The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney/Pixar - 2013
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby True HD Master Audio , English 2.0 Dolby Digital and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Dave Foley, Nathan Fillion, Charlie Day, Sean Hayes, Aubrey Plaza, John Ratzenberger
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Music by: Randy Newman
Written by: Dan Scanlon & Robert Baird & Dan Gerson
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 29, 2013
Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn't always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. Monsters University unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has 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" (voice of 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. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.
If I was truly pinned down and under the white light I would probably say that Monster’s Inc. is my favorite Disney/Pixar film behind Toy Story. When Monster’s University was announced and the teaser trailers began to surface I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the premise which revolved around a prequel about Mike and Sully meeting in college. As it turned out Monster’s University which is the 14th installment in the Disney/Pixar canon, is charming and entertainingly explores themes of self-discovery and the revelations that come with growing up. Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and John Ratzenberger reprise their roles (Bonnie Hunt returns but with a new character) and a plethora of new characters are voiced by the likes of Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Sean Hayes, Nathan Fillion, Charlie Day, SNL’s Bobby Moynihan, and Aubrey Plaza.
Monster’s University doesn’t resonate as loudly as it’s predecessor or feel as endearingly heartwarming as the best Disney/Pixar has to offer but it captures the essence of what makes them all special and takes us on a gladdening coming of age journey with two beloved characters. I liked the familiar interplay, thoughtful humor and gaggle of supporting characters that are aptly portrayed by the sterling cast. On top of that Monster’s University is an absolutely gorgeous animated film. In that regard it is among Pixar’s top tier efforts. I really enjoyed it and think it makes for a great companion to Monster’s Inc. I look forward to watching it again.
This film is appropriate for all ages.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
3D Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Depth (Onscreen):
- Dimension (Beyond the screen):
- Color reproduction:
Monster’s University 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate 5.8 Mbps.
Knowing Disney I had high hopes for this native 3D presentation and of course I wasn’t disappointed. I must admit that while I don’t mind gimmicky in your face 3D effects I much prefer to view 3D that takes advantage of the depth and dimension that can bring images onscreen to life in a visually involving and natural way. Monster’s University incorporates its share of fun pop out of the screen 3D however its implementation isn’t overplayed. This is a stellar 3D presentation that features superlative onscreen dimensional correlation. A great example can be seen in the sequence where the prospective Scare Program students meet for the first time in the main lecture hall. The shot is seen from various angles as the rows of students sit in the staggered seating. The various sizes, shapes and heights of each person within the group as well as their respective places within the tiered seats are drawn out in terms of visual depth. Textures abound as the richness of the digitally created objects onscreen are incredibly nuanced and lifelike regardless of their placement within the frame. Sully’s flowing blue hair looks about as lifelike as it comes. Detail is impeccable as the video retains a high level of clarity that is enhanced by the bolstered reproduction of color and contrast. This isn’t an effects laden spectacle however there are enough floating, flying and screen popping objects to keep 3D zealots happy. As for me, this is 3D entertainment that literally brought a smile to my face.
The 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD audio is in a word, awesome. Lossless audio’s higher resolution brings out the superbly crafted and sometimes delicate nature of the soundtrack. Subtle nuance in both the sound effects and music is readily apparent. Excellent dynamic range and crystal clarity enable the shifts from moments of quiet to visceral action to shine equally. This is an active surround mix that features superb directional correlation/imaging which expertly combines the events onscreen with the integration of the front/rear soundstages. The two rear channels aren’t consistently engaged but effectively provide discretely placed effects and ambient detail on cue. Where applicable there is an enriching and solid feel to low frequencies. This isn’t the deepest bass response that I have experienced but it has palpably rich presence that occasionally energizes the room. The voices of the cast are reproduced with good tonal delineation and crystal clarity even during more active sequences. This is an entertaining home theater presentation that compliments this wonderful family film
2D Video Quality:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Monster’s University comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney/Pixar featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps.
This is a beautifully crafted digital film that looks amazing in high definition. From start to finish this presentation is nothing short of mesmerizing in its depiction of the film’s animated images. The video is exquisitely detailed, incredibly three dimensional and never left me wanting for fine degrees of subtle delineation and texture. The attention to detail in the construction of the animated characters physical features as well as objects within each frame is superb. Looking at Sully I could see the varying lengths/uneven texture and natural flow of blue furry coat. The same was true of the aged fabric of Mike’s MU baseball cap. Other examples can be seen in the textural nuance in the walls and floor in the lecture hall, interior of frat house, and physical characteristics in the wooden surfaces in the scare Hall of fame. The chromatic palette is an extensive one as colors appear vivid and bold with an enriching level of saturation that exhibits subtle degrees of separation and eye pleasing depth. Contrast is exemplary and blacks are inky with extended dynamic range and deep gradational highlights.
