Monday, November 30, 2009

The Monster Squad Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 44.4 GB
Film Size: 23.9 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

Video
The Monster Squad comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. I am actually very pleased by the high-def presentation, aside from a few issues. While the film isn't excessively dirty, specks and dirt do pop up at quite a constant pace. I felt the film could have been cleaned up a bit more, but then again I'm more happy to have this film on Blu-ray over waiting years like we did for the DVD release.

The film's colors are actually quite nice and there is great depth present at times, creating a slight 3D pop for the 80s horror flick. Grain is always present, although not as excessive as I had expected, rest assured it is there though. My biggest issue overall though is the black levels, they definitely vary from scene to scene with some that are impressive and others that are quite disappointing.

Regardless of the issues, the upgrade from the DVD release is quite clear from the very beginning and will leave fans thrilled by it's high-def presentation. Based on the amount of time it took to come to DVD, I have serious doubts we will see a re-release of the film on Blu-ray. Overall though this is a good high-def presentation. 7.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included as well as the original 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track. I wasn't expecting much of the 5.1 lossless mix due to obvious limitations from the original source. What we get on Blu-ray is nothing special, but improvement is also clear from the 2.0 Dolby Digital track.

Dialogue and effects stay front-heavy for the most part, but it does expand to a more aggressive surround use when the mixers felt fitting. I actually think the surround use was well placed, while still retaining the classic campy feel of the film. The track is hardly aggressive but it's certainly pleasing. 7.5/10.

Extras

Audio Commentary
with Writer/Director Fred Dekker & Squad members Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert & Ashley Bank.

Audio Commentary
with Writer/Director Fred Dekker & Director of Photography Bradford May

Monster Squad Forever! (HD)
An extensive five-part retrospective presented in high-definition.
The Monster Master (9:05) (HD)
The Monster Makers (17:06) (HD)
The Monsters and The Squad (19:51) (HD)
Lights, Camera, Monsters! (20:13) (HD)
Monster Mania! (10:01) (HD)

A Conversation With Frankenstein (8:40) (SD)
Footage recorded in 1986 druing the last week of shooting, an interview with Frankenstein.

Deleted Scenes (14:00) (SD)
Both deleted and extended scenes are included.

Animated Storyboard Sequence (1:40) (HD)
Collection of original storyboards designed for the final fight in the film. They are presented above the finalized product.

Still Gallery (5:40) (HD)
Production photos and more are included.

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:56) (HD)

TV Spot (:31) (HD)

Also From Lionsgate (2:40) (HD)
A trailer for Stargate: 15th Anniversary as well as a montage trailer for horror films available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Bookmarks
A place where all your bookmarks from the film are placed, making it easy to return to where you left off in the film.

We get some very nice extras on this release, particularly the 'Monster Squad Forever!' retrospective, which is presented in high-def and features many steps of production as well as interviews with the cast and crew.

The audio commentaries are also quite fun, as are the deleted and extended scenes. There is plenty of features to enjoy on this release, the fact that there are actual high-def features on this release makes me ecstatic. 8.5/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Monster Squad is best described as The Goonies meets Ghostbusters. a group of children who form a group to fight monsters and call themselves 'The Monster Squad.'

The film features many of the monsters made famous from Universal Studios horror productions of the 40's and 50's, although slightly different as Universal Studios had passed on the production of this film when it was originally pitched to them.

The film is very humorous but mixed with intense action scenes quite well. It never reaches the point of feeling like a spoof film, which I think is what's so great about it. The characters in the film are pretty much awesome, as are the monsters who certainly steal the show.

The lines in the film are great, as is the final battle in the scene between the Monster Squad and the monsters. This is a fun film that can certainly be enjoyed by kids and adults, despite some mildly inappropriate but funny jokes and words. 8.5/10.

It's amazing to see the film on Blu-ray so soon in the format's life and it comes with very few issues. The Blu-ray release features good video and audio presentations, with a very nice amount of bonus features included. The Monster Squad is such a fun film, it's easily 'Recommended' to anyone and everyone.


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