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Cars 2

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Cars 2 UHD upgrade adds dazzle and depth, with a solid Atmos soundtrack, recommended despite being Pixar's weakest.

    Cars 2 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Cars 2 UHD presents refined HDR colors and slightly sharper details than Blu-ray, with improved night and daylight scenes but not a dramatic leap in quality.

  • Audio
  • Cars 2's UHD Dolby Atmos track delivers an invigorating, detailed audio experience, with palpable energy in races, clear dialogue, and a dynamic, hemispheric soundscape that immerses viewers in action.

  • Extra
  • Cars 2's UHD release lacks extras, but bundled Blu-rays offer legacy content and a digital code. Features include directors' commentary, shorts, and a peek at Cars Land; however, it falls short on new bonuses.

  • Movie
  • Cars 2 UHD release brings 2160p/HDR and Dolby Atmos but no new extras. Critically, it's Pixar's weakest, criticized for its focus on Mater and a preachy, convoluted plot.

    Video: 78

    The "Cars 2" 4K UHD Blu-ray delivers a visual upgrade that, while not groundbreaking, presents a noticeable refinement over its high-definition predecessor. With the film encoded in HEVC H.265 from a 2K digital intermediate then upscaled, the jump in clarity and resolution is modest but appreciable. Viewers will find a slightly sharper presentation, particularly in the detailing of cars, racetracks, and environmental textures, from the polished sheen of vehicle bodies to the minute imperfections and characteristics of European architecture. The true power of this presentation, however, lies in its HDR10 color grading, which brings out a broader and more vibrant color palette. The expansiveness of the night sky in early sequences and the richness of Radiator Springs' daylit vistas underscore a naturalistic depth and intensity in colors, be it the deep blues of clear skies or the vivid saturation of car paintworks across a diverse color spectrum.

    Despite its enhancements, the 4K UHD release doesn't entirely transcend its source material limitations. The original elements only allow for a limited increase in detail; thus, some instances of mild aliasing are present but do not detract significantly from the overall experience. The representation benefits immensely from HDR's enhanced contrast and brightness levels, making whites crisper and blacks deeper and more nuanced. Specular highlights and reflective surfaces on cars and scenery exhibit a gleaming, lively quality that outshines the previous Blu-ray edition. These improvements lend a perceptibly more three-dimensional feel to the image.

    Ultimately, while "Cars 2" in 4K UHD may not dazzle with a radical overhaul, it undoubtedly sharpens and enriches the viewing experience through superior color handling and slight improvements in definition. The enhanced contrast and luminosity bring a fresh vivacity to the film's animated world. Fans and first-time viewers alike will appreciate this version for its refined visuals that profile every detail—from the gleaming car finishes to the individual stones in quaint European towns—with enhanced clarity and a lush palette that breathes new life into the film’s dynamic settings.

    Audio: 88

    The audio presentation of "Cars 2" on 4K UHD delivered via its Dolby Atmos track is nothing short of spectacular, setting a high benchmark for home cinema experiences. From the get-go, the soundtrack thrives on its ability to maintain clarity and detail at elevated volumes, creating an immersive auditory environment that does justice to the film's dynamic range. The mix excels in spreading music and effects across the soundscape, utilizing the surrounds and overheads to produce an atmosphere filled with vigor. Notably, the engine sounds exhibit a raw, throaty quality that brings the high-speed races to life, enabling viewers to almost feel the power and velocity reverberating through their space. This meticulous engineering ensures that each moment of vehicular action is captured with a level of sonic precision that enhances the viewing experience manifold.

    Subtler ambient effects and a well-implemented score further enhance the Dolby Atmos track's capability to expand the soundfield, creating a hemispheric soundscape that engulfs the listener. The opening action sequence, for instance, immediately immerses one into the heart of the action, with debris and noise dynamically moving through the surround channels, echoing off the ceiling speakers. This effect continues throughout, with ambient sounds and musical scores bleeding above, enveloping the listener in a half-dome of auditory delight. The soundstage feels spacious and continuously expansive, effectively handling everything from crowd cheers to explosions with a finesse that maintains a superb distinction and separation in the mid-range coupled with acoustical detailing in the score.

    The bass is robust and responsive, lending palpable weight to explosions and an appreciable depth to music tracks. Dialogue remains crystal clear and well-prioritized across the board, even amidst cacophonous sequences, showcasing the soundtrack’s attention to detail in vocal clarity. Overall, the object-based mix not only serves as a fun, engaging upgrade but also stands as a testament to the capabilities of Dolby Atmos in enhancing cinematic storytelling through superior sound design.

