HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef
HTS Overall Score:61
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. The “Monster High” film series is nothing but another avenue for a cash grabbing franchise that is making MILLIONS on young kids. If you go to any middle school or younger institution backpacks, shoes, etc are covered with all sorts of “Monster High” paraphernalia, and little girls are running around with stickers in their notebooks or pencils from the toy line in their supplies, and even dolls of the ghoulish characters. The films exists to bring the branding for the series directly into the home so that mom and dad are inundated with a steady stream of product ads to get more and more of the products into the kids grubby little hands. It’s ingenious really. The popularity and prosperity of the brand name says it all and even though I’d much rather watch a “Barbie” or “Tinkerbell” film (yes, I actually said that), they act as passable entertainment for the kiddy winks.
“Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef” is another in a long line of films that is saturated with horror/ghoul puns and lots and lots of self-esteem. In reality the stories are basically the same each and every film. The girls and boys of Monster High have to overcome some fear or squabble amongst themselves and come out better on the other side. All the while spouting pun after pun and high fiving each other for being unique and special. It’s simple, but an effective tool for young children to get it through their heads that they are actually worth something, no matter what a bully has to say to you. This time it’s the big dance recital for the school, and Draculaura, Clawdene, and Frankie are getting ready for the final performance. Things get a bit sticky when the catty (literally), Toralei starts making fun of Laguna, a slightly shy underwater monster for not wanting to be in the show. It seems that Laguna actually CAN dance really well, but has a horrible case of stage fright. After getting humiliated in front of the entire school for her dance movies, Toralei takes out her frustration on Laguna, by putting her in the spotlight and thus causing the poor girl to crack.
Arguments ensue and soon and the two girls are at each other’s throats, even going so far as to ruin the after school party and causing Posea Reef, the daughter of Poseidon, to draw them into the ocean and pit Laguna up against her worst fears. The past now comes back to haunt Laguna, as she is forced to go back to her home village underwater and face off against the bully who picked on her and created the stage fright issue to begin with. Even if it may end up killing her.
The series has always been about acceptance and loving who you are at heart. There’s even a big poster in the hallway that says “Be yourself, be unique, be a monster”, and that’s exactly what the fairly cookie cutter story tries to impart on the viewer. The theme is presented in a rather straightforward manner and is rather effective in the end. However, I still can’t get over the myriad of badly done puns, horrible animation style that looks like it was made in 2000, not 2016, and the amazingly bad voice acting. That being said, I have to fully admit that I’m not the target demographic for this particular film series, and the popularity of the series means that the kids are eating it up. I hate to recommend the film as there are SOOOO many better animated kids shows to watch, but it’s passable entertainment that isn’t really offensive (except to the palate).
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=67858[/img]"Monster High: Freak Fusion" is released on Blu-ray with a mediocre 1.78:1 encoded image. The main showcase feature of the set being COLOR COLOR COLOR! If anything you can't knock the show for being lackluster in the color department as the image is saturated with blues, purples, green, reds and all shades in between for the entire run time. Detail is a bit spotty as the show tends to be a bit soft and a little bit hazy every once in a while as the Direct to Video budget shows its constraints. However I can't fault Universal for this one as EVERY "Monster High" Blu-ray looks fairly similar with cruddy animation that seems to be source related vs. encoding relating. It's nothing to right home about and looks a bit poorer than some of the other titles I've reviewed of the series, but it's pretty much par for the course.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=67866[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track for "Great Scarrier Reef" is very solid. The track isn't going to be a wild monster track, and is less a 5.1 track as much as it is a 3.1 one track, since the surrounds aren't as engaging as . Sure, there are a few instances where you hear them light up with some ambient noises, but it's not very often. the dialogue is clean and clear, which is really the main thing they focused on in the very front heavy encoding and the dynamic range is pleasant, if not a bit cramped. LFE is present with a few minor bumps and whomps, and really is there to enhance the one or two heavily repeated pop/rock songs throughout track. It's very solid, although it doesn't really shine more than it just exists as a good workhorse of a track.
• Ever After High Special - Way Too Wonderland
Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef" is nothing new in the franchise. In fact it's really the same movie that the kids have seen time and time again over the last few years, just with a new set of pop rock songs and a new issue to deal with. This time it's all about identify and facing ones fears (or seeming to have no fear in the movie. I pretty much have given up recommending these to adults as I find the "Barbie" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" films a lot more palatable to watch over the kiddie winks shoulders. If your children has monster high stickers and paraphernalia all over their backpacks and clothes then they may very well find "Great Scarrier Reef" to their liking. For the fans.
Starring: Laura Bailey, Cameron Clarke, Erin Fitzgerald
Directed by: William Lau
Written by: Nina G. Bargiel
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DD 2.0, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 72 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 22nd 2016
Buy Monster High: Great Scarrier Reef Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: For the Kids
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