Cars 3 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that CARS 2 is the most critically maligned Pixar movie to date and when it arrived to such disdain, it was the first sign that as great as Pixar is, even they have to pay the bills every now and again. And so the Cars franchise died almost as fast as it started…or so we thought. Flash forward a few years and Pixar announces the start of CARS 3 and everyone assumed it would be another cash grab so the company could sell toys. But it turns out that CARS 3 is actually more on par with the original film, telling a nice story and invoking the emotions you’ve come to expect from a Pixar film. And it didn’t hurt that there’s no mention whatsoever of anything that happened in CARS 2.
CARS 3 finds Lightning McQueen as a seasoned veteran of the racing circuit, enjoying his run as one of the most successful racecars in the world. But halfway through the season, the rookie Jackson Storm comes on the scene and while feeling the pressure to keep up, McQueen pushes himself too far and ends up suffering a devastating wreck. After recovering in Radiator Springs, McQueen decides to keep on racing. The new owner of Rusteeze puts him with Cruz Ramirez, a trainer determined to get McQueen back to the top. But their different ideas on training lead Cruz and Lightning to seek out new methods and resources, but still sharing the goal of beating Jackson Storm.
I imagine most of the fathers watching CARS 3 found the film more relatable than their kids. It’s tough when you realize you’re getting old and essentially, that’s what the film is about. We witness McQueen come to the realization that he can’t do the things he used to and he can’t keep up with the younger, faster cars. That’s actually a pretty deep and powerful theme, especially when you consider the previous Cars film had an entire scene dedicated to Mater going to the bathroom. The underlying desperation of Lightning trying to keep racing casts a somewhat dark shadow over the film, but it never gets bogged down by it.
Themes aside, CARS 3 is also a pretty fun movie more kids and adults alike. My kids thoroughly enjoyed watching Cruz and Lightning escape the wrath of Ms. Fritter and racecar fans will appreciate the realism in the racing scenes. CARS 3 has some humorous moments, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is a funny film. Mater only makes a cameo appearance, which is great for the adults, but it will take away some laughs from the kids. And when it comes to kids, I think if they liked the first two, they’ll love this one.
I was surprised with CARS 3. My kids are the perfect age for the CARS movies and so I felt forced to watch it, but I think I might have enjoyed it more than them. It’s a mistake to dismiss Pixar and with CARS 3, they prove that once again.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: CARS 3 is the first Pixar film to be released on 4K and the wait was well worth it. I’m guessing fans will be expecting a lot and they won’t be disappointed. The thing that stuck out to me while watching it on 4K were the reflections. In almost every scene, there’s some sort of reflection in all of the cars. I remember seeing bright spots or shadows, but I didn’t realize that Pixar actually took the time to show reflections in the paint, and thanks to the increased detail and HDR, I felt like I could see those reflections clearly. CARS 3 also looks great on Blu-ray, but on 4K, it’s at another level as every color looks vivid and clear. This is a great looking disc.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track is also quite impressive and all of the race scenes take full advantage of the surround speakers.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include the 2 disc Blu-ray set, which has the following special features:
Commentary with Brian Fee, Kevin Reher, Andrea Warren and Jay Ward: This group covers everything you’d want to know about the behind the scenes process of making CARS 3, including inspirations, the importance of the story and casting the voice actors.
Lou (6:43): This is another excellent Pixar short and yes, it will probably make you cry.
Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (2:48): Miss Fritter decides to go into the racing-teaching business. This is billed as a “short”, but it plays out more like an infomercial.
Ready for the Race (5:40): Race car driver William Byron talks about being a race car driver.
Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could (7:45): The biggest new character gets her own featurette.
Deleted Scenes (26:17): Five scenes total, with optional director introductions.
Behind the Scenes (41:11): Five featuretttes talk about various things Cars related. No mention of CARS 2, which is still funny to me. I enjoyed the last featurette titled “World’s Fastest Billboard” which talked about all the various fake brands in the film.
Fly Throughs: Three new settings get a quick overview.
My First Car (5:30): Three different segments look at the first cars of various cast and crew members.
Trailers and Promos