After watching the bonus features of the new “Monsters University” Blu-ray release, no one could possibly say Pixar doesn’t invest every ounce of creativity and effort into their films. It’s easy to think this sequel to the highly successful “Monsters Inc” would be a guaranteed winner. But watching the extensive, step-by-step bonus features lets viewers in on the struggles that director Dan Scanlon and the rest of the large Pixar team went through to make sure it lived up to expectations.
“Monsters University” looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray and in 3D, as do all Pixar films. With the digital pipeline this studio has developed, every home release they crank out is pitch perfect. But it’s the bonus features that offer an almost too extensive inside look at the creation of this film, detailing every moment of the process.
Beginning with the pains of writing the prequel, deciding just who should be the star and what Mike and Sulley were like when they were younger, and leading all the way up to Randy Newman’s final scoring of the finish product, watching these extras is like peering in to Pixar’s windows, over animators’ shoulders, and getting a taste of what it’s like to work there.
Even after watching a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes, making-of featurettes, there are still surprises to learn about the Pixar process, such as the lingo animators use to talk shots with each other and the “color and light” artwork that’s created to give a glimpse at the overall feeling and emotion of each scene.
A couple examples are below. The first shows the evolution of Dean Hardscrabble, originally designed to be an older male character, ultimately becoming an elegant but imposing female. The second offers a glimpse into how Randy Newman has commanded an impressive orchestra for each of the Pixar films he’s scored.
For Pixar fans, the bonus disc of “Monsters University” alone is worth the purchase price, in addition to the excellent film and enjoyable “Blue Umbrella” short that comes with it.
“Monsters University” Blu-ray 3D is available now from Amazon and all other major retailers.