Monsters University - Disney Pixar - Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD
Director: Dan Scanlon
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Sohn. Full cast + crew
We all know Monsters University does not need to exist. Pixar's highly original Monsters, Inc. stood entirely on its own in a cool, unique universe that made perfect sense. But thankfully the lack of demand for a Monsters, Inc. prequel doesn't mean that Pixar phoned it in. This isn't Cars 2. This is a full-bodied movie with a great story that also stands on its own and doesn't bank too heavily on your fondness for the first film.
Sure, there are a few requisite moments of "Hey, remember this from the first movie?" but overall this is just a well-made, stand-alone story about two guys becoming unlikely friends. And perhaps even more surprising is that this is actually a solid movie about college life and underdog fraternities. Long story short, if you were afraid Pixar was just cashing in on another hot brand with a generic sequel, don't be. Monsters University is a fine family film all on its own.
Special Features: Commentary with Dan Scanlon, producer Kori Rae and story supervisor Kelsey Mann; "Campus Life" (15 minutes), a cool look at what the day-to-day work is like on an animated film; there are another 60-plus minutes of featurettes about Pixar's first prequel, focusing on every aspect of animated film production; deleted scenes (22 minutes), these are all rough presentations of four scenes that were abandoned before completion.
Other Notable New Releases
Poor box office performance combined with a heaping of bad reviews helped seal R.I.P.D.'s fate as one of the year's worst movies. That's kind of bogus. To be very clear: R.I.P.D. is not a great film. It's not a misunderstood diamond in the rough, and your life isn't exactly lacking because you missed it in theaters. It is, however, an enjoyable buddy-cop comedy saved by a thoroughly entertaining performance from Jeff Bridges, and plenty of wacky set pieces for younger crowds to enjoy. It's not amazing, it's just not the unbelievable disaster you might think considering the reaction to it this summer.
Cars gets the Blu-ray 3D treatment this week, and if you're already a fan of Pixar's love letter to automotives, you're probably going to want to check it out. This is the kind of movie that can benefit from a 3D conversion, and the extra eye candy here is very natural and engaging. The actual film itself is mid-level Pixar quality. It's hardly the worst film Pixar has ever made, but it's far from the best. If you have little kids in your life, though, chances are they'll become obsessed with its characters (I know my son is), so you may want to keep this new disc in mind when it comes to holiday gift giving.
For something just a tad more adult this week look toward Byzantium, a lush vampire movie from Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. By most accounts it's the best vampire movie to come along since Let the Right One In, so if you're a fan of the genre, definitely seek it out.
And lastly, did you know there is a fifth Home Alone? It's called Home Alone: Holiday Heist, and it was a a made-for-TV movie that premiered last year, but it's finally hitting DVD this week, so we figured we'd mention it as a reminder that there are five Home Alone movies. And you probably now feel really, really old.
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