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.
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: October 29, 2013
Audio: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
Running Time: 117 minutes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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