With Cars, Pixar proves once again that they can’t make a bad product.
With the recent glut of talking-animal CG-animated films, it’s always refreshing to see something else speaking. Pixar’s latest, Cars, replaces anthropomorphized animals with vehicles and has a grand time doing it, putting a fresh spin on the genre and creating something beautiful in the process.
Cars is about Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), a young hot-shot race car who, on his way to the Piston Cup, gets sidetracked in the small town of Radiator Springs, a run-down town off Route 66 populated by eccentric local cars. Lightning needs to leave town and make the race, but his community service, enacted by Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), prevents him from doing so. Also making life difficult is his budding romance with local attorney Sally (Bonnie Hunt) and his growing fondness for the locals around him, voiced by a cast that matches actor with respective car perfectly. Will Lightning make the race and learn his lesson? Watch it and see.
As with all Pixar movies, the images are a treat for the eyes, and the sound design is a feast for the ears. The film is presented in 2.39:1 anamorphic, and nary a pixel is wasted. You can and should freeze-frame and take in the sweeping landscapes and vistas throughout the film, which are full of luscious detail. Or you can watch the racing scenes, which are about 150 times more exciting than real NASCAR racing. The Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Stereo sound mixes (both with a THX optimizer) are glorious to behold, with sharp sound, subtle effects, and flawless voice work. It’s another shining jewel for Pixar after the apex that is The Incredibles’ sound design, which I consider flawless.
A brand-new short, featuring Mater the tow truck (Larry the Cable Guy), is one of the many features on this disc. Also included are the award-winning short One Man Band, a few deleted scenes in storyboard form, the animated epilogue, and a nice documentary about the inspiration behind the film. While more would be appreciated, the presentation and the film are all that is needed.
Cars is simply a joy to behold. In addition to looking and sounding perfect, the film is enormously entertaining and worth watching repeatedly. It’s a credit to Pixar that all of their films meet these levels, from the technical to the emotional. Hands down, this is the best DVD I’ve seen and heard all year.