The story: Lightning McQueen is the it-and-a-bit anthropomorphic car star rookie of the Piston Cup. With a lucrative Dinoco sponsorship in the offing, the arrogant racer is as keen as every other driver to succeed. But when his transport truck, Mack, nods off on the way to the next big race, Lightning ends up taking a detour to the small town of Radiator Springs. Accidentally ripping up their road, he’s arrested and charged with fixing his mess before he can leave. After a first shoddy attempt, the townspeople – erm, town cars? – gradually grow on him and he on them, and McQueen learns a thing or three about friendship, racing and not being a dipstick…
“Luigi follow only the Ferraris.”
The 4K disc: Our hopes were high that the 4K Ultra HD format secret weapon for making animation pop would deliver here, and it has. Yes, we’re talking about HDR, and it brings out a gloss to Cars that was just never there on previous formats. The deep reds of McQueen and Mack are just one of the myriad gorgeous sights to behold. The racetracks look alive, and the desert environments and full-on daylight of Radiator Springs look simply splendid. While this is an upscaled 2K presentation, there are subtle extra details that come to the fore. So, when you have to watch this for the umpteenth time because your kids can happily watch it over and over (and over and over and…), at least you’ll know that it’ll look all purty like.
Things also sound very nice. Disney have served up a new Dolby Atmos mix, and while it needs an extra volume nudge like many of their 4K releases, it’s worth that knob twiddling/button stabbing effort. Thundering bass is present right from the outset, punctuating McQueen’s self-motivation exercises to almost startling effect, and appearing in all the right places throughout the movie. Surround use is super-fun, especially when race cars are zooming this way and that, while height channel usage expands the listening experience where appropriate.
This is a solo, movie-only 4K disc release.
Release date: October 2, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: The voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Paul Newman
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.