Cars appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Like all its Pixar predecessors, Cars offered an absolutely excellent visual experience.
Sharpness seemed immaculate. If any problems occurred, I didn’t see them. I thought the movie looked consistently crisp and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no signs of edge enhancement. Source flaws also were absent, as the film showed no marks of any sort.
Cars went with a very vivid palette that the DVD replicated well. The tones always came across as dynamic and lively, as the disc showed excellent color accuracy. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed clear and appropriately visible. This was a simply outstanding transfer that lacked any flaws.
While not quite as terrific as the visuals, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Cars also worked well. With only one slight exception, the soundfield was quite effective. Lots of localized speech occurred, most of which seemed well-placed. A few lines from the left lacked great delineation, but those were exceptions, as most of the dialogue was appropriately located.
Effects always seemed accurately placed, and the meshed together neatly. This was an active mix that used all five speakers to good advantage. This was particularly evident in the racing scenes, but other sequences added good kick and action across the various channels. The movie made nice use of the environment to create a vivid setting.
Audio quality was solid. Speech seemed natural and concise, with no edginess or other problems. Music sounded lively and dynamic, while effects were consistently accurate and vivid. Bass response was low and firm. Despite the minor distractions from the occasionally mushy localization of dialogue, I thought the audio of Cars succeeded.
Unlike prior Pixar DVDs, Cars skimps on extras. We find two separate shorts. A new one called Mater and the Ghostlight fills seven minutes and eight seconds. It stars the movie’s lovable tow truck as he plays practical jokes on the other residents of Radiator Springs and then gets his comeuppance. It’s not a classic, but it’s an entertaining little piece.
The second short ran prior to theatrical screenings of Cars. One Man Band lasts four minutes, 32 seconds, and shows a heated competition between two street musicians as they vie for the donation of a little girl. This one proves mighty amusing.
Under the “Bonus Features” banner, we get a four-minute and 17-second Epilogue. This lets us see the animated elements from the end credits without the text. I like this feature since it allows us to get a clearer view of the material.
The Inspiration for Cars runs 16 minutes and two seconds as it features movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We hear from director John Lasseter, author/speaker Michael Wallis, co-director Joe Ranft, barber Angel Valades Delgadillo, Lasseter’s father Paul, racecar driver Jerry Nadeau, Infineon Raceway president/general manager Steve Page, broadcaster Darrell Waltrip, self-appointed Mayor of Redneck Hill “The Real Mater”, Lowe’s Motor Speedway president/GM Humpy Wheeler, racing legend Tim Flock’s son Don, Speedway Motorsports Inc.’s John Zudell and Randy Wray, and racing legend Richard Petty.
“Inspiration” looks at research behind the movie. We see how the Pixar folks learned about Route 66 and NASCAR. We also learn a lot about the personal influences that affected Lasseter. While “Inspiration” doesn’t substitute for a full “Making Of” documentary, it offers a nice taste of the factors that were behind the film.
Four Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 10 minutes, 33 seconds. These include “Top Down Truck Stop” (3:51), “Lost” (1:44), “Community Service” (3:15) and “Motorama Girls” (1:43). “Truck Stop” offers an alternate way for Mack and Lightning to separate, while “Lost” finds him spooked in a car graveyard. Dream sequence “Service” transforms Lightning into a steamroller and “Girls” shows us how Flo and Ramone became a couple. All of these appear via storyreels that combine filmed art and audio. The four are quite interesting and fun to see.
A few ads open the DVD. We find promos for Ratatouille, Peter Pan and Meet the Robinsons. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with ads for the Cars video game and Disney’s Blu-ray releases.
Pixar continues their incredible winning streak with the delightful Cars. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, this one turns out to be a consistent joy. The DVD lacks many extras, but it gives us excellent picture and audio. I definitely regard this fun movie.