Cars 3D (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Audio/3D Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Disney/Pixar - 2006
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Family/animation

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC/MVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, Cheech Marin, Tony Shaloub, Jenifer Lewis, Michael Keaton, Jeremy Piven, Katherine Helmond, John Ratzenberger, Larry the cable guy
Directed by: John Lasseter & Joe Ranft
Music by: Randy Newman
Written by: John Lasseter & Joe Ranft
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 29, 2013

"Gear up!"

Film Synopsis:

Hotshot rookie race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is living life in the fast lane until he hits a detour on his way to the most important race of his life. Stranded in Radiator Springs, a forgotten town on the old Route 66, he meets Sally, Mater, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), and a variety of quirky characters that help him discover that there's more to life than trophies and fame. Revved up with a sensational soundtrack, featuring Rascal Flatts, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, James Taylor and others, plus exciting bonus features, including the exclusive short movie "Mater And The Ghostlight," Cars is full of freewheeling fun for everyone.

My Take:

I reviewed the limited edition Cars Blu-ray Combo Pack Gift Set released in 2009 which other than the inclusion of the 3D version, an updated disc menu, and Dolby TrueHD versus uncompressed PCM sound (and minus the gift set collectibles) appears to be the same. Cars like many of the Disney/Pixar collaborations needs no introduction among fans and is a classic that is as heartwarming as it is fun. By 2006 we were already big fans of Disney/Pixar and looked forward to this one. We saw it with our children and of course loved it. I won’t go into a long breakdown of the story as there plenty of places to read about that. I have been asked which of the Disney/Pixar films I like the best. That is a tough question because they are all really great and my opinion seems to change. With Disney releasing them on Blu-ray I have been able to experience them in a new way and it seems like whenever I finish watching one I say to myself ‘this is my favorite’. The story isn’t complex as it draws definable boundaries while mixing in a heartwarming and exciting coming of age story. It is filled with well constructed characters, clever exposition, and intelligent direction that make it fun and memorable. The cast is wonderful as each has their moment to shine and does so with enthusiasm.

Cars has been available on Blu-ray since late 2007 with this being the third high definition release. As with the 2009 version included are the uniquely interactive features “Cine-Explore,” for the ultimate behind-the-scenes experience; “Car Finder,” an immersive game in which viewers can discover hundreds of "Car-acters”; Deleted Scenes; Radiator Springs Featurettes and Movie Showcase.

I really enjoy Cars! It’s sends a positive message built around a story that resonates with both young and adult audiences (especially those that have an appreciation for Nascar!). The three disc set comes in the traditional Blu-ray slim profile case with matching slipcover.

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all ages.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 96

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

3D Presentation: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Depth (Onscreen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dimension (Beyond the screen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Realism: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Cars 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 1.7 Mbps.

So far the majority of 3D converted films that have come to Blu-ray from Disney have proven surprisingly good and Cars keeps the streak alive with this rewarding 3D presentation. The animated elements retain much of their 2D splendor and look terrific especially in terms of delineation and contrast. Detail is well preserved as the image retains its high level of clarity as objects within the frame are refined and sharp. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by the notable separation of objects/characters layered in the foreground/background. There isn’t a consistent array of pop out of the screen effects but there are instances where objects extended beyond the screen to create an entertaining and virtual sense of dimensionality. This revolves primarily around the more active scenes, the opening car racing segment is a good example and includes flying debris, race cars roaring past the field level camera, and protruding objects. Comparing color reproduction to the 2D presentation I saw no discernible difference. I didn’t notice any distracting signs of ghosting/crosstalk and found this to be a complimentary 3D experience.

The previous Blu-ray releases of Cars contained lossless 5.1 channel PCM soundtracks. Here we get a Dolby TrueHD encoding which utilizes the same mix and yields the same results. The soundtrack is a real treat that makes use of the entire system to create a truly theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated so that sound effects literally traverse the room. Surround activity is abundant and immersive as both directional and spatial information mixed to the rear channels weaves an enveloping pattern of sound. Dynamics are energetic and forceful which lends weight to the plethora of impact felt racing sequences featured in the movie. This is a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that can be felt throughout the listening area. Dialogue is rendered with aplomb and sonic details are refined and clearly articulated regardless of their position with the sound field. This is an encompassing and sophisticated surround mix that makes for a fun, involving and demonstration level home theater experience.

