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DVD Reviews


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#1 of 95 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams


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Posted November 02 2006 - 07:39 PM


Studio: Disney / Pixar
Year: 2006
Rated: G
Film Length: 116 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.39:1)
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

The Movie:
(*****/*****) 5/5

Back in my college days, I had a roommate who just loved NASCAR. Every Sunday was NASCAR Sunday. By proxy, I became a reluctant NASCAR follower. He, however, just couldn’t get enough. While I can’t claim to be a big fan of NASCAR myself, I can definitely appreciate the skill and dedication of the drivers - - and the pure devotion of the fans. Regardless of all that, NASCAR just doesn't hold my attention. It feels a bit like an alien sport to me. So, when I heard that Pixar was making an animated NASCAR movie, I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t think it was a story that would appeal to me in the least. Man, was I wrong.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is the hottest car in racing. He might just be the first rookie to win the coveted Piston Cup. Lightning, however, has a problem or two: He’s arrogant, selfish and a complete loner. Heck, this car even brags about how many crew chiefs he’s fired! One night while on his way to the championship race, he finds himself alone on Route 66 and in the hands of the law in the desolate and forgotten town of Radiator Springs. Lightning is going to find more than just a crazy bunch of outcasts in Radiator Springs; he'll discover that there’s more to life than simply winning races.

Cars is yet another wonderful film from Pixar. These extremely talented filmmakers continue to produce some of the finest stories being released out of Hollywood today. One of the things that I love about Pixar is their dedication to story. Sure, they also happen to produce the most stunning CGI animation in the industry, but it’s their focus on story that makes them great. Like the Pixar films that came before it, Cars takes a relatively simple premise and elevates it to something that is heartwarming and insightful. Cars really isn’t even about auto racing. It’s more of a commentary on friendship, sportsmanship and even the sad decline of small town America. Cars overflows with warmth and compassion. It’s a great film for children as well as adults. I can’t recommend Cars enough.

(*****/*****) 5/5

I’m sure this won’t surprise anyone, but Cars is stunning on DVD. Minted from a pure digital master, this transfer is flawless. Colors are vibrant, black levels are spot-on and detail is exceptional. There is not a trace of noise, artifacting or edge enhancement. With all of these HD releases now occupying so much interest, it’s great to see that DVD can still amaze with such stunning picture quality. Take for instance the scene where Lightning and Sally Carrera take a drive across the desert plains and up into the hills. There is just a wealth of beautifully rendered detail in these shots as the two cars race through tunnels, puddles and around amazing vistas. Cars exemplifies the best of what DVD has to offer. This is a must own title and absolute reference material.

(*****/*****) 5/5

NOTE: This DVD automatically defaults to Dolby Digital 2.0. If you have 5.1 capabilites, please select 5.1 in the sound menu before starting the feature.

Cars is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks. Again, this is spectacular stuff. The sound is completely enveloping. Surround channels are extremely active, especially in the various racing scenes. Dialogue is always completely clear and intelligible. This is one of the finest Dolby Digital presentations I’ve ever heard. Cars is great reference material for showing off your surround sound system. It’s a thrilling experience.

(***/*****) 3/5

While Cars might be reference material in every other respect, the supplements are somewhat lacking. Perhaps Pixar’s reputation for releasing loaded special editions in the past makes this one a bit disappointing. Here’s what’s included:
•All-New Exclusive Animated Short: "Mater And The Ghostlight"
This is a cute piece of fluff. Nothing too exciting here.
•Academy Award® Nominated Animated Short: "One Man Band"
This was the opening short from the theatrical run of Cars. It isn’t my favorite Pixar short, but it is entertaining and a worthy addition to this DVD set.
•John Lasseter's Inspiration For CARS
I really enjoyed this feature. Essentially, John Lasseter (Director) narrates and shares home movie footage of a trip that the Pixar team took along Route 66 to help prepare for the production of Cars. It’s insightful and moving to see Lasseter’s love of storytelling and his enthusiasm for this film.
•Deleted Scenes
Again… there’s nothing really important to the film included here. A few funny moments are present, but it’s obvious why these scenes were left on the cutting-room floor. Four deleted scenes are included.

The Final Analysis:
(*****/*****) 5/5

Despite a weak set of extras, Cars is a fantastic film and addition to the Pixar stable of classics. Video and Audio are reference quality and the story is truly inspired. I recommend Cars as a must-own addition to your DVD library.

Release Date: November 7, 2006


#2 of 95 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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Posted November 02 2006 - 11:10 PM

First Pixar pass for me. I admire the technical and artistic brilliance that Pixar continues to display but the story here has no appeal for me.
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#3 of 95 OFFLINE   Andy_R


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Posted November 03 2006 - 12:22 AM

I'm no Nascar fan. If anything, I'm probably anti-Nascar. Like Ben, I was not excited when I heard about the Cars story and and did not have high expectations. Given that, I was not expecting to like this movie as much as I did. I loved it! I won't go into where I rank this compared to other Pixar films in a (vain) hope this thread does not degenerate into that, but I will say that I will definitely be buying this DVD on Tuesday, and I'm thrilled to hear what a good job they did on the video and audio.
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#4 of 95 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson



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Posted November 03 2006 - 12:38 AM

As far as the movie itself goes, althought I enjoyed it, it really didn't develop any heart until a little over half way in. Until that point it felt like a very well made demo film. Although I confess I have no interest in Nascar, so maybe that played into it. Given Ben's rating of the quaity of the DVD I may pick it up just because ... hmmm, just because I have all the rest of Pixar's film's.

