Monsters University 3D Blu-ray Review
Pixar generated a lot of trust with their TOY STORY sequels, but for me, they lost a lot of that trust when they released CARS 2, at least when it comes to sequels. So with MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, I went into the film cautiously optimistic. After all, I always felt MONSTERS INC. was a little overrated in the first place, so revisiting these characters in prequel form didn’t entice me. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY has a tired storyline, but in this case, director Dan Scanlon and the rest of the Pixar team still managed to craft an enjoyable film, even if it doesn’t break any new ground.
The focus of MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is the initial rivalry between Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman), that started on their first day of college. Mike has dreams of being a scarer and since he’s not necessarily scary, he knows he has to work harder and study longer than anyone else to get into the scare program. Sully on the other hand, is a naturally scary monster and so he doesn’t work hard at all and instead coasts on his natural ability. Instantly, these two clash and after they both get kicked out of the scare program, they’re forced to team up with a bunch of other outcasts to compete in a scare competition in hopes of getting back into the program. Most of the humor actually comes from the group of outcasts they team up with and their involvement kept things fresh.
One of the things that made MONSTERS INC. so great was its originality. Pixar created a new world, with new characters and a great story. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY revisits that world and instead of a new story, it takes elements from the “Odd Couple” and ANIMAL HOUSE. It’s hard to make an original sequel and on some level, I don’t think the filmmakers tried too hard to come up with a groundbreaking plot. I think most peoples’ frustration with sequels is that filmmakers stop trying as hard because they know they can rely on established characters. That said, kids new to the series or unfamiliar with all of the movies and TV shows that inspired the story should get a kick out of everything. Mike and Sully are still oddly cute and cuddly and we get plenty of new characters to marvel at. I also appreciated the dialogue, which was full of funny lines but was also not dumbed down, which is another Pixar trademark.
Once again, Pixar manages to make something friendly enough for the kids, but entertaining enough for the adults. The idea of Mike and Sully in college is more of an adult or older kid story, but that’s Pixar’s strength; taking grown up ideas and making them enjoyable for children. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY isn’t going to wow you with a groundbreaking story, nor does it have the heart that you might be accustomed to in other Pixar films. But it’s a nice revisit to the Monsters world and should please fans of the original.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY 3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
The 3D on every Pixar film is astonishing. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is yet another example of how great the format can be. Everything in the MONSTERS world looks and feels so much more exciting when viewed in 3D.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: If you don’t have a 3D setup, don’t worry because the 2D presentation is fantastic. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY might be Pixar’s most colorful film to date (that’s saying a lot) and every color looks amazingly vivid on this Blu-ray
Audio: The audio is equally fantastic.
Commentary with Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae and Kelsey Mann: I had forgotten, but in the original MONSTERS, there’s a line that insinuates Mike and Sully met in the fourth grade. They bring that up and then joke about ignoring it. They go on to talk about various challenges with writing a prequel and then discuss various technical aspects of the film. Overall, it was an insightful and interesting commentary.
Blue Umbrella (7:01): This was actually presented in 3D as well, which was a nice bonus. Everyone loves Pixar shorts and this is another to add to the list.
Deleted Scenes (21:47): Four scenes total, each with Scanlon’s introduction. They’re unfinished, but it was great to have these included on this set.
Campus Life (15:02): This is kind of a day in the life of the director Dan Scanlon, but he also shows a look at what other people do on the set as well. It’s a nice featurette and it gives some better insight into the process of making a film.
Story School (8:58): Imagine the above featurette, but this time with the writing team.
Monthropology (5:54): Here we get a look at some of the techniques used to bring Mike and Sully to life. I found this interesting because I always thought Sully had an odd body style to him. This sheds some light on where that came from.
Scare Games (5:03): There might be a theme going on here; this featurette shows some of the fun and hijinks the cast and crew had on set, all inspired by the Scare Games in the movie.
Welcome to MU (6:01): Scanlon returns to give an introduction to the film.
Paths to Pixar: MU Edition (8:06): This is kind of like a video resume on various Pixar animators. It felt strange that this was included, but it was interesting to see the various paths they took to get to Pixar.
Music Appreciation (6:52): This featurette is dedicated to the music of the film, focusing a lot on Randy Newman’s work.
Scare Tactics (4:58): We get to see the animators try out various scares that were used in the film. Cute.
Color and Light (5:11): An extended before and after look at the film at various stages.
Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective (5:03): MONSTERS INC. featured incredible animation, but MONSTERS UNIVERSITY takes it to a new level. One of the things that makes the prequel look better is the new developments in “hair” animation. This featurette looks at the differences.
Set Flythroughs (5:42): This takes us through a virtual tour of Monsters University.
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