Saturday 26 November 2011

Cars 2 Blu-ray Review

This may be old news to those of you in America, but Cars 2 was only recently (Monday in fact) released on DVD and Blu-ray over here in the UK and I picked up my copy today, and thought it a good idea to pen my thoughts on the overall quality of the product; the film, the picture, the sound, the features and more.

Now, I won't get too bogged down with talking about the overall quality of the film - read my review of the film if that's what you're after -, however, what I will say of the film is what I said at the time, do not be fooled by the bad reviews, Cars 2 is a damned good film and, perhaps more importantly, Pixar are still to produce a disappointing film. Sure, it didn't have the same emotion or character depth as some of Pixar's more acclaimed classics, but it was fun and warm hearted and, as I said at the time "anyone going into Cars 2 expecting the emotional resonance or poignancy of Toy Story 3 or of Up is, simply put, an idiot. Enjoy Cars 2 for what it is, a rollicking, fast paced, enjoyable and genuinely great spy film that, if anything, marks a definitive improvement on the original.", basically, don't review Cars 2 comparatively, but, rather, on its own individual merits; it's such a fun film. Furthermore, with absence grows fondness, as, after only watching Cars 2 once in cinemas (compared to four times with Toy Story 3), I enjoyed Cars 2 even more than the first time when I watched it back on Blu-ray.

So, getting onto the crux of this review, the actual package; I bought Cars 2 on Blu-ray (although it was a perplexing case, as, rather than selling the normal old Double Play - which is what I'd normally spring for - the Blu-rays were being sold and inside the box was a code that enables you to send off for a complimentary copy of Cars 2 on DVD, it's just weird. I assume Disney think, because some people'll be too lazy to send off for the DVD, that they'll save money making them) and was blown away by the sheer quality of the picture. Cars 2 was a gorgeous film when I saw it in cinemas, but it looks absolutely breathtaking on Blu-ray, the three main different locales of the film, Japan, Italy and England, each have their own charm and every single detail, from Lightning's bonnet to the furthest away, minuscule background item were superbly animated and designed. Pixar has long been leading the computer animation industry, basically because they invented it, and it shows due to the brilliance and gorgeousness of this film, from the glint of the runway in Japan to the sparkle of the river in Porto Corsa, the animation was top notch throughout and was only enhanced by the HD visuals.

In terms of sound, it is brilliant. The superb sound quality is utterly immersive, from the way it quietens and mellows out in the film's sombre, tender, emotional scenes, to the way it booms and crescendos in the high-octane fight and race scenes. Furthermore, Michael Giacchino is, simply, a genius, all of his work at Pixar has been sublime, I love the score here in Cars 2 (kind of a hybrid of The Incredibles and James Bond) almost as much as his work on Up.

However, in terms of the quality of the bonus features, I was left unsatisfied. Blu-ray used to be the premier brand, now, however, Disney's trying to push everyone towards 3D (meaning we have to spend an extra few hundred pounds on a 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player to have to wear daft, darkening glasses to watch the films we've paid for), and the latest uncomfortable example of this is that all of the noteworthy bonus features for Cars 2 are only viewable if you buy the 3D Blu-ray copy. The regular old Blu-ray copy sports only Hawaiian Vacation (which is still as wonderful as it was alongside Cars 2 in cinemas), Air Mater (which was very funny and a nice way to link into Disneytoon Studios's Planes - if a bit less impressively animated) and director's commentary. This is incredibly lacking and left me rather disheartened.

Nonetheless, Cars 2 was a great film, it's in great quality here and the attached shorts are sure to bring a smile to your face, while the lacking bonus features may aggravate you somewhat (it annoyed me to no end), it's still a good buy this holiday season, and, in addition to a 9/10 film score, I'd give the Blu-ray copy of Cars 2 an 8/10 for the overall product.

Want to find out for yourself? You can order Cars 2 on Blu-ray by clicking above (UK link).

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