then attempted to remove the bomb off Mater but none of his wrenches fit the bolts that hold it in place. With only two and half minutes left, Mater has an epiphany, but he hesitates to act on it, as he acknowledges to McQueen that they aren't in Radiator Springs. However, with some encouragement from his best friend, Mater proceeds to drag his friend all the way to Buckingham Palace, where he tells everyone that he knows who was sabotaging the race. But when he takes a moment to respectfully bow to the Queen, everyone spots the bomb and go into a panic. Finn intervenes before the royal guard could open fire, informing them that they can't disarm the bomb, and orders Mater to stand down. After remarking that that London is nothing like home, he is soon reminded by McQueen to get back on topic. He then accuses Axlerod of being the head Lemon. His reasoning was that the bolts on the bomb are the same ones from the British engine on Holley's photo; he also realized that Axlerod didn't convert from a combustion engine to an electric one, hence how he leaked oil back in Japan, and he'd probably still have it under his hood. Though Finn and Holley were a bit skeptical, Mater stated that Axlerod wanted Allinol discredited to turn the world against alternative fuels and back to using oil, so he could profit off the huge untapped oil field Finn found. With his bomb only down to the last ten seconds, Axlerod, realizing that his villainy has been exposed and fearing for his life, is immediately forced to deactivate the bomb and is then arrested on the spot. Just right as the police is about to take Axlerod away, Mater opens the Lemon's hood revealing the exact same engine as seen in Holley's photos. As Axlerod was left aghast at how a tow truck figured him out, McQueen tells Mater that he's coming to all his races.
Just before the end of the film, The Queen knights Mater for his bravery. Upon returning to the US, Mater returns all of his gadgets to Finn and Holley, but decides to keep his rockets.
- Zero to 60: 10 seconds
- Engine: V-8 with two-barrel carburetor
- Horsepower: 200
- Top speed: 90 mph
Weaponry and Gadgets
In Cars 2, since Mater plays a role in a spy affair, he is added several gadgets, however not as spectacular as those of Finn McMissile or Holley Shiftwell. Since Mater is not familiar with his gadgets, they are activated by voice commands.
- Deployable machine guns: One on each side. Deployed when Mater uses his catchphrase "Dad-gum."
- Twin rockets: Give Mater a powerful boost, and can serve to direct himself when gliding.
- Deployable paraglider: Of an orange color, it permits Mater to glide in the air. When used with his rockets, this gadget permits Mater to direct himself more precisely.
- Deployable holographic disguise emitter: Disguised as the flashing light on the roof. The device instantaneously makes a disguise all around Mater, and may even simulate supplementary volume or hide some.
At the end of Cars 2, it appears Mater was removed of all his gadgets. However, he obtained the favor to keep his twin rockets.
Mater appears in Disney's Hollywood Studios along with McQueen, both as "drive-around" characters and in a sequence added to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show to tie-in with Cars 2. Mater also appears in some Disney on Ice shows. Mater hosts Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and appears in Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, A figure of Mater also appears at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris and the Cars Race Rally attraction watching over the action.
- Mater shares the same personality as Dory from Finding Nemo. As they are both loyal, and funny.
- Mater's license plate is A113, a recurring joke in Pixar films.
- Mater, along with other countless versions of him, have been released in the Cars, Cars Toons and Cars 2 Die-Cast Lines.
- Mater and Ivan are the only characters in Cars 2 that are tow trucks.
- During the credits' roll of Cars 2, Mater's passport scrolls past. His birth date is listed on it. It turns out to be the same as John Lasseter's: January 12, 1957.
- During the last section of the World Grand Prix, Mater is described as the world's greatest backwards driver.
- It is revealed in Time Travel Mater that he always cries at weddings.
- In the credits, it is shown that he is knighted on Tuesday, July 15, 2011. However, July 15, 2011, was not on Tuesday in real life, it was on Friday.
- In the subtitles for the audio commentary on Cars 2, John Lasseter describes Mater with "two miniguns" but the subtitles say "two many guns".
- Head of story and co-director Joe Ranft got the inspiration of Mater after seeing an old abandoned rusty tow truck during a research trip to Route 66. The character was named after and partly based on Douglas "Mater" Keever, a racing fan the Pixar team met during their research trips, and also draws inspiration from several other people the team encountered.
- In Spanish and Portuguese, he is called "Mate".
- In French, he is called "Martin".
- In Polish, Mater is called "Złomek" (z-wom-eh-k).
- In German, he is called "Hook".
- In Dutch, he is called "Takel".
- In Italian, he is called "Cricchetto".
- In Swedish, he is called "Bärgarn" which suits him since he is a tow truck.
- In Japanese, he is called "メーター" (me-ta-).
- In Mandarin (Taiwan), he is called "拖線".
- In Mandarin (China), he is called "板牙".
- In Cantonese, he is called "哨牙嘜".
- In Danish, he is called "Bumle".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Cars Finder" (supplementary material on Blu Ray Disc release of Cars). 2007. Blu Ray Disc. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.
- ↑ Michael Wallis with Suzanne Fitzgerald (2006). The art of Cars. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 160. ISBN 978-0811849005.
- ↑ Meet the Mater
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