REVIEW: Disney's Cars 2 Blu-ray
Lighting McQueen, Tow Mater, and crew return for another run...
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If you're not a fan of Disney's 2006 hit Cars, there's something wrong with you. I mean that in the nicest way, but let's be honest: the movie is fun, the characters exciting, and - while the storyline might essentially be a remake of Doc Hollywood and Days of Thunder in animated form - it's one of the funnest and most enjoyable family films to come along in quite some time.
Enter this year's sequel, Cars 2. While it might be missing the spark that made the original so amazing, it instead exchanges racing fun for spy thriller action. And that's not all, Cars 2 focuses now more on Tow Mater, a supporting character from the first film more often caught in Lighting McQueen's shadow than in center stage. Now, Mater comes into the limelight and armed and ready (quite literally!) for a whole slew of action and adventure that's both fun, exciting, and engaging for fans of every age.
The film itself finds McQueen and Mater bound for the World Grand Prix where McQueen will face the greatest racers in the world and Mater will...well...do what Mater does and get into trouble. Of course, this leads to a case of switched identities and a group of British spies believing Mater to be their American counterpart. Blissfully ignorant, Mater makes Cars 2 the enjoyable animation it is and, while it won't live up to the original, it's a solid sequel that'll have kids and adults enjoying the jokes, flashy fast cars, action and adventure.
The video transfer, like all of Disney's blu-ray 1080p home video releases, is gorgeous. The bright colors are vivid and bold, the darks are deep, and the animation is perfect. Simply put, Cars 2 is another stunning visual presentation from Disney/Pixar. As for audio, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track brilliantly brings to life the film's sounds. The center channel focuses dialogue while a generous use of the 6 surrounding channels and sub-woofer all help bring to life the various effects and background sounds, including the amazing background noise from the film's numerous locales (Japan, Italy, America, and England). The dynamic use of these sound effects brings to life the action and, for those with a solid surround sound system, there's no doubt the film will come to life in your home.
As for special features, the regular Cars 2 Blu-ray release includes only a portion of the bonus material included in the Cars 2 3-D Blu-ray release. This follows the trend Disney previously established and which I mentioned in my review of the Pirates of the Caribbeans: On Stranger Tides. This edition of Cars 2 includes an audio commentary with directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis which is worth watching for fans who're looking for behind-the-scenes info about the film's creation. Other special features include a 6-minute short entitled "Hawaiian Vacation," featuring Buzz, Woody and the Toy Story 3 crew; another 6-minute short entitled "Air Mater," which finds Mater in another advenure; 10 minutes of "Sneek Peeks," including looks at the new Planes, The Muppets, and other Disney movies and video games.
Cars may be a modern animated classic and Cars 2 may not live up to its predecessor, but few sequels ever do. That said, Cars 2 is just as much fun and just as entertaining as the original; especially if you're young. In fact, in my house, my 2 year old daughter has now watched Cars 2 more than the original...and there's no telling how many more times we'll watch it before we find something else to pop in the player!
Disney's Cars 2 is available on 3-D blu-ray. blu-ray, and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley