We are mere weeks away from Halloween, so it’s only natural that Monsters are coming out to play. In fact, Disney/Pixar’s unleashed their own monsters via the Monsters University Digital HD and Digital HD 3D release last October 8, 2013. They’re also going to follow it up with a proper retail release of the 4-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-Ra 3D Como Pack 3-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack,
3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack,DVD and On-Demand on October 29, 2013.
We currently don’t have access to a proper 3D setup so we won’t be focusing on the 3D aspects of the release. In any case, the 3D is just an extra – the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating – and whether owning Monsters University on home video will be worth your money or not will depend largely on the film itself (and maybe a few of the extras included in the set.)
The Movie: No Boo?
Let’s get this out of the way first. Monsters University is the prequel to Monsters, Inc. and focuses on Sulley and Mike during their college days – how they met, how they became best friends despite their differences and the path they took in order to become the top scarers in Monsters, Inc. This means no Boo, as she’s probably not even born yet during the events of the film.
It can’t be denied that Boo is one of the most popular characters in the original film but her absence here isn’t such a bad thing. It’s true that there’s a dearth of “daaww-sooo-cuuuutee,” moments but you won’t miss it much once you realize that Monsters University doesn’t really need it to work this time around. Rather, it is more of a college buddy comedy that’s reliant on Mike and Sulley’s chemistry (or initial lack thereof).
Besides, in place of innocently cute, we now have laugh-out-loud moments courtesy of an assortment of creatures from Mike’s Oozma Kappa fraternity, which consists of Monsters University’s weirdos and outcasts. The movie provides a refreshing take on the ‘Jocks vs. Nerds vs. the Principal’ formula as Sulley, who was supposed to fit in with the jocks, finds himself railroaded into the company of the nerds and forced to cooperate with his rival Mike in order to get into the university’s Elite Scare Program. Besides serving as an effective setup to the events depicted in Monster’s Inc, Monsters University also add layers to the story of the original film, Inc as it also features appearances from a few of the original’s side characters (including the Abominable Snowman, before he was exiled.) and provides minor explanations as to why certain characters act the way they do.
Basically, Monsters University is one of those rare cases where a prequel to a very popular film not only manages to be on par with the original, but also manages to stand on its own merit. Even people who haven’t watched Monsters, Inc. will be able to appreciate Monsters University – the fact that it’s a prequel also means that they can choose to watch Monsters, Inc. afterwards without breaking the narrative.
As mentioned above, whether Monsters University’s home video release can be recommended or not will depend largely on the film itself and the extras you can get, and in Monsters University’s case – the extras do justify the purchase even if you’ve already seen the film in theaters.
Both the 4-disc Blu-Ray 3D set and the 3-disc 2D set include a digital copy of the movie, so if you need a copy of the film on the go and don’t have space in your bag for the disc itself, Disney’s got you covered (the main difference between the two sets is the lack of the 3D disc on the 3-disc 2D set, obviously).
As for the content, the bonus offerings may vary depending on the retailer, but they could include any of the following:
· Campus Life– What’s it like being on a production crew at Pixar? Get alook at a day in the life of the “Monsters University” crew through their own eyes.
· 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.
· 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 themostly playful Pixar Scare Games competitions.
· 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 artistswho created each piece of the campus from the architecture to the ivy leaves. .
· 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 writingand on to the scoring session.including special college-themed recording sessions.
· Scare Tactics – Animators are actors who digitally bring the characters to life.In this lookat how the MU animation team worked, you’ll see their process of how they channeled theirown monster-selves and created moments on screen that were really funny, really scary and also really serious, sometimes all at the same time.
· 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 wererealized 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.
· 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 MUcrew tell their own compelling backstories and sharethe challenges they overcame along their paths to Pixar.
· 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.”
· Deleted Scenes – Four separate scenes – “Rivalry,” “Recon,” “Movie Night,” and “Drama Class” – are highlighted with an introduction from director Dan Scanlon.
· “The Blue Umbrella” – This animated short film from Pixar Animation Studios, directed bySaschka 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.
· Additional Bonus Features-Audio Commentary, Promo Picks, College Campaign, Theatrical Campaign, Set Flythroughs, Art Gallery and more!