BLU-RAY REVIEW: Cars Ultimate Cars Gift Pack
McQueen & Mater hit shelves in a new home video package...
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There are certain films which become instant classics and one such film is the hit Disney/Pixar animated masterpiece Cars. Starring everyone's favorite talking race car, Lightning McQueen, a tow truck named Mater, and a slough of other characters the likes of which you've no doubt seen around your small town, Cars impressed not only kids of all ages, but many critics as well (even if some were harder on it than others!)
Now, thanks to a newly released "Ultimate Gift Pack," fans of the hit film can pick up not only the movie on both Blu-ray and DVD (loaded with special features!) but a special edition Cruisin' Lighting McQueen and Rescue Squad Mater die-cast vehicles as well.
First things first, I normally hate "gift packs" as it's often a simplified way for a distributor to make just a bit more money off the hopeless completist fans who have to have everything. That said, this unique gift set does just that, but in a way that's unique - by including two unique die-cast cars. And, unfortunately, that makes sense. After all, the movie is about cars and by including a couple of toys with the Blu-ray/DVD combo set, you not only increase the value of the gift pack, but the value of the individual pieces included. Both die-cast cars are exclusive to this set and feature Ransburg electrolytically applied metallic paint.
As for the Blu-ray/DVD set, the first disc includes the Cars feature film in beautiful 1080p hi-def. The film features a beautiful video in it's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and two audio tracks; a 5.1 English uncompressed PCM track and an English 5.1 Dolby Digital track that'll have your rear speakers working overtime trying to keep up with all of the racing and sound effects.
Special features exclusive to the Blu-ray include "Cine-Explore," which gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the film's production as well as commentary with director John Lasseter. This also provides opportunities for viewers to watch short documentaries and deleted scenes during the film, a unique opportunity that's working taking advantage of for die-hard fans of the film or those looking to know how a film like this is made. Other special features include a Car Finder game, which is played during the film and is interactive, allowing viewers to find specific cars during specific scenes in the movie. Sure to be most popular with the kids, the game can get somewhat repetitive.
Other special features included on the Cars Blu-ray disc are the original DVD special features, which include the animated short "Mater and the Ghostlight," the "One Man Band" short, the "Inspiration for Cars" featurette (which gives plenty of insight into the development of the idea and interviews everyone from the director to experts on Route 66 and race car drivers!), and a number of a deleted scenes. All of these are also included on the set's second DVD disc as well.
Overall, for those who already have the Blu-ray of Cars and wish they had both the Blu-ray and DVD, here's the opportunity to pick up both in a beautifully packaged set that just so happens to have two exclusive die-cast vehicles as well. No doubt kids - and collectors! - who are die-hard fans of the film will want to pick up this set, if not for the wonderful film in two different formats, then for the exclusive toys!
The Ultimate Cars Gift Pack makes a great holiday gift and is available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley