Cars, Blu-ray (2007)

by | Nov 14, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Cars, Blu-ray (2007)

Voices of: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman and others
Directors: John Lasseter & Joe Ranft
Studio: Pixar/Disney 54285
Video: 2.39:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: English Uncompressed PCM 5.1 (48K/24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Cine-Explore behind-the-scenes experience, Deleted scene, Radiator Springs featurettes, Movie showcase, Carfinder game, 2 animated shorts: Mater and the Ghostlight, One Man Band
Length: 116 minutes
Rating: *****

Pixar has done it again – putting together cutting-edge computer animation with a great story that can appeal to the whole family, and now bringing it out on one of the best-looking Blu-rays to date, and including all sorts of extras that were  missing from the standard DVD release. As with all of their DVD releases, Pixar went back to their original digital source files which had been used to make the theatrical 35mm prints, and they were transferred without going thru any degrading film chain.  The crispness and detail is truly amazing – one viewer thought it almost looked like it was in 3D.

All the characters in the movie are cars (or motorized variations of them). Most are cartoon versions of familiar classics, such as a Porsche, Corvette, Hudson Hornet, and so on. The voices perfectly fit the particular vehicle, for example the small Italian car has an Italian accent and the briefly-seen Hummer sounds like Swarzenegger. Lightning McQueen is a young impressed-with-himself race car who is on his way to winning the prized Piston Cup Award.  He alienates most of those near him with his overweaning ego.  While traveling in his special van to California to hopefully win an important race, he becomes stranded in a near-abandoned town on Route 66, Radiator Springs. Forced to do public service for his reckless driving, Lightning meets a town full of humorous car characters who eventually help bring him around to a more sensitive, considerate and altruistic life style.

The movie begins in the middle of a big race, and everything is moving and panning so fast that it seems almost like a real-life race on TV.  When things slow enough to see the hundreds of various car characters, the story begins in earnest. The uncompressed surround track is used to the hilt in making one feel in the middle of a car race.  The gunning of engines, squeal of tires and crashes are super-dynamic and help make the animated images seem even more real.  I did have trouble getting my Pioneer Elite player to advance beyond the long paragraph on screen about not illegally copying the film.  It sat for almost ten minutes before I finally shut down the player entirely and started up again to continue. (Some Blu-ray discs are employing advanced programming that the first generation players don’t relate to well.  If all fails, try unplugging the AC at the back of your player for 30 seconds to reset the innards.)  I had no interest in playing the Carfinder Game but I’m sure some will.  The Cine-Explore feature pops all sorts of interesting information up on the screen while the film is in progress. If you like that sort of thing you’ll find plenty details about the production displayed for you.

 – John Sunier

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