Movies, Books & Disney+

“Monsters University” Blu-Ray DVD Review: Scaring Up a Wealth of Bonus Features!

One of our favorite films of the summer was Monsters University. Sequels (or prequels, as in this case) often don’t measure up to the original film, but Monsters University stayed true to the original characters and delivered a winner. Now on Blu-ray/DVD, the filmmakers scared up a trove of bonus features to enjoy!

We received the two-disc Monsters University set to review. At first I thought there weren’t many bonus features, but it turned out that they were mostly on the second disc!

The bonus features are told through the Pixar artists and filmmakers, and some seem to be more about Pixar life than the film itself.

The Monsters University bonus feature I enjoy most is Welcome to MU, hosted by director Dan Scanlon (who is part of many of the bonus features). This section talks about creating the look and feel of college life in terms of architecture. My first exposure to Monsters University was at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, where Disney created the university archway gate from the film. Soon after, concept art with the same designs appeared at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so I was very familiar with what the architecture would look like when the film opened. In the bonus features, the archway is said to be a “symbol of crossing over into the next phase of his (Mike Wazowski’s) life”. Teeth are a large part of the motif, and what I thought were gargoyles are really important monsters to the University. Even bird poop was added quite liberally to the statues to show that there is life on campus, to give the film more realism.

One special feature I’ve not seen often in films is scoring, which is under Music Appreciation. Dan Scanlon talks about scoring sessions while over 100 musicians get together on a huge stage to create the music for the film with composer Randy Newman, who has scored 7 Disney/Pixar films.

The Deleted Scenes are early drawings from the film, and the first scene shown could have completely changed the feel of Monsters University. A line from Monsters Inc. about meeting in 4th grade created a bit of an issue for the filmmakers. Should this new film be set in elementary school, or should they be shown meeting in elementary school and then skip to college? In the end, with help from John Lasseter and Pete Doctor, they decided to pretend that line never existed. Mike and Sulley were now meeting in college.

One other bonus feature I enjoyed immensely was Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective. I remember being blown away by the fur on Sulley when Monsters Inc. first debuted. It was unlike anything I’d seen before in an animated film. This feature shares how the 1 million hairs on Sulley were animated, and shares how the technology is used in animation now.

A few of the bonus features fell flat for me, but there is a wealth to choose from!

As far as the film itself, Monsters University looks gorgeous on Blu-ray. The story of how Mike and Sulley met in college and became scarers is sure to resonate with most anyone!

We were invited back in May to a press conference for Monsters University with Billy Crystal and John Goodman. There is an easy friendship between the two actors that translates into the movie.