OT: Just saw Cars on Blu-Ray... now *THIS* is what high-definition should look like!



I just posted the following review to Amazon.com. I'm kind of curious
what anyone here who has seen the Blu-Ray version of the movie thinks
about it. It's by far my favorite high-definition disc without a
doubt. Simply amazing.

==============================

When I first heard about Cars, I didn't think much of it. I always
loved Pixar's movies but I couldn't really see what they were trying
to accomplish with a movie where there wasn't a single humanoid to be
found anywhere. Plus, I thought another "talking cars" property would
be as stupid as all the other ones. I didn't see or read much about
the movie in the months leading to its release in theaters and so
didn't have a whole lot of reason to expect a lot from the movie,
which I was going to see almost out of duty (both because my younger
cousins were in town and because it was a Pixar film).

After the credits rolled, I knew I had just watched my second favorite
Pixar film and one of my top 10 Disney films of all time. I still like
Finding Nemo the best because it has a more emotional and universal
moral component to it. I also happen to think that Ratatouille is a
better "film" in general but I had a LOT more fun watching Cars. Like
with Finding Nemo, I can watch this movie over and over again and not
get tired of it. It may have to do with the inner child in me - my
young nephew can't get enough of Cars and Finding Nemo but isn't
nearly as impressed with The Incredibles and Ratatouille, two films my
wife and friends like more.

I liken Cars to Shrek in the sense that there's always something
interesting going on in the background if you care to look past the
core of what's happening. The world in which Lightning McQueen and
Mater live is cleverly designed to be almost exactly like ours would
be if there all organic life forms were replaced with motorized
vehicles. Even many parts of the landscape are shaped like vehicles in
much the same way we sometimes think that a mountain or tree kind of
looks like the side of someone's face. And many aspects of the world
are dealt with in the clever manner we've come to expect from the
geniuses at Pixar - insects are VW Beetles, Lighting McQueen's two
biggest fans love to flash their headlights (quite literally, for
those of you with your mind in the gutter) and the racing commentators
are named Bob Cutlass and Darryl Cartrip.

While the general premise of the story is nothing new and fairly basic
- a hot shot rookie race car concerned only with himself ends up in a
long forgotten midwest town where the locals help him learn to enjoy
life and care about something greater than oneself - the movie is
immensely fun to watch, thanks mostly to the personality quirks of the
citizens (specifically a run down tow truck with a good soul) of
Radiator Springs, "the cutest little town in Carburetor County." It's
always a joy to watch McQueen discover that there's more to life than
fame and money.

If the movie being great wasn't enough, this particular Blu-Ray disc
also boasts the hands-down best video quality I've seen in any high-
definition disc. This is the first movie I've seen where I can say
that if you haven't seen it in high-definition, you haven't seen it at
all. CGI movies tend to have really impressive transfers because the
studios can use masters stored digitally instead of on film, but Cars
outshines all others... and it's not a photo finish by a long shot.
There are tons of little details that I didn't even see when I saw it
on the big screen a year and a half ago. One perfect example is
Lightning McQueen's paint job. Before I watched the Blu-Ray disc last
night (Christmas Day), I didn't know that there were all these little
sparkles in the paint similar to the "jewel" or "pearl" type colors
you see for new car models these days (if you've seen the red 2008
Saturn Outlook, you'll know what I mean). My jaw simply dropped when I
noticed that because it was just a completel revelation to me, all
thanks to Blu-Ray (and my television is just 1080i).

Another impressive thing about this disc is the "Car Finder"
interactive movie game, a first of this kind on any home movie format.
When you play this game, a special little heads-up graphical user
interface comes on over the movie which shows your score, what cars to
look for and how many you've missed so far. The premise of the game is
that you basically keep an eye out for specific cars shown at the
bottom of the screen. If you see one in any particular scene of the
movie, you hit an action button on your remote control and a new car
to look for pops up in its place. Even better, every car you find is
added to a huge showcase gallery that has a close-up image of the car,
the scene in which the car appeared and an audio background biography
of the character (you can now find out what the actual name of the
Apple-sponsored car in the opening Dinoco 400 race is). The only
annoying aspect is that the normal controls for the movie (pause,
stop, skip, etc.) are disabled - the only way to get out of the movie
is to hit the "Pop-up Menu" button.

All in all, this is hands-down the best and most impressive high-
definition release so far (this is coming from a staunch HD-DVD
supporter). I cannot recommend this movie highly enough unless you
either just didn't like this movie or aren't a fan of "kids'" movies
in the first place. Otherwise, if you own a Blu-Ray player, do
yourself a service and purchase Cars today... or even better, buy a
Blu-Ray player to enjoy this movie in a whole new way!
.