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John Lasseter, Joe Ranft
Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt
Writing Credits:
Dan Fogelman, John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, Kiel Murray, Phil Lorin, Jorgen Klubien

A hot-shot race-car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family.

Box Office:
$120 million.
Opening Weekend
$60,119,509 on 3985 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated G.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD HR 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date:9/10/2019

• Cine-Explore Interactive Feature
• “Carfinder” Game
• “Mater and the Ghostlight” Short
• “One Man Band” Short
• “Epilogue”
• “The Inspiration for Cars” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Radiator Springs Featurettes
• Sneak Peeks
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Cars [4K UHD] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 15, 2023)

A continuation of Pixar’s animated domination in its era, 2006’s Cars introduces us to Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), a rising star on the racing circuit. On the way to a big competition in California, he falls out of his tractor-trailer and ends up stuck in Radiator Springs, a burg bypassed by the rest of the world.

Lightning accidentally grinds up the town’s main street, so as punishment, Judge Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) requires him to repave the road. Lightning greatly resents these impediments, but he doesn’t have much choice.

Stuck in the sleepy burg, he gets to know the residents and starts to grow attached to them. These include retired racer Doc, one-time hotshot lawyer Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), and tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). The film follows Lightning’s interactions with them as well as his attempts to get to the big race.

Sure, Cars gives us a story that borrows liberally from 1991’s Doc Hollywood. Sure, it occasionally seems more preoccupied with product placement and shiny visuals than story and personality. Sure, a lot of the characters suffer from fairly lackluster development.

All of those things occur to the viewer only after the screen goes dark, and even then, they don’t provoke any angst. As Cars runs, it offers so much entertainment and razzle-dazzle that these minor flaws fall by the wayside. This is a bright and delightful piece of work.

Cars was the first flick in seven years to feature Pixar head honcho John Lasseter as director. He helmed the studio’s first three big screen offerings: 1995’s Toy Story, 1998’s A Bug’s Life and 1999’s Toy Story 2. Others took on the next three efforts before Lasseter finally returned for this, the studio’s seventh movie.

When compared to the other Pixar flicks, Cars probably most closely resembles A Bug’s Life. That one also borrowed heavily from the story of another film – Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai - but it was so entertaining that I didn’t care.

The same holds true for Cars. One could easily nitpick and find flaws in this flick.

In addition to the plot it borrows from Doc Hollywood, no one will claim that any of the characters stand out as particularly original. They’re pretty stock personalities without elements that make them especially creative.

Nonetheless, they come across as likable and winning. Pixar sure scores some points with the presence of Paul Newman as crusty old Doc Hudson.

Newman didn’t act much during the years prior to his death, but it clearly wasn’t because he lost his touch. He brings the right touch of gruffness measured with warmth and authority to the part. Newman scores the needed laughs but manages to offer a nicely three-dimensional turn.

All the other actors do fine as well, and we even find a pleasant surprise. I scoffed when I saw that “lowest-common-denominator comedian” Larry the Cable Guy would appear in the film, but he offers a pretty funny performance as Mater.

Larry channels the late Jim Varney – a Pixar fave who died in 2000 – but manages to come across as more than just an imitator. Mater becomes a likable and fun character due to Larry’s solid work.

In the end, I don’t want to spend too much time on a discussion of Cars just because it’s not a film that holds up to great scrutiny. Regard this as a movie for which the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. One could easily pick it apart, but why bother when you can have so much fun instead?

Footnote: be sure to stay all the way through the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio A/ Bonus A

Cars appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. No concerns affected this terrific presentation.

Sharpness seemed strong. If any problems occurred, I didn’t see them, as 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 haloes. Source flaws also were absent, as the film showed no marks of any sort.

Cars went with a vivid palette that the disc replicated well. The tones always came across as dynamic and lively, as the disc showed excellent color accuracy. HDR added impact and range to the hues.

Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed clear and appropriately visible. HDR brought power and dimensionality to whites and contrast. This was an outstanding transfer that lacked any problems.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Cars also worked very well. The soundfield felt quite effective.

Lots of localized speech occurred, all of which seemed well-spotted. Effects always seemed accurately placed, and the meshed together neatly.

This was an active mix that used all the 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. I thought the audio of Cars succeeded.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio offered a mild expansion on the existing 5.1 track – and it tightened up a little loosely localized dialogue.

The 4K’s visuals kicked an already strong image up a notch, as it boasted superior delineation, blacks and colors. As great as the Blu-ray looked, it didn’t dazzle to the same degree as this impressive 4K.

For those equipped, matters complicate due to the existence of a 3D Blu-ray for Cars. Does the 4K top the 3D?

In terms of picture quality, yes, but the 3D compensates with a terrific sense of depth. I find it a toss-up between the two, as fans can’t go wrong with either the 3D or the 4K.

