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Monsters University: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

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#1 of 9 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 16 2013 - 04:16 AM

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What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.

 

 

 

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Monsters University

 

Studio: Walt Disney

Product Release: October 29, 2013

Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD
Running Time: 104 minutes

Rating: GP

 

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On A Scale 0-5

 

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3

3D Separation: 3

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 1

 

 

Every time Pixar goes back to the well to attempt a resurgence on previously

popular titles, I get a little nervous.  Sometimes they succeed (Toy Story 3) and

sometimes they fail miserably (Cars 2).  Fortunately, Monsters University falls

pretty much in the category of succeeding and being on par with the original film.  

Perhaps the reason this new venture seems so fresh is because of the fact that

Pixar decided to do a prequel rather than a sequel.  

 

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We all know the story of Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sullivan (John Goodman), the

top scarers of Monsters Inc., but did you know how their relationship began?  

As the film opens, we meet young Mike Wazowski, a one-eyed pea of a youngster

that just doesn't fit in with the rest of his monstrous schoolmates.  On a class trip

to the infamous Monsters Inc., Mike realizes his dream of becoming a top scarer.  

Moving forward a few years, Mike's determination leads him to Monsters University

where he meets Sully, the big blue furry creature who seems to be riding on the

success of his family's name despite being a below grade-average student.  The

two become rivals which leads to their expulsion from the school's scare program.

How the two go from rivalry to becoming best friends is the basis for the rest of

the story.

 

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Once again, Pixar has done a remarkable job producing a beautifully realistic

animated film with an engaging story, some laughable moments, and likable

characters that are brought to life thanks to top-notch voice talents that include

Steve Buscemi (Randy) and Helen Mirren (Dean Hardscrabble).  Of course, what

would a Disney feature be without some hard-earned lessons for kids to learn about

teamwork over self importance.  

 

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By now, you would expect a Blu-ray like this to be flawless in picture quality.  It

certainly lives up to those expectations.  The transfer from the digital source is

impeccable, allowing for an exceeding amount of detail within the animation where

you really appreciate its fine textures.  There are no artifacts to be found anywhere.

The film is filled with vibrant fall colors by day and soothing pink sunsets by evening.  

Didn't really notice anything within the transfer that conveyed deep black levels.  Still,

this is the sort of picture perfect presentation you would expect from Disney/Pixar.

 

The only disappointment to be found here is the 3D imagery.  Once again, instead

of giving something special to the folks that pay a premium to see this technology

in the theaters and homes, Pixar is pretty much playing this one by the numbers.

There are varying amounts of depth and dimensionality throughout the film ranging

from average at best to looking a bit flat during scenes that are not well lit.  Anyone

hoping for "In-Yo'-Face" pop-out is going to be sorely disappointed.  The filmmakers

gave no opportunity to provide its audience with a little added fun.  Instead, we have

various body parts (elbows, fingers, heads) that at times seem to cross the screen's

dividing line, but alas, pop-out is kept very much at bay here.  As I watched this film

wearing eyewear, I couldn't help but think that the added dimensionality really added

nothing to the experience other than one single moment at the end of the film that

involved falling confetti.  However, by the time that moment arrived, it seemed too little

too late.  

 

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The only thing that is remotely immersive about this presentation at home is the

7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack (downconverted to 5.1 on my system).  It has been 

quite some time since I have seen Dolby TrueHD displayed across my receiver and

its presence is truly welcomed here.  The lossless mix is quite engaging thanks to 

its seamless panning of effects across the entire sound field.  In scenes crowded

with an array of monstrous characters, voices are effectively carried from one side

of the room to the other. In quieter moments, such as Mike reflecting by a lake, the

rears supply just the right amount of ambient sounds of nightfall.  One of the most

impressive moments of the film where all the channels seem to be utilized at once

is during a challenge where characters are running to avoid stinging glow urchins

that are being hurled towards them.  LFE is very prominent, particularly at the moment

we first meet Sullivan bursting into a classroom, or moments later when a scare canister

flies out of control.  Even party music provides enough bass to shake 'da house.  

