Cars 2: 2-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 29, 2011 by  

“Cars 2” is a fun family film with plenty of action and humor!  Sure, it doesn’t feature Lightning McQueen as the main character but I found the whole Mater spy action storyline to be quite entertaining and fun!   Also, he film looked absolutely incredible on Blu-ray!  The lossless audio was immersive and awesome!   I absolutely enjoyed this film!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Cars 2: 2-Disc Combo Pack


DURATION: 106 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio ES, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Near Field Mix 2.0, Subtitles: English SDH Subtitles, Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD HR, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX & Spanish Subtitles (US Only), French 7.1 DTS-HD HR, French 5.1 Dolby Digital EX & French

COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment


Release Date: November 1, 2011

Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis

Screenplay by Ben Queen

Story by John Lasseter, Brad Lewis and Dan Fogelman

Produced by Denise Ream

Music by Michael Giacchino

Edited by Stephen Schaffer

Art Direction by Jay Shuster

Featuring the Voices of:

Larry the Cable Guy as Mater

Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen

Michael Caine as Finn McMissile

Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell

Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axelrod

John Turturro as Francesco Bernouli

Bret Musburger as Brent Mustangburger

Joe Mantegna as Grem

Thomas Kretschmann as Professor Z

Peter Jacobson as Acer

Bonnie Hunt as Sally

Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip

Franco Nero as Uncle Topolino

Jeff Garlin as Otis

Tony Shalhoub as Luigi

Patrick Walker as Mel Dorado

David Hobbs as David Hobbscap

Jenifer Lewis as Flo

Bruce Campbell as Rod “Torque” Redline

Jason Isaacs as Siddeley/Leland Turbo

Star race car Lightning McQueen and the incomparable tow truck Mater take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell. Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

There was no doubt that a sequel to Pixars “Cars” film would be made.  It was all about when will it be made.

In 2006, the seventh Disney/Pixar film “Cars” was released in theaters.  Needless to say, the film was a major hit as it was nominated for two Academy Awards, made over $461 million worldwide.  The film was so popular that merchandise for the film is still sold in stores today and the cars have been popular toys that have earned over $5 billion in sales.

Needless to say, “Cars” was not just a box office success, it is one of Disney/Pixars biggest money making titles that is loved by critics and fans.

“Cars 2” becomes the 12th Disney/Pixar film and once again, “Cars 2” would meet box office success earning over $551 million worldwide.  And now the film will be made available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on November 1st.

In “Cars 2”,the film begins with spy Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine), trying to capture photos of the evil Professor Zundapp (voiced by Thomas Kreschmann) and his goons working on a deal.  Unfortunately, one of the spies were captured and crushed.  And next thing you know, Zundapp sees Finn and everyone goes after him with bullets and missiles.  Needless to say, the enemies think they have destroyed him but being a spy with many vehicle modifications, he is able to turn into a submarine and escape.

Lightning McQueen’s (voiced by Owen Wilson) racing career is going great as he is a four-time Piston Cup champion.  Meanwhile, back home at Radiator Springs, McQueen’s best friend Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), girlfriend Sally (voiced by Bonnie Hunt) and friends look forward to when Lightning can return back home.

And when McQueen does go back home, he is able to spend a good day with Mater but wants to spend a date night with his girlfriend Sally.  While out on a date one night, Mater watches oil tycoon Miles Axlerod (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a green power advocate announcing the “World Grand Prix”.  But the Italian formula racing car Francesco Bernoulli (voiced by John Turturro) is cocky and tells the world on television that Lightning McQueen is so slow and that he can beat him anytime.  Upset by what Francesco is saying about his best friend, Mater calls up the TV show and tells Francesco that Lightning McQueen can beat him anytime.

When McQueen finds out what is happening, he tells Francesco that he will compete against him in Japan at the first event for the World Grand Prix.

As McQueen gets prepared to leave once again, Sally asks him if he could bring Mater along with him, not to be part of the pit crew but just to hang out.  At first McQueen is against it but he reluctantly agrees.

When they leave to Japan, Mater is shocked about arriving in a new country.  While in Japan, Mater accidentally mistaken wasabi as pistachio ice cream and downs a large chunk of it.  With his mouth burning, Mater accidentally interferes with McQueens live interview and accidentally leaks himself in front of everyone.

