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?
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.
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.
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”
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!
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
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.
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.
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
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly The Greatest Online Show ™ (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceChat Youtube Channel.