 

What I still have left to mention is Randy Newman's score, recorded with a 112-piece

orchestra, whose musical variations dominate the entire sound field throughout the

full length of the film without managing to drown out the vocals.  In all, I was very happy

with the consistency in volume within the soundtrack.

 

The Ultimate Collector's Edition of Monsters University arrives as a 4-disc set

(Blu-ray+Blu-ray 3D+DVD+Bonus Features BD).  Also included is a Digital Copy

of the film.  It arrives in a cardboard slipcover that oddly, is not lenticular.  There is

a treasure trove of extra features -- too many to list -- but includes featurettes on

just about every aspect of the film's production and animation.  There is also an

included bonus Pixar short entitled, The Blue Umbrella

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

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My job when providing these reviews to HTF readers is to help you make a sound

decision when considering spending the premium cost attached to these 3D releases.

At the time of this review, there is a $10 difference between the standard Blu-ray and

the 3D Blu-ray combo.  I am not completely certain what extra features are ported over

to each edition, nor if that is even important to most of you at this moment.  What I can

say with confidence is that I see no advantage of watching Monsters University in

3D over 2D.  The animators have played it entirely safe, and as such, I found the

presentation to be at or below average.   

 

All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend it on its 

entertainment merits alone without the added dimensionality.

 

 

Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. 

 

Equipment

 

LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player

Denon 3311CI Receiver

Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

SV Sound Subwoofer


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Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 9 Steve Tannehill

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Posted October 16 2013 - 05:03 AM

I really enjoyed The Blue Umbrella. Some of the best photo-realistic work Pixar has done.

#3 of 9 Johnny Angell

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Posted October 16 2013 - 01:18 PM

This is the second recent Disney (I can refer to it that way, can't i?  Disney owns Pixar.) in which there was no lenticular cover.  The other being The Little Mermaid.  The 3D conversion for Mermaid was also less than ideal, even though you'd think Mermaid would lend itself to 3D.  Maybe the absence of a lenticular cover is code for an average or subpar 3D release? :rolleyes:

 

I've got $15 in Target coupons eating a whole in my Wallet.  I liked this movie in the theater and appreciate most everything that Pixar has done.  So this will be mine.


Johnny
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But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#4 of 9 DavidJ

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Posted October 16 2013 - 07:32 PM

I'm not surprised by your ratings for the 3D. I didn't think it was very impressive or well utilized when I saw it in theaters. 



#5 of 9 Jason_V

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Posted October 18 2013 - 07:40 AM

Got the 3D preordered (as usual).  Monster's U was a fun movie for me and I'm adding it to the collection even without a 3D TV. 



#6 of 9 Stephen_J_H

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Posted October 18 2013 - 07:52 AM

Ron, have you considered creating a subforum for your 3D Addict reviews? It would be nice to find them all in one place.


"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#7 of 9 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 18 2013 - 08:19 AM

Stephen,

 

http://www.hometheat...ws_archive.html

 

Thanks!


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Ronald J Epstein
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#8 of 9 Stephen_J_H

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Posted October 18 2013 - 11:14 AM

Thanks. I'm going to bookmark that page for further use.

 

Curiously, the Disney Movie Club selection of the month is Monsters University in 2D with the 3D version of Monsters, Inc. added on for an extra $10. I went back and read your review of the earlier film, which leads me to ask: why did the filmmakers even bother with 3D, other than to inflate grosses? The DMC package seems to be the way to go at this point.


"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#9 of 9 RolandL

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Posted June 14 2014 - 11:33 AM

Watched this on Stars On Demand in 3D last night. There were only a few scenes with pop-out but very little depth for most of the movie. Glad I did not waste money on buying this Blu-ray. 


Roland Lataille
Cinerama web site

 






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