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A high-octane adventure comedy that shows life is about the journey, not the finish line. Hotshot rookie race car Lightning McQueen is living life in the fast lane until he hits a detour on his way to the most important race of his life. Stranded in Radiator Springs, a forgotten town on the old Route 66, he meets Sally, Mater, Doc Hudson, and a variety of quirky characters who help him discover that there’s more to life than trophies and fame. Cars is full of freewheeling fun for everyone.
For more about Cars and the Cars Blu-ray release, see Cars Blu-ray Review published by Brandon A. DuHamel on November 26, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Cheech Marin, Michael Keaton
Directors: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft
» See full cast & crew
Cars Blu-ray Review
Pixar's little red race car learns that winning isn't always everything
Reviewed by Brandon A. DuHamel, November 26, 2007
Egotistical rookie racing superstar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) takes a wrong turn on his way to California for a Piston Cup race with his two main rivals, The King (Richard Petty) and Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton). He ends up in Radiator Springs, an old, dilapidated, Route 66 town that time has forgotten. As his punishment for accidentally damaging the main road in the town, local Judge Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) sentences Lightning to repair the damaged road before he is free to make his way to the big race.
That basic outline forms the basis for Disney-Pixar's fun and heartfelt tale, Cars. As the film progresses, Lightning is forced to learn valuable lessons about friendship and love, becoming less self-centered as the townspeople of Radiator Springs help him learn to live life to the fullest. The animation, as is typical for any Pixar film, is nothing short of amazing. With Cars, Pixar once again proves that they represent the industry standard for combining groundbreaking CGI animation with a strong story. The acting is also superb, with Owen Wilson convincingly portraying a race car with an out-of-control ego. I'm sure many will say that Larry the Cable Guy (Mater) is the stand-out comic relief in the film, but in my opinion, that honor goes to Tony Shaloub as the Italian mechanic and tire guru Luigi.
Cars is a must own title for lovers of animation and is great storytelling for all ages.
Cars Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in 1080p high definition in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio on this Blu-ray disc release, Cars looks absolutely marvelous. Compared to the previous DVD release, viewing this Blu-ray disc is like seeing the film all over again for the first time. Detail is spot on and colors sparkle and leap from the screen. It is, in a word, amazing.
Where I really noticed the biggest difference between this release and all other versions I've seen, is in the Piston Cup racing scenes and in the scene where Ramone (Cheech Marin) gives Lightning his new paint job. In the racing scenes, the crowds and the backgrounds are much more detailed and clearly defined than on the DVD version. DVD just seems blurry in comparison. This Blu-ray also eliminates the various compression and motion artifacts that are so prevalent in the high definition MPEG-4 satellite broadcasts. In the paint job scene, I'd never noticed, on the DVD, that Lightning's paint was a brilliant metallic red. In previous versions, it always looked like a flat red paint, just like his original paint job. On this Blu-ray release, the metallic red paint glitters with such a dazzling sheen it practically comes to life on screen.
I could not find a single fault with the AVC/MPEG-4 encode on this disc. So, to call it perfect would be an understatement. There were no artifacts present and contrast, black levels, and color saturation were all superb. This Blu-ray release is the very definition of reference grade. Disney should be applauded for their unsurpassed attention to detail.
Cars Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The soundtrack options available on this Blu-ray disc release are English 5.1 uncompressed PCM (48kHz/24-bit) and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. I listened to the uncompressed PCM soundtrack and it was yet another well recorded, brilliant mix from Disney-Pixar.
Typical of the soundtracks for Pixar's releases, the Cars 5.1 mix was very aggressive, utilizing the rear channels and LFE to full effect. During the many racing scenes, crowd effects and automotive sounds were panned through the rear channels generously and the subwoofer was heavily utilized giving the entire mix a very solid bottom-end and an all encompassing soundstage.
EQ was also even and easy on the ears. High frequencies were never overbearing and the midrange was solid and precise. Dialogue and sound effects were delivered with absolute clarity and were well placed and balanced throughout. To sum it all up, Cars features a well-recorded, well- mixed soundtrack that was beautifully suited to the material at hand.
Cars Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
In typical Pixar fashion, this Blu-ray Disc release features an abundance of extras. However, just like its companion release, Ratatouille, most of these features will be of more interest to adults rather than children.
First up, is the BD-Java based Cine-Explore feature which provides an interactive in-movie running audio-commentary by director John Lasseter. This feature displays graphics and storyboard drawings during the commentary. It also allows the viewer to break away from the film to watch deleted scenes and short, behind-the-scenes documentaries. The Cine-Explore feature can be set to "Auto" and will break away to the shorts and deleted scenes without prompting, if you so choose. All of the documentaries and deleted scenes can also be viewed apart from the Cine-Explore feature and provide an interesting insight into what inspired the film as well as all the hard work that went into making it.
One extra on the disc that some of the young ones might enjoy, is the BD-Java based "Car Finder" game. This interactive feature also runs during playback of the movie. The object of the game is to select certain models of cars as they appear on screen to build up points. Occasionally, movie playback will also pause and the game will ask you to find a certain car within a scene. I personally found the game to be quite tiresome after only a couple of minutes, but perhaps some younger children will find pleasure in it.
Apart from the aforementioned extras, the disc features a few high definition trailers:
Meet the Robinsons
Cars Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Cars is an extremely entertaining film packed with fun for all ages. This high definition Blu- ray release from Disney-Pixar is, without a doubt, the definitive version, with excellent picture and sound quality. I highly recommend this release as a purchase. Not only will it give your home theatre system an enjoyable workout, but everyone in the family will enjoy the sights and sounds and will take pleasure in coming back for repeat viewings.
Cars: Other Editions
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Cars Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Buy Up, Monsters Inc, and Cars for $30.97 - November 12, 2009
Amazon is offering two new discount codes to promote the purchase of the 'Up' Blu-ray.You can order it together with either 'Monsters, Inc.' or 'Cars' and save $15 off your total purchase, using the promo code "UPBLURAY". Or you can buy all three titles ...
• Disney Re-releasing Cars Blu-ray as Combo Gift Set - August 24, 2009
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has announced that they will re-release the Pixar animated film 'Cars' as a limited edition gift set on November 10th, day-and-date with the Blu-ray releases of 'Up' and 'Monster's Inc.'. When released, 'Cars: Ultimate Cars ...
• Inside the Making of Cars Blu-ray - December 21, 2007
Sound and Vision Magazine recently sat down with director John Lasseter to discuss the process of producing the recently released 'Cars' Blu-ray disc. The legendary co-founder of Pixar Studios described what excites him about the high definition format, and why ...
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