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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Monsters vs. Aliens [Blu-ray]


(Rob Letterman + Conrad Vernon, 2009)


  Re-released November 30th, 2010:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Paramount Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:34:21.697

Disc Size: 40,636,279,727 bytes

Feature Size: 25,330,638,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.92 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 29th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3379 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3379 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Plus Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps



English, English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



 B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and his monstrous crew are on a mission to bust out of Area 52, the government’s top-secret holding cell. Led by mad-scientist Dr. Cockroach P.H.D. (Hugh Laurie) and macho amphibian The Missing Link (Will Arnett), the trio outwits grizzled General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) to make a triumphant escape…almost.
The Monsters vs. Aliens Blu-ray includes the following:
• B.O.B.’S Big Break in Monster 3D & 2D
• Paddle Ball Game in Monster 3D
• Modern Monster Movie Making
• Three Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes:
* Monger’s Plan
* War Room Turns on Monsters
* If You Don’t Know
• DWA Music Video Juke Box
• Commentary with Lisa Stewart, Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon
• The tech of Monsters vs. Aliens
• Top Secret Sneak Peek Files:
*How To Train Your Dragon (HD)
* Shrek The Musical (HD)
* Kung Fu Panda World (HD)
* The Penguins of Madagascar (HD)
* Shrek The Halls (HD)
*Secrets of the Furious Five
* Monsters vs. Aliens Activision Game trailer
• Karaoke Music Party with:
*“More Than A Woman” with B.O.B.
* “Born To Be Wild” with Dr. Cockroach & Missing Link
* “I Will Survive” with Ginormica
•Exclusive Blu-ray Extras
* Animators’ Corner - Picture-In-Picture
* Trivia Track





Description: When Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is unexpectedly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall and is instantly labeled a “Monster” named Ginormica. The military jumps into action, and she is captured by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) and held in a secret government compound filled with other “monsters” like herself. This ragtag group consists of the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach P.H.D. (Hugh Laurie); the macho half-ape-half-fish The Missing Link (Will Arnett); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement time is cut short however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and the motley crew of Monsters is called into action to save the world from imminent destruction.



The Film:

On her wedding day, sweet Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is mutated by a meteorite; just as she walks down the aisle she grows to (I learn) just an inch short of 50 feet, maybe because Disney wanted to respect the copyright. Her husband (Paul Rudd) was no match for her, anyway, and now he really has Small Man Complex. After she wreaks havoc with every step, the media names her Ginormica, no doubt sidestepping "Amazonia" so as not to offend the lesbian lobby.

She's snatched by the feds and deposited in a secret government prison holding other monsters, who have been languishing since the 1950s. They're old enough that, if they escape, they could terrorize the subway on a senior pass.

Earth is invaded by an robot, which has one big eyeball in the middle of its head, like a giant Leggs pantyhose container bred with an iSight camera. Gen. W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) and the President (Stephen Colbert) are helpless to deal with this threat, and in desperation release the monsters to save Earth. Springing, leaping, skittering or oozing into battle, we have Ginormica at the head of an army including B.O.B., Insectosaurus, Dr. Cockroach and the Missing Link.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

I believe this was offered at 3-D in some locations, but although the glasses are included - they are for a supplement not the main feature which is in 2-D.


There really is no viable way to critique the image quality transfers of digital animation on Blu-ray - it's more subjective on how much you like or dislike the style. As far as the visuals go - the 1080P image must be such a strong facsimile of the original theatrical that few could differentiate between. Although some may find this animation lesser than what is produced by the Dinsey-arm Pixar - I thought this Dreamworks effort looked pretty amazing myself. I liked it much more than, say, Kung Fu Panda as a recent comparison. Characters looks fairly real - with expected exaggerated features (large eyes on the girls) - but never so much they they become absurd caricatures that don't, at least, resemble reality. As I say - it's a personal preference but the style was well-matched to the story with people, aliens and monsters. Colors are very bright, but never glossy, detail is as strong as intended with the only blur an intentional effect to represent motion. There was a bit of depth - it runs smooth and it's quite tight. The feature takes up 25 Gig and there are obviously no enhancements to alter the image for home theater presentation.




















Audio :

The audio is a strong, well-separated Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track at 3379 kbps. The film is rife with effect noises (technically I guess everything beyond the dialogue is an 'effect noise'). It all sounds exceptionally dynamic. I must admit that everything reports a little crisper since installing my new APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V 5.1. In Monsters vs. Aliens both the high-end and the bass were very responsive. It's one of the better track I can recall from an animated feature - although there have been some exemplary efforts in this field. This track had no weaknesses that I could ascertain from the opening space sequences to Henry Jackman's lively score. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide. 


Extras :

There is a lot listed but it's mostly good stuff although my kids and I loved the film I wasn't intending to indulge in every nook and cranny of supplement offered - but I eventually did. The commentary with producer Lisa Stewart, and the two directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon was very light. It was surprising how much the trio took part in the film 'creation' including the occasional voices. The expected tech details were discussed as well as kudos to the entire crew involved in the film. They got along very well and while enthusiastic at times - it was never an overload of details. For some the extra animated short feature (13-minutes) with the monster characters entitled B.O.B.’S BIG BREAK (under 'Out-Of-This-World Fun' Section) will be something to watch. B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and his monstrous crew are on a mission to bust out of Area 52, the government’s top-secret holding cell. Led by mad-scientist Dr. Cockroach P.H.D. (Hugh Laurie) and macho amphibian The Missing Link (Will Arnett), the trio outwits grizzled General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) to make a triumphant escape… almost. It comes in both regular and 3-D flavors with those cheapo glasses included in the package. Under the same heading is a "Karaoke Music Party" with three songs (words appear underneath in large yellow type) - “More Than A Woman” with B.O.B., “Born To Be Wild” with Dr. Cockroach & Missing Link and “I Will Survive” with Ginormica There are 3 deleted scenes and a 17-minutes 'Making of...' and more. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are the Animators’ Corner - Picture-In-Picture and a Trivia Track. Some of the features are in HD on the Blu-ray. It's stacked but not overkill - there is a lot of fun stuff to indulge in.



I loved this. The whole creature-feature referencing was a lot of fun. I liked the animation and it was well-paced - good for kids and adults. The Blu-ray's A/V is flawless and there are some enjoyable supplements. Critics seemed to have had a lukewarm reaction to this but I was much more positive on the entertainment value. To each his own - I recommend - it will get a fair amount of play and replay in my household.  

Gary Tooze

September 17th, 2009


  Re-released November 30th, 2010:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V 5.1

Gary W. Tooze








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