Monsters vs. Aliens appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the flick looked amazing.
Sharpness seemed immaculate. Not a single slightly soft shot emerged in this tight, precise image.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I witnessed no edge haloes or artifacts. Print flaws also failed to appear.
Colors delighted. The movie mixed a variety of palette choices; from warm and sunny to chilly and desaturated, we found a good variety of tones, and the flick always made them look dynamic and full.
Blacks came across as dark and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and clear. I felt totally satisfied with this terrific presentation.
Though not quite as good, the film’s Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack also worked very well. With all the movie’s action, the mix gave us many active moments and lots of impressive sequences.
Flying elements zoomed around the room, and other components – like battle material – made strong use of the various channels. These all combined to form a well-integrated soundscape.
Audio quality was top-notch. Speech appeared distinctive and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music seemed robust and rich, while effects gave us clean, accurate information; bass response also appeared deep and taut. Everything here worked well to create an “A-“ soundtrack.
The package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Aliens. The picture comments above reflected the 2D edition – how did the 3D compare?
Visuals seemed virtually identical, as the 3D movie continued to look great. It showed nary a dip in terms of sharpness, colors or darkness.
In terms of stereo imaging, Aliens dazzled. Literally from start to finish, it came with a slew of fun “pop out” moments, and the image boasted a stunning sense of depth as well.
Honestly, the 3D Aliens almost felt like a different movie. It represented my third screening of the film but it was my first via 3D, and it became the only one I genuinely enjoyed. This turned into one of the best uses of 3D I’ve seen.
Only one extra appears on the Blu-ray disc: a 3D trailer for Puss in Boots.
The package does provide a DVD copy of Aliens, though, and it comes with some extras that open with an audio commentary from directors Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman and producer Lisa Stewart. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at animation and character design, cast and performances, deleted concepts/sequences, music and connected domains.
While the commentary provides occasional nuggets of value, much of it seems bland and forgettable. We get a fair amount of joking around but not a lot of substance. The track does improve as it goes, but it remains less than engaging overall.
Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 29 seconds. We get “Monger’s Plan” (2:55), “War Room Turns on Monsters” (1:49), and “If You Don’t Know” (0:45). These can be entertaining but don’t offer anything particularly memorable.
Two featurettes follow. Modern Monster Movie-Making lasts 17 minutes, 28 seconds and includes executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, Letterman, Vernon, Stewart, stereoscopic supervisor Phil McNally, head of layout Damon O’Beirne, actors Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert and Seth Rogen, co-producer Jill Hopper Desmarchelier, production designer David James, and art director Michael Isaak.
“Monster” looks at 3D usage, cast, characters and performances, visual design and creating San Francisco, and animation. Some of this info came up elsewhere, but “Monster” presents a good overview.
Tech of MvA runs six minutes, 19 seconds and features Katzenberg, Vernon, Letterman, O’Beirne, Desmarchelier, Chief Technology Officer Ed Leonard, research and development FX manager Ron Henderson, FX developer Scott Cegielski, Head of Digital Operations Derek Chan, and visual effects supervisor Ken Bielenberg.
“Tech” focuses on animation, 3D and computer areas. Like “Monster”, some of this becomes a bit redundant, but we still find some interesting notes – though the program features a little more product placement than I’d like.
With the DreamWorks Animation Jukebox, we see/hear songs from Shrek, Bee Movie, Flushed Away, Over the Hedge, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda. All of this feels like glorified advertising to me.
At least one Easter Egg appears here. If you press “Do Not Press”, you’ll find a bunch of ads for other DreamWorks products. Yawn!
As much as I like the ideas behind Monsters vs. Aliens, the movie itself leaves me curiously cold. I think it musters passable entertainment but it lacks much charm or excitement. The Blu-ray brings us excellent visuals and audio as well as a decent batch of bonus materials. This will never be a great movie, but the 3D makes it a lot more fun.
To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of MONSTERS VS. ALIENS