Embarrassed, McQueen tells Mater to clean himself up and while Mater tries to get used to the technology of Japan’s bathrooms, spy Fin McMissile and spy tech Holley Shiftwell (voiced by Emily Mortimer) must retrieve information from an American spy.  But with Professor Zundapp’s evil car goons all around the area, Fin knows that his cover can get blown, so he has Holley meetup with the American spy which she can find via GPS.

But the American spy is approached by two of Professor Zundapp’s evil goons and with quick thinking, the spy hides the information in the bottom of Mater while he leaves the bathroom.

Thinking that Mater is an American spy, both she and Fin try to help him and protect him from Zundapp’s evil crew and Holley goes so far to pretend that she is asking Mater out on a date.

Of course, Mater tells his friends about it but no one, including Lightning McQueen believes him.

Meanwhile, during the start of the Japan race, both McQueen and Francesco exchange barbs for their first race.  And interesting enough, during the race, some of the cars explode while racing.  But as McQueen And Francesco are neck-and-neck, Mater is contacted by Holley and he thinks that she is asking him out to a date at that minute.  The truth is that Zundapp’s men were able to find out by torturing the American spy that Mater is the one carrying the information.

So, as Holley and Finn try to help Mater escape from the spies, Mater doesn’t know that his communication with Holley and what he is saying at the moment is being heard by McQueen and distracting him from the race.  And eventually costing McQueen the win.

Upset about the loss and Mater being a distraction, Lightning McQueen ends up telling his friend that he is not needed.  Hurt and dejected, Mater decides to go back home to Radiator Springs.  But instead, Finn Missile ends up meeting with Mater and helping him leave the airport (which is surrounded by Zundapp’s goons).  With Finn and Holley thinking Mater is an American spy, Mater (who doesn’t know what is going on) ends up joining the two on their mission to find out who is running the operations for Professor Zundapp.

Meanwhile, Lightning McQueen feels terrible about what he said to his best friend and wants him back with him.  But the race must continue.

As for Mater, not knowing how big of a mission he is caught up in and the things he must do… What happens when he finds out that his best friend McQueen may be the next targeted for destruction by their mysterious enemy?


“Cars 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).  As expected from a Disney/Pixar release, the picture quality is full of detail, colors are vibrant, blacks levels are deep and the textures and edges are fantastic.  Everything about this film looks perfect.  I didn’t see any banding, nor did I see any artifacts or edge enhancement.

Every detail from the rust and dents on Mater, the shine on McQueen, sparks, explosions, the asphalt, the backgrounds and yes, even the water looks amazing in this film.  Overall, as one has expected from Disney/Pixar, they continue to deliver excellence for picture quality in this latest Blu-ray release!


“Cars 2” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio ES, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital and English Near Field Mix 2.0.

Similar to the picture quality, Disney/Pixar is known for its lossless audio and everything from the tires squealing to the engines roaring, explosions, machine guns and the panning from one audio extreme to another, this is an immersive soundtrack.  LFE showcases the booms of the explosions, surround channels showcase the gunfire, engines revving and because this film incorporates racing and action, the soundtrack delivers!  Especially in ambiance as McQueen and Mater are in different countries, the lossless audio is amazing!


“Cars 2” comes with the following special features:

  • Director John Lasseter Commentary – Co-directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis talk about the film but also how promotion for the first “Cars” film internationally  made him think about Mater (Lasseter always wears Hawaiian shirts but when invited to an F-1 party event, he realized how under-dressed and out of place he was in Italy) and Lasseter and his children’s love for the “Bourne Identity” films led to the storyline of “Cars 2”.
  • Toy Story Toon “Hawaiian Vacation” – (5:53) When Barbie and Ken are expecting to go with Bonnie and her family to Hawaii, they end up being left behind.  With Ken wanting a romantic trip with Barbie and Barbie hoping to get that first kiss, Woody, Buzz and the gang decide to bring Hawaii to Bonnie’s bedroom.
  • Cars Toon “Air Mater” – (5:22) A story about Mater telling one of his stories and this time, him flying in the sky.


“Cars 2: 2-Disc Combo Pack” comes with a slipcover case and a DVD presented in 2:39:1 aspect ratio – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions, English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Near Field Mix 2.0 Dolby Digital, English SDH subtitles, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX & Spanish subtitles and French 7.1 DTS-HD HR, French 5.1 Dolby Digital EX with French subtitles.