All the set’s extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy, and for the biggest attraction, we get Cine-Explore. This presents two separate audio commentaries, and the first comes from director John Lasseter.

He provides a running, screen-specific look at the film’s origins, inspirations and development, story areas, characters and their design, influences, cast and performances, research, music and other aspects of the film.

I suppose it’s possible Lasseter will someday deliver a bad commentary, but Cars doesn’t mark that occasion. Instead, the director offers a truly delightful, all-encompassing look at the movie.

He gets into personal stories that add relate to the flick as well as the usual nuts and bolts. From start to finish, Lasseter delves into the film in an engaging, informative manner that makes this a winning chat.

For the second commentary, we hear from story artists Dan Scanlon, Steve Purcell, directing animators Bobby Podesta and Jim Murphy, supervising animators Scott Clark and Doug Sweetland, production designers Bob Pauley and Bob Cone, shading art director Tia Kratter, director of photography Jean-Claude Kalache, supervising technical director Eben Ostby, character supervisor Tim Milliron, and set supervisor Sophie Vincelette.

Some of them sit together and chat, but with so many participants, obviously they can’t all be in the same place at the same time or chaos would ensue. They go over animation and technical areas, research and influences, story and character issues, design topics, deleted and altered sequences, and other production elements.

Though not quite as delightful as Lasseter’s piece, this big team of commentators gives us a good look at Cars. I feared that it’d be a dry recitation of nerdy details, but it broadens into something much more engaging than that.

The commentary delivers a good mix of the creative and the technical, and I especially like info about story issues. Only a few pieces repeat from Lasseter’s track, so this one stands very well on its own.

“Cine-Explore” adds art and photos as the film progresses. These reflect the content of the commentaries. We see concept art for characters and other early designs as well as photos of cast and crew. Branching video featurettes and deleted scenes also appear; I’ll discuss them in a separate area.

“Cine-Explore” option adds a little kick to the standard commentary. It certainly isn’t revolutionary, but it gives you a bit more content as you watch.

This is a nice touch. I tape commentaries and listen to them elsewhere, partially because it’s more efficient, but also because it’s so dull to stare at the screen as you check out a commentary. Cine-Explore provides added material that brings a bit more flair and involvement to the usual film discussion.

Disney discs love games, so we locate one here: Carfinder. As the movie plays, it requires you to identify various vehicles. Maybe someone else will find fun here, but I think it seems tedious and unenjoyable.

We find two separate shorts, and Mater and the Ghostlight fills seven minutes, nine 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.

We also get a four-minute, 19-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.

Boundin’ Cars offers a 46-second clip. It pairs the song from the 2004 short Boundin’ with shots of bouncy Mater. I don’t know what purpose it serves, as it seems pretty pointless.

Inspiration for Cars runs 16 minutes, 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.

The Blu-ray adds one additional Deleted Scene not on the DVD. “Traffic School” goes for three minutes, 27 seconds and shows McQueen’s efforts to become “street legal”.

It’s another enjoyable clip. I can’t say it should’ve made the final cut, but it’s a nice clip.

We also find some Radiator Springs Featurettes. These are the clips that appear during “Cine-Explore”. We discover “Radiator Springs” (5:25), “Character Design” (6:06), “Animation and Acting” (5:16), “Real World Racing: Getting Geeky With the Details” (5:30), “Hudson Hornet” (2:44), “Graphics” (3:34) and “Darrell Waltrip Museum Tour” (7:13).

Across these, we hear from Lasseter, Kalache, Cone, Pauley, Kratter, Clark, Sweetland, Murphy, Podesta, Zudell, Page, Wheeler, Waltrip, character modeler/animator Andrew H. Schmidt, character lead Colin Thompson, art coordinator Jay Ward, race sequence editor Steve Schaffer, Fox Sports director Artie Kempner, Hudson Hornet enthusiast Dave Bonbright, character and environment designer Jay Shuster, graphic designer Ellen Moon Lee, and graphic designer Craig Foster.

The programs cover story/character areas, set/location and car design, visual/color choices, animation and art, vehicle-related authenticity, and a look at the Darrell Waltrip Museum.

Given all the info found elsewhere, it becomes inevitable that a little bit of redundancy will occur. Nonetheless, the featurettes offer a mix of good details. They cover a nice variety of subjects in a satisfying manner.

A few ads open the disc. We find promos for Enchanted, WALL-E, Meet the Robinsons, and Ratatouille. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with ads for the Cars video game and Disney’s Blu-ray releases.

Pixar continued their incredible winning streak with the delightful Cars. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, this one turns out to be a consistent joy. The 4K UHD provides excellent picture and audio as well as a terrific set of bonus materials. I continue to enjoy Cars and this becomes a great release for it.

To rate this film, visit the original review of CARS