    Extra: 63

    The "Cars 2" 4K UHD Blu-ray itself may lack direct extras, but compensates with a comprehensive inclusion of legacy content across two Blu-ray discs, thereby ensuring fans aren't left in the dust. This package, adorned with an embossed slipcover and equipped with a Movies Anywhere digital copy code, bridges the gap between format advancement and content retention. The first Blu-ray disc offers an engaging audio commentary by Directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis, alongside shorts "Hawaiian Vacation" and "Air Mater." The second disc embarks on a global tour with in-depth explorations of iconic locations from the film, such as Radiator Springs and Tokyo, providing a unique behind-the-scenes look into the movie's creation. Plus, a sneak peek into "Cars Land" offers a tantalizing glimpse for fans. This deliberate curation ensures that while the presentation evolves, the rich narrative and contextual extras hold true to the franchise's legacy.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary: An insightful commentary track by Directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis.

    Hawaiian Vacation: A delightful short featuring the beloved characters.

    Air Mater: Another engaging short film set in the Cars universe.

    The Pacific, Emeryville, Radiator Springs, London, Paris, Munich, Prague, Porta Corsa, Tokyo: A series of behind-the-scenes looks at the various real-world inspirations for the film's locations.

    Sneak Peek: The Nuts & Bolts of Cars Land: An exclusive preview of the Cars-themed area at Disney California Adventure Park.

    Movie: 68

    Disney and Pixar's "Cars 2" makes a grand entrance into the 4K UHD world, boasting an impressive technical upgrade with a 2160p/HDR video presentation and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, bringing this 2011 sequel to life with striking clarity and immersive audio. While the film itself received a mixed reception upon its initial release, the visual and audio enhancements of this edition aim to revitalize the experience for fans and newcomers alike. However, it's notable that this Ultra HD release does not include any new bonus content, instead packaging the original Blu-ray extras, which remain unchanged from the 2011 Blu-ray 3-D release.

    "Cars 2" embarks on an ambitious globe-trotting adventure with its beloved cast of anthropomorphic vehicles, though it diverts from its predecessor's charm by sidelining Lightning McQueen in favor of Mater's less compelling espionage subplot. The film ambitiously tackles themes of friendship, espionage, and the potential of alternative fuels, yet its execution leans towards the overt and preachy, undermining the subtlety and wit expected from Pixar. Despite featuring top-notch voice talents such as Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer, and delivering several visually spectacular set pieces, the sequel struggles to maintain the narrative drive and emotional depth that characterized its forerunner, landing it as one of Pixar's less celebrated outings.

    The transition to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray gifts "Cars 2" with a fresh opportunity to captivate audiences through enhanced visual and audio quality. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment ensures that enthusiasts can enjoy this cinematic experience in the highest fidelity, including access to a 4K digital version in Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Atmos audio for digital redemption. Despite the film's narrative misfires, this release underscores Disney and Pixar’s commitment to technological excellence, aiming to elevate "Cars 2" beyond its initial reception with a richer sensory experience.

    Total: 75

    Cars 2," while not Pixar's strongest outing in their illustrious lineup of animated wonders, makes a noteworthy entry into the 4K UHD market. The transition from the standard Blu-ray to 4K UHD brings with it a palette of enhanced colors that introduces a new layer of depth and vibrancy, elevating the visual experience despite a mild improvement in textures. The accompanying Dolby Atmos soundtrack shines, particularly at higher volumes, immersing viewers in Pixar's animated world with precision and clarity. However, it's important to note that the UHD disc does not offer any exclusive supplementary content, relying on the included pair of 1080p Blu-ray discs for extras.

    Despite its position as arguably the least favored Pixar film, "Cars 2" still manages to exceed expectations set by the average CGI animation, thanks largely to its meticulously crafted action sequences and an intriguing espionage storyline that features Mater in a heroically comedic light. The 4K HDR10 presentation of the film is nothing short of stunning, providing a significant visual upgrade over the Blu-ray release that fans of the franchise and 4K enthusiasts will appreciate. This leap in quality, paired with a robust Dolby Atmos track, underscores the film's high-octane moments and intricate sound design.

    In conclusion, "Cars 2" on 4K UHD is a solid acquisition for collectors and fans alike, offering a discernible improvement in visual quality that complements its thrilling narrative and dynamic sound design. While the movie may not reside at the pinnacle of Pixar's achievements, this release reinforces its entertainment value through enhanced picture and sound, making it a recommended addition to any 4K library. The absence of new extras is a minor quibble in what is otherwise a worthy upgrade for enhancing one's home viewing experience.