The film’s low level sequences (there are many) look just as stunning as the dark and shadow filled backgrounds exhibit a near infinite level of dimension, with superb contrast and visible shading that draws out lots of detail. The sequence that takes place in the human world where Mike and Sully are near the lake looks incredibly lifelike. As Sully stands in the shadows Moonlight is streaming through the spaces between the canoes he is hiding behind. He steps out into the moonlight and the transition from dark shadow to shadowy light is spot on. The moon reflecting off the rippling water is one of the most realistically created animated details I have ever seen. Those with high contrast displays can fully appreciate how superlative this film looks. I was blown away by this flawless high definition video presentation from Pixar. Bravo!
- Audio commentary wit the creative team behind Monster’s University
- (HD) Campus Life – What's it like being on a production crew at Pixar? Get a look at a day in the life of the “Monsters University” crew through their own eyes – 15 minutes
- (HD) Story School – This documentary examines the challenges of creating a prequel as well as themes that run through the story, and the change in focus from Sulley to Mike. We'll also look at how gags are developed – from writing jokes to brainstorming a million ideas, only 5% of which actually end up in the movie – 9 minutes
- (HD) Scare Games – At Pixar, we play hard while we work. The same people who keep the film production moving - producers, managers, coordinators and artists - are also the ones who bring spirit and excitement to some of our extracurricular activities. We check out the MU production teams as they go head to head in the mostly playful Pixar Scare Games competitions – 5 minutes
- (HD) Welcome to MU – Sets aren't just buildings, they are the worlds our characters live in and explore. This look at the Monsters University campus and its development is told from the perspective of the artists who created each piece of the campus from the architecture to the ivy leaves – 6 minutes
- (HD) Music Appreciation – Randy Newman's scores are a mainstay of Pixar films, and this documentary will give you a privileged look at his creative process. We follow the “Monsters University” scoring process from spotting to writing and on to the scoring session including special college-themed recording sessions – 7 minutes
- (HD) Scare Tactics – Animators are actors who digitally bring the characters to life. In this look at how the MU animation team worked, you’ll see their process of how they channeled their own monster-selves and created moments on screen that were really funny, really scary and also really serious, sometimes all at the same time – 5 minutes
- (HD) Color and Light – How can a single painting set the tone for an entire scene? We'll look at the creation of the colorscripts and how they were realized technically in the final film. Along with the process, this piece explores the many layers of technical innovation required to produce such a naturalistic feel – 5 minutes
- (HD) Paths to Pixar - MU Edition – When one door closes, sometimes another door opens – one with an even more exciting opportunity behind it. Members of the MU crew tell their own compelling backstories and share the challenges they overcame along their paths to Pixar – 8 minutes
- (HD) Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective – Explore the difficulties in creating characters that are 20 years younger with tools that are 10 years more advanced in this contrasting look at the differing technical challenges that arose when making “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Monsters University.” – 5 minutes
- (HD) Deleted Scenes – Four separate scenes – “Rivalry,” “Recon,” “Movie Night,” and “Drama Class” - are highlighted with an introduction from director Dan Scanlon – 22 minutes
- (HD) “The Blue Umbrella” (3D & 2D) – This animated short film from Pixar Animation Studios, directed by Saschka Unseld and produced by Marc Greenberg, played in theaters in front of "Monsters University." “The Blue Umbrella” tells the story of an evening commute in which the rain starts to fall and the city comes alive to the sound of dripping rain pipes, whistling awnings and gurgling gutters. And in the midst, two umbrellas—one blue, one not—fall eternally in love – 7 minutes
- (HD) Monthopology – Character design featurette
- (HD) Set fly throughs
- (HD) Art galleries
- Additional Bonus Features - Promo Picks, College Campaign, Theatrical Campaign and more…¬
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
I enjoyed Monster’s University. It may not resonate as deeply as it predecessor or ring the “classic” chimes as some of the more popular films to come from Disney/Pixar but it is charming, fun and makes for resounding family entertainment that is a great addition to the Disney/Pixar canon. Speaking of entertaining and fun, Monster's University represents one of the finest animated high definition presentations I have seen on Blu-ray. This is true of both the 3D and 2D experiences. Couple that with reference quality Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless surround sound and a boatload of bonus material and this is a highly recommended and must have release for Pixar fans.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package