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CARS: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

Disney

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#1 of 8 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 20 2013 - 04:09 AM

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What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.

 

 

 

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Cars

 

Studio: Walt Disney

Product Release: October 29, 2013

Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
Running Time: 117 minutes

Rating: G

 

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On A Scale 0-5

 

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

3D Separation: 5

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2

 

"Respect the classics, man"

 

Watching Cars again for the first time in many years, I am fondly reminded

of what a huge, deserved success this film was for Pixar.  Directed by John

Lasseter (Toy Story), it's the first effort from the animation studio that takes place

in a world completely void of humans. Yet, despite this absence, it's amazing to

watch the animators and storytellers bring out the very best in human emotions

within the array of classic and modern vehicles that dominate the film.

 

Snapshot-2013-10-20 at 07_46_37 AM-1412387738.jpg

 

This is the story of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), a young maverick of

a race car who has been dreaming all his life of winning the coveted Piston Cup.

McQueen is a little too arrogant for his own good, which is probably the reason

why he ends up lost in a 3-way tie at the finish of the film's opening NASCAR-style

race.  Now it's off to Los Angeles for the final rematch.

 

Through some unfortunate bumps and a detour in the road, McQueen finds

himself arrested in the small, unforgotten town of Radiator Springs, located along

Route 66.  It is here that he meets an assortment of classic car characters, including

Mater (Larry The Cable Guy), the only tow truck in town.  Mater may be a little rusty 

around the edges, but certainly has a heart of gold.  It's not long before McQueen

is taken back by the town folk and realizes the importance of doing things for others

can be more rewarding than placing one's own self first.

 

Snapshot-2013-10-20 at 07_47_00 AM-1863962275.jpg

 

It has already been established through its initial Blu-ray release, that CARS looks

fantastic on Blu-ray.  This completely digital transfer is without a single flaw and 

remains extremely sharp and extraordinarily well-detailed throughout.  Colors are

vivid and the neons at night are nothing short of stunning. Yes, folks, you can

still marvel at Lightning McQueen's Rust-Eze shine while soaking in every little

ounce of background detail within this gorgeous high-def transfer. 

 

You know, after recently reviewing and being disappointed with the level of 3D in 

Monsters University, I was expecting to be let down for a second time with CARS --

particularly for the fact that this was not originally imagined for 3D and released

directly to Blu-ray without theatrical play. Well, perhaps those low expectations led

me to one of the biggest surprises of all: CARS looks amazing within its new

dimensionality thanks to its seemingly infinite level of depth.  Just within the film's

opening moments you realize the level of depth and dimensionality and how it

provides a very realistic perspective of sizing in objects.  Take for instance, the 

overhead shot of a huge crowded stadium and the small helicopter that hovers

just above it.  As the opening race commences, stat overlays provide an added

level of separated detail as they hover over the background action.  The real treat,

however, lies in the manner in which the the 3D brings out the nuances within the

film's animation.  As McQueen races across the desolate American landscape, one

cannot help but notice the details in cloud formations or red rocks that surround the

town of Radiator Springs.  These are things that could easily be missed in the 2D

version, but because they are now layered, makes them more focused.  Even the

reflections and shadings within the cars look truer to life than they ever have before.  

Check out how how impressive the overhead shot of layered line of telephone poles

look along the long stretches of highway. If there is one thing that the addition of 3D

accomplishes perfectly here, it is providing added layers to the existing the animation 

which often succeeds in diverting your eyes way from the action just to appreciate

what is happening within the surroundings.

 

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There is no blatant "In Yo' Face" gimmickry to be found here.  I didn't expect as

much from this upconversion, and besides, Disney animation almost always fails

in that department.  However, there are many moments where thrown road pavement,

McQueen's front bumper or Mater's two buck teeth infiltrate themselves just slightly

forward of the viewing window.  

 

There was absolutely no ghosting to be found here.

 

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Viewers will be treated to a highly aggressive 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that 

can be overly noisy during racing scenes with revving engines, squealing tires and

crushing, guard-rail crashes.  All of this is supported with an abundance of cheering

crowd noise that envelopes the viewer from the surrounds to fronts.  With all this

noise it's nice to see that the audio is well balanced throughout the mix.  Even during

the quieter moments in Radiator Springs, on can appreciate the manner in which the

rear channels provide the soft sounds of insect-chatter -- just enough to bring more

realism to the moment.  For those that like boomy LFE, you'll certainly hear enough 

of it during the film's racing sequences.  

 

CARS arrives as a 3-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (3D Blu-ray+2D Blu-ray+DVD 

and Digital Copy).  As with Monster's University, I was very saddened to see that 

Disney has foregone using lenticular packaging.  Extras include a "Cine-Explore"

feature that allows viewers to go behind-the-scenes to hear the filmmaker's stories

and see supporting storyboards and designs.  There are also deleted scenes, a

Carfinder game and two included shorts (Meter and the Ghostlite and One Band Short).

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Snapshot-2013-10-20 at 07_48_51 AM-1794875797.jpg

 

Though I am the furthest away from being a fan of Nascar or Larry The Cable Guy,

I still found myself immensely enjoying my viewing of Pixar's CARS.  The added level

of dimensionality that 3D brings to this film really made me appreciate the fine details

within the animation which is just as stunning to watch today as it was in 2006.

 

That being said, Disney has made this a rather expensive double-dip at the current

price of $35 (at the time of this review).  It's sad that the studios are still price gouging

on 3D titles.  While I feel this 3D presentation is worthy of a first or second purchase, I

would wait for the inevitable price drop.  In the meantime, I would recommend you get

yourself a quart of oil and enjoy this 3D release as I give it a positive recommendation.

 

 

Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. 

 

Equipment

 

LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player

Denon 3311CI Receiver

Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

SV Sound Subwoofer


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 8 Johnny Angell

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Posted October 20 2013 - 09:29 AM

I'm taking your advice and waiting.  I don't think I would have bought it all, until I read your review.


Johnny
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#3 of 8 Charles Smith

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Posted October 20 2013 - 09:36 AM

Same.  I love Cars, the 3D sounds wonderful, but for now it'll just have to go on the list.      :)



#4 of 8 DavidJ

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Posted October 20 2013 - 11:13 AM

Ron, I'm glad you are still giving us 3D reviews. I may pick this one up eventually even though it's not my favorite Pixar movie (I wish they would've chopped a few minutes out of the running time). The kids like it (I enjoy many moments in it) and like 3D too. 



#5 of 8 Jari K

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Posted October 20 2013 - 01:51 PM

This 3D set has all the old extras, right?

#6 of 8 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 20 2013 - 09:18 PM

This 3D set has all the old extras, right? 

 

Seems to, yes.


Ronald J Epstein
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#7 of 8 Aaron Silverman

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Posted October 21 2013 - 11:11 AM

I'm glad that they did right by this one with the 3D conversion. IMO it's one of the most visually stunning films ever made. There may not exist a more beautiful sequence than Lightning and Sally's joyride.

 

If/ when I ever get a 3D set, I may very well triple-dip this.


Edited by Aaron Silverman, October 21 2013 - 11:12 AM.

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#8 of 8 Adam Gregorich

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Posted November 12 2013 - 03:34 PM

HTF had the opportunity to talk with Josh Hollander, Director of 3D Production for Pixar, and Bob Whitehill, the 3D Stereoscopic Artist who worked on bring Cars to 3D. 

 

http://www.hometheat...of-3d-at-pixar/

 

http://www.hometheat...ll-from-pixar/ 







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