Monsters University, the Review

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney Movies, Features, The Disney Review

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Published on October 26, 2013 at 5:00 am with 10 Comments

George: Pixar’s been on a winning streak since Toy Story. Critics and fans alike question how long Pixar can keep cranking out the hits. Monsters’ Inc has always been a favorite in our house, because it’s been the film that seemed to elevate Pixar character animation to the next step. There was a believability and honesty with the characters that we hadn’t seen before. When I first heard about a Monsters prequel, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would Monsters University live up to the hype?

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Jeff: Monsters Inc is definitely in my top two Pixar films, so like George, hearing they were making a prequel made me a little uneasy. Prequels are always tricky ground and don’t always turn out well (coughStarWarscough). Though, I was still excited to see it. Unfortunately, Monsters University came out the same time that I moved cross country, so I missed it while it was in theaters.

George: (Hangs head in shame.) We missed it in the theaters, too, so I was excited to get the review copy. We watched it the first weekend and I’ve spent the rest of the week watching the extras. I enjoyed the film and thought it was a great Pixar film and a good addition to the Monsters universe. The characters were still incredibly well-defined and even when Pixar brought in more of a stereotype character, it still fit into the film extremely well. I did miss Boo but seeing the development of friendships and rivalries kept the story going and kept us cheering for Mike.

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Jeff: I really like how the story itself focuses on Mike, from how he initially grew up wanting to be a Scarer, and how his friendship with Sulley formed. I found the film to be extremely charming and it had quite a few moments that made me laugh out loud. Like George said, it really felt perfect for the Monster’s universe, and it made sense, filling in the blanks before Monsters Inc.

George: What’s funny is I didn’t know there were blanks until I saw this film! To me, Pixar really did a great job of using the college experience as a character. Most everyone is going to be able to relate to the film whether they went to college of have seen the many films about college life (Animal House, anyone?). Jeff and I are always concerned about the special features when there’s a blu-ray release. We’ve seen a dearth of special features on recent releases and hoped for the best with Monsters University. We’re both happy to say that there’s good news.

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Jeff: I have to say, the amount of special features, and the depth that they go, was a pleasant surprise for this disc. I was concerned at first, after viewing the film, and seeing that the only special feature on the disc was audio commentary. It then took me a moment to realize that there was a whole other, second disc, devoted completely to special features. The inner film nerd in me cried out in joy. Every single featurette in the special features was fantastic to watch. My personal favorite was “Campus Life,” a day in the life of making the film.

George: Watching Campus Life made me mad! I want breakfast, lunch and dinner provided at my workplace everyday. Of course, most Pixar employees work through their lunch breaks. I did enjoy the features and like Jeff, was a little confused when I noticed the special features weren’t on the main disc. But a whole disc dedicated just to the features is A-OK in my book (but not my Book of the Week). Here’s a list of the special features: Campus Life, Story School, Scare Games, Welcome to MU, Music Appreciation, Scare Tactics, Color and Light, Paths to Pixar – MU Edition, Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective, Deleted Scenes, and “The Blue Umbrella”

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Jeff: Overall, this is definitely a disc worth picking up. I loved the movie, I loved the special features, and I loved everything about it. Your entire family will love this film. Trust us. You won’t be disappointed in it!

Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Feature Film = 1.78:1 1080p High Definition

Theatrical Short “The Blue Umbrella:” 2.39:1 1080p High Definition

DVD Feature Film = 1.78:1 – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions

Audio: Blu-ray 3D Film = 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

Blu-ray Feature Film = 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

DVD Feature Film = English 5.1, English 2.0 Dolby Digital and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital; Spanish (U.S. Only) and French (Canada Only) 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks

Hidden Gems

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A113 – The School of Scaring classroom number is A113, which refers to the former classroom of John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton at CalArts. The number makes an appearance in every Pixar feature film.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Pizza Planet – The Pizza Planet truck is in the driveway of the JOX fraternity house when Mike is riding Archie the Scare Pig down Greek Row. The Pizza Planet truck, which first made an appearance in “Toy Story,” has made a cameo in nearly every Pixar feature film.

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Luxo – The Pixar Luxo ball is in graffiti on the wall behind Claire Wheeler and Brock Pearson during their introduction to the Scare Games’ first challenge. Pixar Animation Studio’s groundbreaking short film “Luxo Jr.” was the first computer animated short film released by Pixar during its first year as a studio in 1986.

Are you going to add this one to your collection? What did you think about Monsters University?


By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at
[email protected] or [email protected]

You can follow us on Twitter @imaginerding (George) and @JeffHeimbuch

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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  • JFS in IL

    Thanks for the heads up about the extras disc – I just cancelled our DVD order at Amazon and reordered it in the BlueRay/DVD/extras edition (normally don’t get BlueRay sa my adult son wiht autism only has a DVD player in his room)

  • eicarr

    Just put a hold on the public library’s blu-ray instead of the DVD. Thanks!!

  • DobbysCloset

    If anything pushes this Luddite to finally adopting BluRay hardware, it is Your DVD Reviews. Any chance of a year-end article listing your ten top favorite Disney BluRay releases?

    • disney4me2001

      I love this idea! Yes, please do a year-end review with your favorite Disney releases for 2013!

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    This review was excellent. My boys loved this movie and I normally do not buy DVDs but we’re going to be buying this one. Your review convinced me.

  • Gregg Condon

    I also sadly missed this in the theaters but like all other Pixar movies I’ll be picking this one up, even sight unseen.

    I’m thrilled to hear about all of the special features.

  • davidrusk

    It was great at the movies and I’m anxious to have the Blu-ray version this Tuesday. I enjoyed your review (as always).

  • Zeathos51

    I actually liked this better than Monster’s Incorporated because of its great climax and character development. I actually think the lesson at the end is a unique one for a film about self esteem and confidence. This is definetely a movie I’ll enjoy watching again.

  • StevenW

    I thought this movie was overshadowed by the overwhelming success of Despicable Me 2. Monster didn’t fail, but it wasn’t that great either.

  • allicat246

    I LOVE Monsters University (I am currently watching it for the SECOND time today…No shame). I honestly think it is the best prequel I’ve ever seen. It certainly is my favorite movie of the year. Such a powerful storyline with excellent execution and fantastic gags. I also thought the special features were great and informative as well.