2D Video Quality:

Video: 100

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Cars is presented on Blu-ray disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 mbps.

As with the audio this appears to be the same video transfer found on the previous versions released on Blu-ray. This is a reference quality high definition presentation that has justifiably received praise for its gorgeous image quality. Colors are rich, vibrant, well balanced and visually stimulating. Blacks are stable, with ink like depth, and visible gradational stages. Lighter segments look great but darker ones mixed with lighter onscreen elements is where this presentation excels. The nighttime scene at the beginning of chapter 29 when Lightning McQueen leaves Radiator Springs for LA provides a great example of this. This segment looks stunning as the wide array of bright, crisp colors within the neon lighting/cars within the frame popped against the contrasted and deep dynamic black of the sky background. White and black levels are stable and strike a wonderful balance that highlight the multi-layered grays and delineated whites within the video. Crisp definition and razor sharp focus allow all of the texture, subtle delineation and high resolution inherent in this digitally created film to be fully realized. This is a marvelous and pristinely rendered presentation that truly capable of outstanding video quality.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:

  • 3D Blu-ray – Cars

  • Disc 2:

  • 2D Blu-ray – Cars (plus bonus features):

  • (HD) Movie showcase – Filmmakers chosen scenes (4) to highlight the high definition audio/video

  • Cinexplore – Documentary shorts (33 minutes total) :
    1. Radiator Springs -
    2. Character design
    3. Animation and acting
    4. Real world racing: Getting geeky with the details
    5. Hudson hornet
    6. Graphics
    7. Darrell Waltrip museum tour
  • The inspiration for Cars: featurette 16 minutes

  • 5 Deleted scenes

  • (HD) Mater and the ghostlight – 7 minute short

  • (HD) One man band – 4 minute short

  • Boundin’ Cars – 1 minute short

  • (HD) Epilogue – 4 minutes

  • Car finder – Interactive game

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

This marks the third release of Cars on Blu-ray and for me, as with most Disney/Pixar films, watching it never gets old. It is a marvelous family film that has an endearing charm and entertaining story that people of all ages can appreciate. Going into this review of its 3D converted video I kept my expectations in check but am happy to report that the experience was not only excellent but enhanced my enjoyment of the film. In addition its 2D high definition audio/video are reference quality which fall in line with the type of technically proficient Blu-ray offerings we have come to expect from Disney. This Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes previously released extras along with the new 3D version of the film. If you have a 3D capable setup or might be considering the move to 3D in the future (and don’t already own Cars on Blu-ray) this release is a no brainer. Otherwise there is nothing new contained here that can’t be found on the Cars Blu-ray/DVD Combo release. Either way if you’re a Cars fan, pick it up on Blu-ray.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviewer
My Home Theater
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 11:48 PM
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All be darn. I had no idea that Cars was getting the 3D treatment. Thats cool. Its hard to justify re-buying this one since I already own it. But I usually give in, especially being a big Pixar fan. Thanks for the review Ralph.

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-22-2013, 05:30 PM
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Yep, gonna buy this one when it's out. Sold the 2D BD version a few weeks ago and thatt'll offset the cost of the 3D one a bit so day one for me here.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-23-2013, 10:29 AM
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Thx for the review.

I have to agree, it is pretty hard to name the top Pixar. If I were forced to do so, my list would go like this:

The Incredibles
A Bug's Life
Finding Nemo
Toy Story
Monsters University
Monsters Inc.
Toy Story 3
Cars 2
Toy Story 2
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-24-2013, 02:47 PM
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Great review, Ralph! Thanks a bunch! Go 3D! cool.gif
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-02-2013, 09:39 PM
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Watched part of the BD and was checking out the bonus materials and noticed that the classic Cine-explore feature was put under Games. Kind of an odd choice. It should have been under Special Features, IMO.

BTW, the 3D looks awesome!!
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