#5 of 95 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted November 03 2006 - 01:01 AM

Excellent review. A shame about the rather anemic set of extras considering Pixar's previous track record for it's releases. It makes me think that a special edition is somewhere down the road. I'm still on the fence but this review is certainly making me give it some more thought about purchasing this one.
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#6 of 95 OFFLINE   Rolando



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Posted November 03 2006 - 01:14 AM

SO this will be a one disc? Dissapointing... This would be the first Pixar movie not to have a separate disc of extras no?
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#7 of 95 OFFLINE   RandyMathis


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Posted November 03 2006 - 01:30 AM

I'm looking forward to hearing some LFE from the movie. When I went to our brand new local theater I was shocked to find that they had a poor, or no, subwoofer. I kept thinking that I wanted to be in my basement.

#8 of 95 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H


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Posted November 03 2006 - 01:52 AM

Not exactly. The original releases of Toy Story and A Bug's Life were 1-discers, with a separate, hugely expensive 2-disc version of A Bug's Life. I liked this movie a lot, but am disappointed that it's only a 1-disc release. I may wait and see if a better version comes along. I may also wait for HD.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#9 of 95 OFFLINE   Dave>h


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Posted November 03 2006 - 02:48 AM

Considering Disney recently bought Pixar, it is a safe bet that all Pixar releases will now foloow the Disney Sales and Marketing, that is, aenemic first edition, followed by a 2 disc special edition, hide in vault for a few years, 2 disk platinum edition with improved video and audio. I expect this to be pretty much the standard operating procedure for their Blu Ray releases as well. Have to say though, watching this last night upconverted via the HD a1, I cannot imagine how it could look much better in HD. The visuals were simply stunning, one of the best looking movies, HD or not HD, that I have seen in quite a while. Very impressive. The only nit picky issue I had with this release was that it defaulted to Dolby 2.0 sound, rather than the 5.1. Also thought the deleted scenes were a joke. This movie made a lot of money (not as much as previous Pixar films) you'd think they could spend a few bucks and do up the deleted scenes in something more than pencil. George Lucas, the most reviled person on the planet and a cheap ass who defiles childhoods (according to some but not me) spent the extra cash to finish his deleted scenes. Can't see why Pixar wouldn't do the same. Dave

#10 of 95 OFFLINE   BrettB



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Posted November 03 2006 - 03:32 AM

Good review Ben. And it didn't take me 10 minutes to read. Posted Image You've got some big shoes to fill but you're off to a great start. Posted Image

There's obviously better coming but this is a no-brainer for me. I've cut way back on SD DVD purchases so it doesn't bother me at all knowing I'll be re-purchasng this.

For those annoyed at the anemic set of extras, look around. Wal-mart has an exclusive bonus disc that's music-centric, Target has one with different stuff and for the region-free there is an Austrailian set in a tin that is awesome.

I can't wait to see this on my new HD set. Should be the best-looking Pixar thus far.

#11 of 95 OFFLINE   MarkHastings


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Posted November 03 2006 - 04:36 AM

I absolutely LOATHE NASCAR, but LOVED this film! Although, I am holding off right now in the hopes that someone will inform me of a 2 disc set coming soon!!!

#12 of 95 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams


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Posted November 03 2006 - 05:58 AM

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the great feedback!

#13 of 95 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted November 03 2006 - 07:53 AM

Thanks Ben, I'm sold, now based on your review, this is Daddy's video and not the kidsPosted Image
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#14 of 95 OFFLINE   Peter McM

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Posted November 03 2006 - 08:06 AM

I love NASCAR, but if this film had only been about the sport, I probably would've passed. But this goes far beyond the racetrack, thankfully, into the heart (or is that motor?) and soul of the characters. Count me in on this one--and I have no kids, either!
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#15 of 95 OFFLINE   Paul Arnette

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Posted November 03 2006 - 08:35 AM

While I will respectfully disagree with your high opinion of this film, I am glad to hear that the disc continues Pixar's fine tradition of A/V quality. When it comes right down to it, these movies are critic-proof anyway. Anyone with children of a certain age is going to feel compelled to buy this for them, as I am. Its just nice to know that they didn't 'mail it in' a la The Little Mermaid.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#16 of 95 OFFLINE   Kevin Martinez

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Posted November 03 2006 - 08:37 AM

A while back, a Special Interest gorup rabbleroused to have a scene from this movie (Lightning vs. the Railroad tracks) removed from the DVD. Is this intact?

#17 of 95 OFFLINE   BrettB



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Posted November 03 2006 - 08:44 AM

According to another review I read it's in there. I never even heard of the controversy.

#18 of 95 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams


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Posted November 03 2006 - 09:32 AM

It's definitely still in there... I hadn't heard about this controversy either.

#19 of 95 OFFLINE   JasonKZ


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Posted November 03 2006 - 11:45 AM

I hate nascar and may get it just for Pixar. Maybe it is only 1 disc because they are selling out the other disc as "exclusives" to Wal-Mart and Target. Really irritating.

#20 of 95 OFFLINE   Matthew Clayton

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Posted November 03 2006 - 12:13 PM

I'll pass on this. I am Southern and personally I am not a fan of NASCAR, and from the previews it just didn't seem that good. But I'll give it a spin and if I like it, I'll hold off on buying it until the 2-disc edition comes out (probably to coincide with the release of Ratatouille next year).

C'mon, everyone knows Disney wants to milk Pixar for all the money they can get, now that they own it.

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