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Monsters University: Collector’s Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 21, 2013 by  



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“Monsters University” is an enjoyable prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” but this Blu-ray release is  a perfect example of Disney Pixar and their dedication to quality.  Not only do they set the bar high in terms of animation but the Blu-ray is magnificent and is deserving a perfect five star.  No doubt one of the top three Blu-ray releases of 2013!  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Monsters University: Collector’s Edition

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 104 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: Blu-ray 3D, 1080p High Definition, 16:9 Widescreen, English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

Release Date: October 28, 2013

Directed by Dan Scanlon

Story by Dan Scanlon, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird

Screenplay by Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Dan Scanlon

Produced by Kori Rae

Executive Producer: Pete Docter, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

Music by Randy Newman

Edited by Greg Snyder

Production Design by Ricky Nierva

Starring:

Billy Crystal as Mike

John Goodman as Sullivan

Steve Buscemi as Randy

Helen Mirren as Dean Hardscrabble

Peter Sohn as Squishy

Joel Murray as Don

Sean Hayes as Terri

Dave Foley as Terry

Charlie Day as Art

Alfred Molina as Professor Knight

Tyler Labine as Greek Council VP

Nathan Fillion as Johnny Worthington

Aubrey Plaza as Claire Wheeler

Bobby Moynihan as Chet

Noah Johnston as Young Mike

Julia Sweeney as Ms. Quibbles

Bonnie Hunt as Mrs. Graves

John Krasinski as Frank McCay

Bill Hader as Referee

Disney Pixar proudly presents the hilarious story of how two mismatched monsters met and became lifelong friends in a movie screaming with laughter and oozing with heart. Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he’s dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. With their dreams temporarily dashed, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right. Get ready to party with hours of exclusive bonus extras, including an inside look at the world of monsters and the animated theatrical short film “The Blue Umbrella.”

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For Disney Pixar fans, the crew are often asked about sequels to their popular animated films.

With “Toy Story” and “Cars” receiving sequels, Pixar’s 2001 film, “Monsters, Inc.” is one that has continued to receive sequel requests and in 2013, a new film was made but not a sequel, but a prequel to the popular film, showing us how Mike and Sullivan became friends.

Directed by Dan Scanlon (writer of “Tracy” and “Mater and Ghostlight”) and co-written by Scanlon, Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird (both who wrote additional story material for “Chicken Little”, “Meet the Robinsons” and “Cars”), “Monsters University” was a success, grossing $737 million in the box office.

And now, the film will be released on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D in Oct. 2013 courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

The version that I will be reviewing is “Monsters University: Collector’s Edition” which comes with the normal Blu-ray release plus a DVD and Digital Copy.

“Monsters University” begins with a young Michael “Mike” Wazowski was on a school field trip to a scaring company.  As they watch the professionals from various universities plug their favorite university, one hero that Mike has watched is from Monsters University.  During the field trip, Mike breaks the rule of standing behind the yellow line and ends up going inside the scare room and being with a professional while he scared a child.

Seeing how Mike was able to get through without getting noticed, the employee gives Mike encouraging advice which leads to Mike deciding at a young age that he wants to be a scarer and he will attend Monsters University.

Eleven years later, Mike begins his first day at Monsters University and finds out that his roommate is Randall “Randy” Boggs (who will become Mike and Sulley’s antagonist in “Monsters, Inc.”).  He also meets James P. “Sulley” Sullivan for the very first time.  And learns that Sulley comes from a family of scarers and thinks he will become a scarer easily because of his natural scaring ability.  But when Sulley is chosen to become part of Roar Omega Roar and Mike is looked as someone with zero scare factor, Mike is hurt but studies hard to do all he can to become a scarer and both declare that they will be the top scarer and become competitive rivals.

But their rivalry leads the two to be dropped from the scaring program by Dean Hardscrabble and both are depressed.  But when Mike sees a flyer about the Scare Games, he finds a way to get back into the program and that is by joining a fraternity, the unpopular Oozma Kappa and making a deal with Dean Hardscrabble that if his fraternity wins the Scare Games, they would all become part of the Scaring Program, which the Dean agrees to.  But the problem is in order for Oozma Kappa to compete, they need one more member.  And sure enough, Sulley joins the fraternity.

And as Mike and Sulley join and move in to the frat alongside members, the older Don Carlton; the two headed (but same body) Terri and Terry Perry, Scott “Squishy” Squibbles and the furry member, Art.  Problem is that Oozma Kappa is far from being scary, so Mike tries to find a way to use everyone’s skills to win the Scare Games.  But will Sulley and Mike’s rivalry hurt their chances of working as a team?

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VIDEO:

“Monsters University” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio) and is a film that Disney Pixar has set the bar high once again in terms of visuals.  The film is absolutely vibrant, every surrounding, from trees, vehicles, buildings, rooms are fully detailed.  The characters design look absolutely fantastic and are also highly detailed.  Mike’s eyes have wonderful reflection, Sulley and Art’s furry hair looks very realistic, I was very impressed of how the hair physics and detail looks today.  Everything is rendered with amazing detail.

And the picture quality is pristine!  No banding, no artifacts, this is the best looking Pixar film on Blu-ray to date!

Videophiles and Disney Pixar fans now have a new reference quality title as this film looks magnificent on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Monsters University” not only scores a perfect grade for video but also scores high for its lossless soundtrack.  Presented in Dolby True HD 7.1, the film is also presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.

