Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monster House 3D Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 38.3 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABC
The Video
Monster House 3D comes to Blu-ray 3D with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation, with both 2D and 3D viewing options.

Unfortunately at the time of review, I did not have a copy of the original Blu-ray release on hand to compare it to. However, I did find the 2D viewing mode to be very strong and likely the same viewing experience found on the original release.

The animation style looks good on Blu-ray, but the technology does seem fairly outdated in so little time. Regardless, the transfer was free of technical issues and presented everything accurately. I did have a DVD copy on hand to compare and the upgrade is incredibly clear.

The 3D viewing mode is fantastic and actually better than I anticipated. The film being older than other 3D titles on the format, I thought it would be far less impressive to be honest. However, this film is actually just as impressive as currently available releases.

Monster House’ is one of those films that were definitely made with 3D in mind and the made-for-3D moments are obvious regardless of viewing mode. From the opening title ‘Monster House’ to the house pulling in someone as they reach out towards the screen, it is all quite impressive.

The 3D effects are more in your face this time around, not like other films in which the 3D is more intended for a bit of added depth. Yes, there is added depth throughout this one as well, but those looking for things coming out at you will be very pleased by this release.

The only real issue I had with the release is that the film’s animation does look a bit outdate, making it look very cheap compared to animation today. The 3D pop is very strong and I found it much more impressive than Monsters vs. Aliens while comparing to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (which ultimately has a better high-def presentation, 3D effects aside).

Overall, 3D viewers will love this presentation, but those viewing in 2D will find better animated demo material on Blu-ray. 8/10.

The Audio
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio are the lossless tracks included. Also included is a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The film’s audio mix is fairly front heavy, but when a scene gets more exciting the mix gets more exciting. What I really liked about the DTS-HD Master Audio track is the impressive clarity and overall balance.

Dialogue is presented as crisp and clear as one could imagine and it truly sounds great. The film has plenty of audio effects throughout which also are surprisingly crisp and lifelike; the mix also has great direction.

The film’s music comes through clearly as well and balances nicely with the rest of the mix. Everything about the track impressed me. We definitely have heard better audio mixes on Blu-ray, but there is no denying that this is one impressive audio mix. Any viewer will be more than pleased by the high-def clarity. 8.5/10.

The Extras

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3D Sneak Peek (1:32) (HD)

Open Season 3D Sneak Peek (1:30) (HD)

Audio Commentary
By the filmmakers.

Inside Monster House (24:40) (SD)
Imaginary Heroes
Beginner’s Luck
The Best of Friends
Lots of Dots
Black Box Theater
Making It Real
Did You Hear That?

Evolution of a Scene: Eliza vs. Nebbercracker (20:01) (SD)
Story Reel Animatic
Performance Capture
Layout Stage
Final Film

The Art of Monster House (Image galleries)
Conceptual Art
Places & Things

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later via the bookmarks feature.

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest trailers for upcoming Sony Pictures theatrical and Blu-ray releases.

The extras on this release are all ported over from the previous Blu-ray release and DVD release. There are many featuretes, available as separate and play all options under their categories. The featurettes are interesting, particularly the motion capture footage.

The audio commentary was confusing as there was not one specific person(s) on the track, I later found out it is a bunch of different interviews, etc. put together to make an audio commentary track. Lame. Commentary subtitles include English, Spanish and Portuguese.

There are also 3D sneak peeks for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3D and Open Season 3D. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is already on Blu-ray (3D Review), Open Season 3D is expected closer to the Open Season 3 theatrical release. 6/10.

The Movie
Monster House, the 2006 film which I still feel is quite overlooked and under-appreciated is back on Blu-ray with a 3D viewing mode. The film didn’t appeal to everyone upon its release, particularly due to its scary story and alienating younger viewers in the process. The film was nominated for an Oscar, so it isn’t to say that the film was completely unrecognized though.

The film is actually very smart and very entertaining, one which is actually a great family film. If you have younger viewers who scare easily, then this one probably won’t be the best idea quite yet, but anyone over eight should be fine and likely enjoy the film despite scarier moments.

The film is directed by Gil Kenan and includes a fairly impressive cast of voices. Mitchel Musso voices lead character DJ, with a supporting cast that includes Sam Lerner, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Katharine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner and Fred Willard.

The movie’s story is far from perfect, but I really enjoyed the characters and the story overall. The film is very much like ‘The Goonies’ and ‘The Monster Squad’, and while not necessarily as good it is still incredibly enjoyable. I loved the mystery and adventure in the film, which ultimately make the film very enjoyable for adults as well.

The film experience in 3D is actually very fun and adds to the movie experience as a whole. The Blu-ray video quality with the impressive audio track added to the mix makes this one incredibly immersive experience.

Monster House is just a fun little adventure which does have some notable storyline flaws, but I still find myself very impressed by this animated title. Fans of the film will likely want to experience the movie in 3D, recreating the theatrical experience. New viewers to the film will likely be equally enchanted and surprised by Monster House in 3D. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Monster House 3D is fun movie which may be even more entertaining to the adults in the family then it is to the kids. The Blu-ray release features a good video presentation, an even better 3D experience, and an incredibly crisp audio mix.

The extras are all ported over from the previous Blu-ray and DVD release which is great. A DVD copy would have been a nice addition, but likely not an issue for those with 3D setups already/fans of the film. Overall the Blu-ray 3D release is ‘A Must Own’ for those with a 3D setup, ‘Highly Recommended’ to fans and easily ‘Recommended’ to everyone else.

Additional Screenshots: (From the Blu-ray 3D Disc)

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Owen said...

So this is region free right? I'll be able to play an American copy on my UK 3D Player?

Loys Johnson said...

The packaging specifically shows that it is Region ABC compatible, Sony has never incorrectly listed a title as ABC, so you should be fine.

Let me know if you have anymore questions! :)