Monsters University Blu-ray Combo Pack Review #MUScareGames
*Disney/Pixar provided me with an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco to attend a Monsters University Press day. A complimentary copy of the film was also provided. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.*
Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are the best of friends in Disney/Pixar’s Monsters Inc., but it wasn’t always that way. If you think you know everything there is to know about this monstrous duo, you really don’t! Find out how their story starts when Monsters University arrives for a scary good time on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with digital copy on October 29, 2013.
Frighton Elementary School student Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) dreams of becoming a famous scarer and attending Monsters University after sneaking through a door and watching his idol in action. Mike’s hero is impressed and gives him his own Monsters University baseball cap. Through determination and hard work, Mike learns all there is to know about scaring, makes it into his dream college, and is excited to prove his worth in Dean Hardscrabble’s (Helen Mirren) Scaring Program.
But even though Mike is the hardest working student in the program, no one—including Dean Hardscrabble—thinks that Mike Wazowski is scary. Then there’s Jimmy Sullivan (Sulley to his friends), the son of a famous Scarer, who doesn’t study and relies on his family name to open all the right doors to him—including membership into a prestigious fraternity house. Sulley learns the hard way that he can’t slide by in life on his father’s legacy, and that the outcast fraternity Oozma Kappa may be able to teach him more about what it takes to really be a Scarer than anyone else.
Prequels (and sequels) to favorite movies can be a risk, but in the case of Monsters University it’s one I’m glad that they took. What was most impressive to me was that writers Daniel Gerson, Dan Scanlon, and Robert L. Baird were able to accurately depict the college experience through the eyes of freshmen Mike and Sulley while still maintaining a G rating. Watching the opening scene at Monsters University as Mike sees the campus for the first time, meets his roommate Randy (Steve Buscemi), and tries to fit in with the other kids on campus reminded me of my first day on the college campus. I think most people who have lived through college are going to be able to relate to Mike—and some maybe even to Sulley, who has some pretty big footprints to fill, but is actually afraid and unsure about his own abilities.
Another notable thing about Monsters University is learning that it’s not only just the men that can become Scarers—there are some pretty famous women ones as well, including Hardscrabble. And if you watch very carefully, you may even hear a familiar voice coming from a certain yellow suit in the closing scene of the film.
I loved the realistic message in Monsters University. Sometimes we have dreams, but we aren’t always going to be able to succeed at them. But if we don’t let ourselves get discouraged, we may even stumble upon a dream that we never even knew we had. But of course, for Mike and Sulley, we know they end up working at Monsters Inc., even if they didn’t exactly get there the way they thought they would. Be sure to stick around through the end credits to see how it all happens, as shown in newspaper clippings and photographs.
The Blue Umbrella This magical short feature written and directed by Sascha Unseld brings to life two umbrellas that connect in the rain and fall in love.
Campus Life A short featurette containing footage of Dan Scanlon (director/writer), Kori Rae (producer), and other members of the various teams that worked on Monsters University as they go about their daily work routine and lunch breaks. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like beyond the Pixar front gates, you’ll love watching this.
Story School A brief glimpse inside of meetings between the story artists and the director as they work together to come up with believable college scenarios in which to place the characters. You’ll also see some deleted interactions between Sulley and Mike.
Scare Games Producer Kori Rae likens the Scare Games in the film to the team building that must occur between the 200-250 individuals who work on a film like this one. Everyone involved in the film competed against one another in their own version of the Scare Games.
Monthropology Dan Scanlon and other animators talk about how the diverse monsters were created. Most fascinating is the development of Dean Hardscrabble, who was originally male. After discussion, they drew their inspiration from the centipede and gave her a touch of elegance as well.
Welcome to MU A look at how the artists and writers made MU feel like a real college, from small details like bird poop on statues to architecture style based on real colleges, but with a monster twist.
Music Appreciation Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae discuss working with composer Randy Newman and take us inside the Barbra Streisand studio where a one hundred and six piece orchestra recorded the collegiate-themed score.
Scare Tactics The director and the animators discuss how they gave a uniqueness to each scare that is shown in the film. Footage of them acting out the scares themselves is included.
Color and Light A discussion on how color and light give the film atmosphere and bring out the emotions the characters are feeling.
Paths to Pixar: MU Edition Pixar employees talk about their schooling, former careers, rejections for artist submissions, and how they finally came to work at Pixar.
Furry Monsters: A Technical Demonstration A demonstration of the program the artists used to show fur movement in Sulley and other furry monsters in the universe.