Pixar can do no wrong when they take inanimate objects and spring them to life. Cars is the next in line after their resounding success with Toy Story and Toy Story 2. While it’s not as funny nor does it carry the wide appeal, it’s a fine animated effort with heart and the expected charm.

A loaded cast, including racing greats, leads this fast-paced “learn to care about others” story. Lightning McQueen is the typical sports star of the day (only a car) who ends up in a small, dying town in need of some help. The predictable narrative is enough filler for the sharply written one-liners and loads of small visual gags spattered throughout.

The film feels like it has a focus on marketing at times, introducing characters for a brief moment to make a quick joke and then disappearing. Whatever lands them on a toy seems good enough here. Those that are developed, including Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), are genuinely memorable, fun, and always likable.

It’s also surprising to see the accuracy of the races. The physics, camera angles, and animation look stunningly real. Given that the cars have mouths and eyes, that’s saying something.

Pixar seems to be aiming younger with this release, as the small amount of brief humor that would go over a kid’s head but appeal to an older crowd seems to be dwindling. That’s not to say adults won’t enjoy Cars, but it would be nice to have that appeal back. This is another success for Pixar regardless, and they consistently prove their worth. Cars is yet another resumé-worthy piece. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]

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Unsurprisingly, this is a stunning, flawless translation to the hi-def format. Cars is a masterwork of home cinema, with unheard of clarity, sharpness, and detail. This is what the HD format is all about.

For the extremely fussy, some minor aliasing can be found if you’re looking for it during brief long shots. However, these moments are minor enough that only the most die-hard videophiles will take note. Sharpness is incredible, and the bursting color is bright enough yet never bleeds. Everyone will be staring dumbfounded by the amazing reflections, captured flawlessly by the added resolution. This is everything animation should be on Blu-ray. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Video]

Likewise, Cars can pump out some intense PCM audio. The race sequences are more immersive than a live broadcast of the sport could ever wish to be. The movement captured in the five channels is remarkable. Bass during crashes delivers the added punch to complete the mix. This is, like the video, a flawless presentation. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Audio]

Extras are sparse, and the menu can occasionally be confusing. The same content is spread over multiple menu sections leading to unnecessary frustration – and the menus have the tendency to glitch. Trying to find features such as Inspiration for Cars (16:02) can be a challenge.

Five deleted scenes are comprised mostly of storyboards. Seven documentary shorts range from three to six minutes, covering various aspects of production. One specifically on logo designs used for the world of Cars showcases a lot of details you missed as you watched the film.

“Cine-Explore” is a picture-in-picture feature which runs as you watch the film. It provides a massive bar on the bottom of the screen that cuts into the picture, allowing you to swap between two fun commentary tracks, or watch the extra features during the movie. Since commentaries can be swapped without this mode, and the featurettes are accessible outside of the menu, this is truly a waste of time.

Two of Pixar’s always funny shorts are included here, along with a Carfinder game. Like Cine-Explore, this one runs with the movie and is aimed at the younger set. Pictures of various cars show up on the bottom of the screen, and you need to select which ones are appearing on screen. It’s simple, but enough to keep the kids quiet as they watch the movie for the hundredth time.  [xrr rating=4/5 label=Extras]


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