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Title: Monster High: Welcome to Monster High

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1star:

HTS Overall Score:70

Ahh, “Monster High”. The license to print money as every school child within the U.S.A. seems to be infatuated with having all sorts of “Monster High” stickers, shoes, backpacks, toys, and the movies in their life. While I may joke about certain young children’s animated shows as only existing to sell toys and paraphernalia, “Monster High” is EXACTLY that. The animated movies are nothing more than a marketing way for the creators to sell all sorts of physical products to parents who are tired of hearing their kids beg for the newest “Monster High” toy, or backpack. I’ve reviewed most of the series in the past and I have to say that this is the most different and unique movie of the series. Instead of just another day inside the high school, we actually get taken back to the origins of Draculaura and Monster High itself. Not to mention a complete revamp of the visuals (something that has big a big weakness for the DVDs and Blu-rays in the past).

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Ok, maybe not a galaxy, but in an old Transylvanian mansion. Inside said mansion lived our little friend Draculaura (Debi Derryberry) and her father, Dracula, where the pair lived in isolation from the world. Years and years of solitude is a bit boring though, and Draculaura is about fed up with it. Things change for the young ghoul when she meets Frankie, another monster who lives just over the hill in hiding. Wheedling her father into letting Frankie stay with them, the two girls decide to unite the hidden monsters of the world and create a high school for freaks like them. However, making a high school is easy enough when you have the tools, but what about students? Utilizing a magic talisman that her father has, Draculaura is able to transport herself around the world and recruit young monsters to come and live with them at Monster High.

As with all these “Monster High” films, there is always a two part story in the structured tale, and this one is no different. Trying to recruit another monster the girls run into someone who DOESN’T want to be a part of monster high. Monica Decay just wants to use her zomboys to take over the world. Desperately trying to make friends with the ticked off girl, the rest of the main cast end up just making things worse. Especially when Monica comes back to Monster High saying sweet things, but glowering with a look that reeks of hidden motives.

Honestly, the “Monster High” series is not on my top 5 list for children’s animation. I much prefer “Thomas & Friends”, “Tinkerbell”, and even the “Barbie” movies to “Monster High”. The cheap nature of the CGI animation and the insipid, clichéd storytelling is ok for little children, but plain torture for parents and babysitters. However, I have to say that this one was a decent chunk better than any of the rest of the series. It’s not a GREAT film, but it is certainly different and has a nice shiny makeover in the digital animation department (something that has been a sore spot for the series ever since its inception). The inner workings of how all the girls guys of Monster High met is done decently well and I actually cracked a smile here and there.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
Wow, it looks like the “Monsters High” animation department finally got with modern times. The series has always been source restricted and looks very very cruddy most of the time. Aliasing, haloing and muddled details all around. It looks like the series got a much needed facelift as the animation has been completely redone and given a shiny looking transfer on Blu-ray that is a revelation in comparison to what we’ve seen before. Sure there’s a little aliasing and a glimpse of haloing in one or two scenes, but the encode is a MASSIVE improvement in clarity and detail over what we’ve seen in the past. Colors are bright and garishly cheerful, and black levels maintain a healthy amount of depth to them. Overall the disc isn’t a Pixar film, but it is a nice looking disc that actually is worthy of the Blu-ray format.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track for “Welcome to Monster High” is a pleasant experience, and is very much in line with the way the series has always sounded over the years. Dialog is well replicated and anchored up front, while the surrounds get a solid workout with the sound of the zomboy’s steps thudding in the ground, as well as the howling if Clawdine and her pack, or the pulsing of the pop rock music that fills the sound stage. It’s a fairly aggressive track, especially with the rock music, which almost makes the movie feel like a music video at times. LFE is tight and powerful, mostly adding weight the music as well as a few fight scenes between the monsters and Monica.

Extras :1star:

• 'Ever After High' Special: Dragon Games - 'Shatter the Mirror'
• Previews

Overall: :3.5stars:

The film probably won’t win any new converts to the series, but it works well enough for the fans, as there is enough monster puns to choke a horse and plenty of snazzy pop rock music for the kids to sing along with. There’s some retconning of previous movies at times, but most people (especially the kids) won’t even notice what I’m talking about. The inclusion of MUCH better digitally animation makes the series look worthy of Blu-ray for once and the audio is up to its regular pleasing nature. Like always, I recommend that if your kids want the disc to go for the Blu-ray as it comes with a digital copy and the DVD as well, so you have the best of both worlds. Still not recommended as an adult, but for the little monsters in your household it happens to be the best “Monster High” film that I’ve been privy to.

Additional Information:

Starring: Laura Bailey, Cam Clarke, Debi Derryberry
Directed by: Stephen Donnelly, Olly Reid
Written by: Stephen Donnelly, Shane Ampsterdamn
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: NR
Runtime: 73 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 27th 2016

Buy Monster High: Welcome to Monster High On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: For the little ones

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