Dick De Jong
November 5, 2013
Disney•Pixar has once again tapped the veins of one of their animated franchises with Monsters University, a prequel to the hugely popular 2001 Monsters Inc.. And with a box office haul of almost three quarters of a billion dollars, why not.
Luckily for fans of the monsters-in-arms, mono-orbed Mike (Billy Crystal) and shaggy Sasquatch Sully (John Goodman), the creative team at Pixar delivers an entertaining and heartfelt story of how the two misfits bond at the college for Scarers.
The plot of how a ragtag group of outcasts at Oozma Kappa fraternity band together to win the Scare Games is a retread of numerous past films, but with characters like the two-noggin Terry and Terri and the Slinky-legged Art, this version gains enough traction to keep kids and adults alike amused.
Of course, it never hurts to recruit a stellar cast, including Steve Buscemi, Aubrey Plaza, Alfred Molina, Sean P. Hayes, Dave Foley, Nathan Fillion and Dame Helen Mirren (as Dean Hardscrabble), as the voices for the supporting monsters.
With movies like Bambi, Disney has gained a reputation for not sugar coating a story to protect the sensibilities of tykes. You might think that a movie about monsters whose goal in life is to cause kiddos to break the shriek meter would be too much for the youngsters.
Even though the half bat-half centipede Hardscrabble can raise an adult's goosebumps, most of the others characters are so cuddly that you just want to pinch their chubby cheeks.
The animators even displayed restraint in their use of 3D. Nothing can make you duck for cover faster than a pointed object, like a sharp fanged ogre, hurtling toward you through 3D space. Happily, the CG team didn't resort to those shenanigans that often.
Monstrous Bonus Extras
For Blu-ray devotees, Disney packs their discs with thoughtful, informative and engaging extras. With the Ultimate Collector's Edition, they have outdone themselves.
As an amuse bouche, the theatrical short, The Blue Umbrella is provided.
After you have whet your appetite, the main course of featurettes includes:
- Campus Life
- Story School
- Scare Games
- Welcome to MU
- Music Appreciation
- Scare Tactics
- Color and Light
- Paths to Pixar - MU
- Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective
- Deleted Scenes
- Additional Bonus Features - Audio Commentary, Promo Picks, College Campaign, Theatrical Campaign, Set Flythroughs, and Art Gallery
Set aside an evening to watch the bonus extras. You will be rewarded.
Director: Dan Scanlon
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Charlie Day, Sean P. Hayes, Dave Foley, Nathan Fillion and Aubrey Plaza
Length: 103 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
7.1 Dolby True HD Master Audio
7.1 Dolby Digital Plus
5.1 Dolby Digital
English SDH, French and Spanish