You’ve got to admire Pixar for refusing to simply retread the original Cars tires, but the James Bond-style spy thriller that is Cars 2 suffers from too many moving parts. Characters and plot points pile up rapidly, especially in contrast to the sweet simplicity of the earlier film. The story, which sends Lightning McQueen and Mater across the globe as McQueen competes in a three-part international race while both characters fend off bad guys, does allow the wizards at Pixar to work their Cars-ification of London, Tokyo, and other familiar locales, with spectacular results. It will take half a dozen viewings to process this visual bounty, all of which is rendered in mind-boggling depth and detail on Blu-ray. In fact, you won’t even need the Blu-ray 3D disc of the Combo Pack to enjoy these images, which often appear to be three-dimensional on their own. The sound design is almost as remarkable, though the surprising high point occurs during the closing credits as Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams serve up some choice cuts in a spacious and effective surround mix. Extras are solid but mostly exclusive to the Combo Pack (which, besides the Blu-ray 3D, offers the movie via Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy). Two segments focusing on real-life classic cars that provided inspiration for the movies are by far the most fun. The 3D short Air Mater was created especially for this package.
Video: 1080p, 2.39:1. Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. Extras: commentary by directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis; two shorts (Air Mater and Hawaiian Vacation); nine featurette stops around the world; “Sneak Peek: The Nuts & Bolts of Cars Land.”