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Monsters University Blu-ray Review

Monsters University Blu-ray

“Monsters University” is an enjoyable, but ultimately needless prequel to “Monsters Inc.”

Instead of scripting a follow-up to the great “Monsters Inc.,” Pixar has opted to go back in time to give viewers the story of how Mike Wazowski and Sulley became friends. The story primarily takes place at Monsters University where we see a young Mike proudly attending the college with the goal of becoming a scarer. While there, Mike meets the big monster scarer on campus (Sulley) who he does not get along with initially (to say the least). In fact, their feud winds up causing them both to be dropped from the prestigious scaring program. Additionally, Sulley also finds himself being thrown out of the top fraternity. Wanting to join the Scare Games (which is an ultra competitive series of scaring contests), Mike and Sulley both reluctantly join a rag tag frat called Oozma Kappa. Together (with the help of fellow frat members Art, Don, Squishy and Terri and Terry), the frat manages to defy the odds by becoming a contender. Naturally, there’s a bit more to the story than that, but I’m not spoiling the last 20 minutes.

Of all the Pixar films moviegoers are demanding a prequel/sequel of; “Monsters Inc.” probably wasn’t high on the list. If anything, it’s safe to say that “The Incredibles” is THE movie that people are craving a sequel of the most. Regardless, Pixar chose to give viewers more of Mike and Sulley in a prequel that can best be described as “Revenge of the Nerds” meets “Animal House.”

In the past, Pixar has been renowned for their creativity in the writing department. Unfortunately, that creativity has been slipping just a bit in the last few years. Instead of focusing on original works ala “Wall-E,” more sequels have been popping up like the studio’s worst work (“Cars 2”) and now “Monsters University.” While ‘University’ is far from a disaster, it is completely inferior to “Monsters Inc.”  The most apparent thing about ‘University’ is that it just lacks the heart of “Monsters Inc.” and, more importantly, it lacks Boo. The chemistry between Mike, Sulley, and Boo is what made the first film work. While ‘University’ does have a few engrossing character moments (especially in the last 20 minutes), it lacks the emotional punch of Pixar classics. None of the new characters really strike a chord here as all of the best moments come between Mike and Sulley and appearances by characters from the first film such as Randall and the Abominable Snowman (with John Ratzenberger reprising his role).

The screenplay (written by Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, and Dan Scanlon) is also fairly ordinary by Pixar standards. An animated college comedy that pays way too many homages to classic frat house comedies is just too generic for the studio. Pixar is better than this.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? Come on, it’s Pixar. You should always expect an A+ picture quality rating from the Blu-ray releases of their catalogue.

Audio Track: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD. How does it sound? Perfect. From the individual monster vocals to the sound f/x, there’s so much going in this track.

Extras:
* DVD copy and digital copy.
* Disney trailers.
* “The Blue Umbrella”- An absolutely beautifully animated short film about the adventures of a blue umbrella in the big city. I could really do without Sarrah Jaffe’s vocals though.
* A decent commentary by Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae and Kelsey Mann. The three chat about different concepts for scenes, characters, sight gags, background details, etc.
* 4 deleted scenes with director intro.
* An interactive art gallery with 5 categories. A big step up from the usual still art galleries.
* “Set Flythroughs”- A digital tour of the campus, the scare school, frat row, and the OK house locations in the film.
* 3 separate promotional pieces titled “Monsters Mash Up,” “College Campaignm” and “Theatrical Campaign.”
* “Scare Games”- A look at the Pixar staff engaging in their own scare games.
* “Music Appreciation”- A featurette about the film score.
* “Color and Light”- An extra about the color and lighting work on the film.
* “Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective”- An extra that compares the animation work in “Monsters Inc.” and “Monsters University.”
* “Paths To Pixar: MU Edition”- An extra that focuses on Pixar crew members.
* “Campus Life”- Director Dan Scanlon and others give viewers a day-in-the-life tour of life at Pixar studios as work on “Monsters University” progresses.
* “Story School”- A look at the various stages of the storytelling process on the film.

* “Monthropology”- This extra tackles the multitude of monster characters and their unique designs.
* “Welcome To MU”- Dan Scanlon hosts this extra about the film’s animated locations (and their inspirations).

* “Scare Tactics”- No, this isn’t an episode of the Tracy Morgan prank show. It’s an extra about the creation of scary character facial expressions and movements.

Overall Thoughts: “Monsters University” is likable enough, but it’s a far cry from the Pixar classics (ala “Monsters Inc.”).

October 27, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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