“Cars 2” may have not been the critic-friendly Disney/Pixar animated film that many have hoped for but for me, it was great to see Lassetter and friends do something different.

Part of the complaints by critics was how the film was devoid of it’s emotional storyline and how it focused more on Mater instead of Lightning McQueen.  And depending on one’s feeling towards Mater, if you dislike the character, then chances are, the film may turn you off.  Afterall, Lightning McQueen is the cool, dashing hero of the first film and Mater is a redneck-talking, rusted tow truck.

But for me, I enjoyed the film because it was able to take the characters out of Radiator Springs and showcase them in Japan, France and Italy.  And as for Mater, yes…the storyline focuses on his character but if you enjoy spy films, to see him being mixed in an international spy case with the James Bond-ish Aston Martin-like Finn McMissile and the high tech Holley Shiftwell.  Sure, Mater is not the smartest car on the planet but to see these action sequences happening quite often, I found that to be quite refreshing for a Disney/Pixar film.

But at the same time, I must acknowledge the problem that children might not understand the discussion about alternative fuels and why the bad evil cars were trying to sabotage other race cars throughout the World Grand Prix.  I watched the film with my eight-year-old and he enjoyed the film for its action but the storyline of why the evil people were doing what they were doing, that went over his head completely.

But we were both in agreement of how cool the film was because of its action.  And this of course, may be a problem for those expecting a deep and emotional storyline.  Sure, every Disney/Pixar film typically touches you in someway and while Mater is not the typical character for some viewers not to feel sorry for, I think too much “Mater” for some, is not a good thing.

For me, I felt that his character was utilized in a way that was not too annoying and the fact that he is brought into this spy thriller was entertaining.

Like all Disney/Pixar films, the voice acting was excellent. But this film definitely was Larry the Cable Guy’s moment to shine as the voice of Mater as he is brought together with wonderful actor Michael Caine (who plays the Bond-like spy Finn McMissile) and actress Emily Mortimer (voice of Holley Shiftwell).   But everyone on the film, Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen, Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axlerod, John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli, etc.  They all do a wonderful job!

As for the Blu-ray release, as expected from a Disney/Pixar film, the picture quality and lossless audio is magnificent and perfect in every way!  Disney/Pixar films have always been magnificent on Blu-ray when it comes to PQ/AQ that it was no surprise to me that everything looked and sounded great!

But…with this being an awesome Blu-ray release, recently I began to question Disney’s latest strategy of not including many special features for its normal Blu-ray release and adding them only on their Blu-ray 3D releases.  One thing that I love about Disney Blu-rays and also Disney/Pixar Blu-rays is the amount of special features included.

The first “Cars” Blu-ray (and DVD) release was filled with special features but not this title.  No Second Screen that Disney has been pushing, no deleted scenes, no interviews with the voice cast of “Cars 2” but we do get the audio commentary and two animated shorts.  And as grateful as I am for the inclusion of these three special features, I have to admit that it’s quite small for a major release such as “Cars 2”.  But if you buy the much more expensive 3D version of “Cars 2”, then you get most of those special features.

It was one thing in the past, to include special features on Blu-ray and less for a DVD, in the hopes that people would upgrade to Blu-ray.  And that was a no-brainer as Blu-ray players are quite cheap these days.  But for people to upgrade to a 3D TV and purchase 3D glasses that is asking too much for the average consumer and unlike blu-ray players which are affordable, 3D TV’s are still a bit pricey for many people.

But with the “Cars 2: 2-Disc Combo Pack”, you do get that extra DVD, so with the holiday season coming up, you can definitely have the DVD playing for your children during those long traveling commutes or to keep them occupied during the holiday season.

Overall, “Cars 2” is an enjoyable family film and an awesome Blu-ray sporting awesome animation and picture quality as well as audio quality via HD.  While many people have their opinions of this film, I absolutely enjoyed this film because it was different than the first and that I love spy action films!

“Cars 2” is a fun family film with plenty of action and humor!  Sure, it doesn’t feature Lightning McQueen as the main character but I found the whole Mater spy action storyline to be quite entertaining and fun!   Also, he film looked absolutely incredible on Blu-ray!  The lossless audio was immersive and awesome!   I absolutely enjoyed this film!


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