Monster House DVD Review
The disc has been given an anamorphic widescreen 2.40:1 transfer that is as clean and crisp as we've come to expect from CGI. There are two distinct pallets, reds and browns for outside the house, greens and blues for inside and all are realised with striking bold colours. Detail is perfect right down to skin imperfections, on CGI no less, there is no softening and holds edges well into the distance. Contrast and brightness give firm true blacks and impenetrable shadows. I spotted no compression problems, nor edge enhancement, as clean a print as you can get.
Thankfully the English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track is every bit as good as the visuals. It is fully immersive and rounded, with very good separation, each speaker getting a chance to shine. There are some terrific effects from wind and leaves at the beginning to the creaks and roars of the house. Bass is reassuringly deep, with many LF effects to keep the sub happy, but subtle enough to keep an even tone to the dialogue ensuring it sounds natural. In short a terrific sound track backs up the terrific visuals, DVD at its best.
ExtrasFirst up is an audio commentary by the 'film makers', but that's pretty much all I can tell you since no one actually introduces themselves. I think there are four, but there maybe one more, or one less. Anyway all are recorded separately and then edited together; the worst kind of commentary as you loose all the banter of a group. As it is there is some fairly static information given about various sections of the film making procedure, casting, acting in the suits, animation style etc, but it is all delivered without much enthusiasm and made worse by the pauses. I'd avoid.
Next up is a series of featurettes entitled Imaginary Heroes, Beginner's Luck, The Best of Friends, Lots of Dots, Black Box Theatre, Making It Real, Did You Hear That that can thankfully be watched all together with the play all function. It runs for about 20 minutes and covers most of the aspects of the film. Each segment has interviews and behind the scenes film, but also lengthy excepts from the film itself, in the end it felt rather light.
The Evolution of a scene: Eliza vs. Nebbercracker section starts off with a three minute featurette explaining the steps needed to reach the final frame, from story boards through to animatics to performance capture; there is then the title scene that can be viewed from any of the six 'angles', the final one being the best as that has all the steps at the same time.
The Art of Monster House - Photo Gallery is an uncountable number of pictures from concept to finished product.
There is also some DVD-rom content, but I never looked at it.
After some initial reservations I came to warm to Monster House as a scary fun ride that the kids will get more out of than most. As a DVD set, an excellent picture and sound package is let down by a rather weak selection of extras.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.99
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