This is one of the most immersive Disney Pixars I have listened to and because of the amount of action featured in the film, from dance parties to scare games and more, the surround channels are fully utilized as with the LFE.  Dialogue and music is crystal clear, scene with crowds have amazing ambiance from the surround channels, so every cheer, every jeer, every scream and pretty much every sound is crystal clear.  Sounds are literally envelop the soundscape with amazing clarity and it’s a soundtrack that is very active and immersive and an audiophiles dream!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Monsters University” comes with two Blu-rays with special features:

  • Blue Umbrella – (6:43) Disney Pixar’s animated short that was shown before the film in theaters, about a blue umbrella who has fallen for a red umbrella.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director/co-writer Dan Scanlon, producer Kori Rae and story supervisor Kelsey Mann.
  • Campus Life – (15:14) Director Dan Scanlon’s video journal showing a day in the life of the making of “Monsters University”.
  • Story School – (13:13) A look at the concept artwork, storyboards and more.
  • Scare Games  – (8:38) How competition was integrated to the work of the Disney Pixar crew by actual games/competitions.
  • Monthropology – (5:47) How the crew created the students and faculty of Monsters University and created 500 types of monsters.
  • Welcome to MU – (6:09) Director Dan Scanlon discusses the planning that went into creating the Monster University campus.
  • Music Appreciation – (7:29) Music editor Bruno Coon and composer Randy Newman discuss the making of the music of “Monster University”.
  • Scare Tactics – (5:16) The animators discuss the art of Monsters University.
  • Color and Light – (5:16) A featurette on the before and after look of the film utilizing color and light.
  • Paths to Pixar: MU Edition  (7:40) The crew talk about how they came to work for Pixar.
  • Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective – (5:02) A comparison of the 2001 “Monsters, Inc.” and the 2013 “Monsters University”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (22:04) Featuring four undeleted scenes with an intro by Director and co-writer Dan Scanlon.
  • Promo Picks  – Featuring the “Monsters Mashup” (4:01), “College Campaign” (college commercial, March Madness, Admissions), “Theatrical Campaign” (teaser trailer, back then, one night, Japan trailer).
  • Set Flythroughs  – (6:25) A tour through the campus of Monsters University.
  • Art Galleries  – Featuring artwork which include characters, color keys, development art, environments and graphics.

EXTRAS:

“Monsters University: Collector’s Edition” comes with a Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy of the film plus a slipcover of the film.

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“Monsters University” is a wonderful prequel to the 2001 film “Monsters, Inc.”.

With the latest film, I found it to have much more than I was expecting to see in the film in terms of characters, locations, environments and literally how far they could go in creating a new world.

It’s no surprise considering the number of people working on the film was over 250, the technology and the scope of brilliance that Disney Pixar has continued to improve since the original 2001 film is extraordinary and of course, for something so grand, it’s going to be an expensive process and for Disney Pixar, it was $200 million spent to make this film.  And in the end, the film made over $700 million in the box office and no doubt the earnings of the film will continue to go through the roof with this Blu-ray release.

Disney has release magnificent Blu-rays in the past and Disney Pixar films have been but nothing short of magnificent, but I’m confident in saying that “Monsters University” is not only one of the better Blu-ray releases of 2013, it’s one of the best Disney Pixar films created.

This goes beyond how magnificent the animation and hair/fur physics have come but its how huge this film was in terms of its planning and execution.  Give your audience more than you expect?  Surely, this huge team at Disney Pixar gave a lot in trying to build this new world with so many monsters, a campus that is so huge that its featured in a special feature of how expansive this campus truly is and how the smallest things that can happen in reality, they wanted to incorporate to this film.  From books falling and showing individual pages flow, to how Sulley’s fur moves whenever he makes movement of his arms or body.

There is so much planning that went into this film… and Disney Pixar nailed it!

I absolutely enjoyed the storyline and learning how Mike and Sulley became friends but how it was not so easy at first.  But to also explore other characters in the Monsters world.  I was like a child again watching this film, smiling and laughing and just really in awe with what I was watching.

And on Blu-ray, I was amazed by the vibrant colors and the detail of the models.  The environments look fantastic and well detailed, the fur/hair of the characters look fantastic and the physics that went along with it was impressive.  And as the picture quality was fantastic, the lossless audio soundtrack was impressive as directional sound to create immersiveness was used in its 7.1 soundtrack.  My surround and rear surround channels were being utilized, LFE was being utilized and dialogue and music from the center and front channels were crystal clear.

And the special features were also amazing.  I have been in media Q&A’s with Disney Pixar staff for their films and one of the biggest questions is how these talented individuals got into the field.  With this Blu-ray release of “Monsters Universe”, not only do we get to see the crew working on various parts of the job, but we also get to hear from them on how many had to work other jobs to get to where they are at, some who have received 25 or over 50 rejection letters before working at Disney Pixar.  We also get to see how the company has fun with its employees by letting them participate in games (department competitions) to help ease the tension but also see a day in the life of a Disney Pixar employee.  These are features that many have wanted to see for the longest time, but this release shows us how Disney Pixar is not only a great place to work but also because everyone works as a team, it led to the quality of the making of this film.

Also, included is the enjoyable Disney Pixar short “The Blue Umbrella” shown in theaters prior to the film.  The short film features a blue umbrella who becomes smitten by a red umbrella, but due to bad weather conditions, the owner loses his hold on the umbrella which ends up flying through the streets of the city.  A beautiful and entertaining animated short.

Overall, “Monsters University” is an enjoyable prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” but this Blu-ray release is  a perfect example of Disney Pixar and their dedication to quality.  Not only do they set the bar high in terms of animation but the Blu-ray is magnificent and is deserving a perfect five star.  No doubt one of the top three Blu-ray releases of 2013!  Highly recommended!






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