The Cars films are ones that are highly debated as to their quality (or lack thereof) by both Disney fans and the general theatre going public. They are definitely loved by little boys (and mostly by little boys) and it is usually seen by people as Disney’s boy response to the wildly successful Princess line (considering that Pirates never really caught on in that regard, much to my chagrin). The films do not have a wide adult fan base, which makes the fact that this set even got made is rather surprising.
The set just oozes style and class from the outside with it’s metallic red paint job (it’s actually Lightning McQueen’s paint colour) and it’s exceptionally minimalist box design. On two sides, there is the Cars logo, John Lasseter’s signature, and the phrase “Director’s Edition”. On the other two sides there are the logos for the movies and short collection contained within (Cars, Cars 2, and Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales). If someone were to not know what the Cars movies were, the only indication as to what they were getting into would be the clear plastic box on the top of the set containing a John Lassetire die-cast figurine. The set looks awesome when put on a shelf between other DVD’s and Blu-Rays and helps to class up what could just be standard cases lined up next to each other. That being said, the box is rather big, it’s about the size of 11 DVD or Blu-Ray cases and is taller than your standard DVD case, so if you use a shelf made just for DVD’s, it’s going to need to sit somewhere else (I just sit it on top of the shelf with my other oversized or oddly shaped sets).
The Director’s Edition opens in a rather bizarre fashion. You actually have to lift off the entire red box (it ends up just being a giant slip cover) to reveal, for lack of a better phrase, a multi-tiered steel looking tower with the John Lassetire sitting on top of it. This tower does not look nearly as good as the slip cover, but it’s still a good looking box. The major problem with the set comes when you take off the top part of the tower. When you take it off, you are hit with a cheap looking checker-board flag, which seems to exist only to hide the cheapness of the disc packaging. The 11 discs in the set are covered by a cheap piece of plastic packaging that doesn’t even lock into place, which arises the question: why is it there? The inclusion of the plastic piece is weird, but what is infuriating is the fact that all of the discs are shoved into a piece of foam. No cases, no sleeves, just foam. For a set that has an MSRP of $119, this is completely unacceptable. I understand that Blu-Ray discs are able to take a higher threshold of scratches before they become unreadable due to the smaller size and the strength of the blue laser, but scratches are still scratches, and the foam will provide less protection than your standard DVD or Blu-Ray case. I’m really thinking about going out and getting either some jewel cases that fit in the box or just getting some cheap paper sleeves in order to keep the discs safe from harm.
The packaging of this set is really upsetting to me. I love the casing, but the way that the discs are held just kills the whole thing for me. I’m glad that I got the set for only $50 through a combined use of a $10 off coupon and a deal from Best Buy that got me an additional $10 off of the $70 price tag at the store. While the packaging leaves quite a bit to be desired, the discs themselves are pretty spectacular. The 11 discs are broken down between 5 discs for Cars 2 (2D and 3D Blu-Ray with a separate special features disc, DVD version of the film, and a digital copy) and Cars and the Cars Toons have 3 discs each (DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital copy). The special features for Cars are slim and are just the special features from the original release back in 2006 and I can’t speak for any special features on the Cars Toon set as I just haven’t watched it yet. The special features for Cars 2 are many and plentiful. Along with the normal making-of featurettes, there is a featurette on a car show that Pixar puts on every year, a short on Cars Land that ends up just being a giant commercial for the upcoming land, and even a version of the races from the film that are just the races and none of the story elements that breaks them up within the film.
Recommending this set is rather difficult, as it’s a great set from a looks perspective and the fact that you get a lot of content for your money, but the packaging really holds me back from saying that you should just go out and buy the set. If you can get it for cheap (like I did) and wouldn’t mind getting some cheap jewel cases or some disc sleeves or you don’t have at least 2 of the movies, then definitely go for it. Otherwise, stay away from this set.