HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Monster High: Haunted
HTS Overall Score:64
If you’re reading this review then I really don’t have to say much as the show pretty much speaks for itself. “Monster High” is a grade schooler level marketing move that is making creators money hand over fist as I notice younger aged school children covered with various stickers, pins, lunch boxes etc with “Monster High” colors glaringly obvious. As a parent I’m sure you’re inundated with “Monster High”, “Tinkerbell” and the other animated movies that make up children’s entertainment in this day and age. “Monster High” is one of the least offensive series that sticks to the classic method of having a kids show that wraps around a moral “lesson of the week” and tries to be as hip and in style as humanely possible, while also creating an entire line of children’s clothes, accessories, school supplies and the like to drain the wallets of us parents.
“Monster High: Haunted” revolves around a two pronged story. For the 1st half of the movie we deal with the school gossip columnist, Spectra Vondergeist (Erin Fitzgerald) and her mistakes made. Spectra is desperate for a scoop and the gossip column is pretty much dry as a bone lately. When she hears that the schools werewolf population is coming down with “were fleas”, she instantly jumps on the opportunity and goes to town writing up the gossip. Sooner or later we run across the obvious problem that Spectra didn’t check her facts and is now doing a lot of harm to the poor werewolves as the school’s reputation takes a hit.
Next, Draculaura (Debi Derryberry) thinks that she’s being haunted by a ghost, and Spectra (who happens to be the ghost of Monster High) takes it upon herself to investigate the issue. Slipping into an alternate dimension, she along with the rest of the crew are ferried to an all Ghost school that is being run by a straight laced school principal. The girls instantly baulk at the over aggressive style of teaching and try to set things proper in the ghost world, siding with a rebellious art student in order to save Spectra from the clutches of the principal (who decides that Spectra needs to stay with them in the ghost world with her own kind).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=41970[/img]The stories are clichéd and cheesy, but they seem to resonate with the younger population. We’ve all heard the stories before. In the first one we recognize the all too common issue of jumping to conclusions instead of checking your facts and getting a proper story. The second is all about understanding differences and coming to a harmonious relationship despite said differences. It’s the same thing every time. A tidbit of knowledge needs to be learned for our characters to mature and teach the kiddy winks at home the same lesson as well. Hijinks and oops are made along the way and we get to see the colorful realm deal with life lessons in much the same way your children have to learn, just with less ghosts and ghouls.
“Haunted” doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but fans of the series will get the same level of enjoyment from this ghostly adventure as they have had from episodes past. The series isn’t wildly inventive or extremely intelligent, but I have seen much worse in the guise of children’s entertainment and will satisfy that need for a digital baby sitter while mom and/or dad is making dinner that evening.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=41978[/img]Once again “Monster High” fans are given a rather muddled and nasty looking 1080p transfer. For some reason there doesn’t seem to be a good source for the show as it barely looks better than the DVD with a transfer that looks overly soft and riddled with compression artifacts. After seeing so much consistency with these Blu-rays it looks like the source material is to blame as many other of Universal’s animated DTV releases look exceptional. There is a hazy look to the image that doesn’t lend itself to high definition very well and leaves the viewer rather dissatisfied in world that is nearly always high definition. Colors are bright and cheery, but slightly smeared, and the black levels look pretty decent if it wasn’t for the excessive crush. The positive to the whole situation is that the price of the Blu-ray includes a digital copy and the DVD included so for those on the go it makes for a more appealing package.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=41986[/img]The audio, on the other hand, sounds a whole heap better with a wildly aggressive sound mix that pairs quite nicely with the overly exuberant children’s shows. The music with sugar pop and light rock beats pulses nicely from all direction and creates a nice sense of envelopment for the listener. LFE pounds with a consistent level of weight giving the track a nice sense of depth and impressive punch. The surrounds also contain a large amount of fine detail with rattling chains and characters nails along the wall to add to the creep (for a children’s show) factor. The dialog sounds a bit harsh, but it seems to be par for the course as I have noticed this with the other “Monster High” outings as well.
• Animated Short: Lochness Lorna
• Animated Short: Sayonara Draculaura
The “Monster High” movies are very obviously aimed at a specific target demographic as the copious back packs adorned with buttons, pins and other sundry pieces of artwork seem to suggest amongst grade schoolers. Adults will find the show derivative and tedious, but the legions of child fans dictate that we as good parents add these films to the collection. Bluntly put, if your child is a fan of the series, “Monster High: Haunted” is going to please them as much as the other films put out by the ghoulish animated school. The video is about what you’d expect for the series to date, and the audio does quite nicely by comparison. Recommended for fans of the series.
Starring: Laura Bailey, Cam Clarke, Debi Derryberry
Directed by: Dan Fraga, William Lau
Written by: Keith Wagner
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian DTS 5.1
Runtime: 76 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 24th 2015
Buy Monster High: Haunted On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: For the little ones
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