Bonus Points: DVD Reviews

'Cars' Comes With Extras That Sputter

Doc Hudson (voice of Paul Newman) and Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson), two of the well-oiled machines that star in
Doc Hudson (voice of Paul Newman) and Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson), two of the well-oiled machines that star in "Cars." (Disney Enterprises)
By Jen Chaney Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 7, 2006; 12:00 AM

"Cars" (List price: $19.99)
Release Date: Nov. 7

Let's face it: The premise of "Cars" is a little goofy. A movie about a cartoon racecar that becomes less self-involved after befriending some animated automobile buddies in a small town? Sounds more like a Pixar parody than an actual release from the studio that brought us "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo."

Yet somehow, as they always do, those geniuses at Pixar make "Cars" work. An immensely clever and colorful film, the vehicular adventure will not only entrance children (especially those with a Matchbox fixation), it may also touch the hearts of adults who still recall getting their kicks on Route 66 instead of stopping at the same fast food restaurants along dull stretches of highway.

Like most digitally animated offerings, "Cars" looks super-sharp on DVD, particularly when viewed on a high-tech plasma, DLP or LCD television. Strangely, though, Disney has included very few special features on this single-disc release, a major disappointment given the abundance of extras that accompanied recent Pixar pictures like "Nemo" and "The Incredibles." (Both were released as two-disc collector's editions).

"Cars" only delivers a single featurette on what inspired director John Lasseter to make the movie; four deleted scenes; and two animated shorts, including the brand new "Mater and the Ghost Light." Fans won't find interviews with any of the voice talent (which includes Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy and Paul Newman), or an in-depth look at how the Porsches and Impalas were animated, or even a single commentary track. All of which has me wondering whether another, more piston-packed DVD might be on the horizon, perhaps slated for release next summer when the next big Pixar movie, "Ratatouille," arrives? If another model of "Cars" does make its way to store shelves, let's hope the folks at Disney rev up the extras next time.

Most Fun Bonus Point: The seven-minute short "Mater and the Ghostlight" serves up a cute twist on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Though in this case, that boy is a dimwitted but lovable tow truck who, after playing prank after prank on his pals, gets the spare parts scared off of him when they convince him the spooky "ghostlight" is real.

Also on DVD This Week: "Wordplay" and more.

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