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(Widescreen Edition)

For a kidís movie MONSTER HOUSE ($29) is more fun than you can shake a stick at. MONSTER HOUSE ($29) is a CGI delight that combines elements of a horror movie with those of a comedy to create a family friendly package that will please the kids and adults alike. The plot of MONSTER HOUSE plays with one of the very familiar scares of childhood- namely, that one house in every neighborhood, which all kids know to be haunted.

At the center of MONSTER HOUSE is a young protagonist named DJ. Now DJ is your average kid, one who is just on the verge of losing his childhood innocence, yet he is still primed to recognize that there is something odd about the house right across the street. Besides its creepy appearance, said house across the street is the domain of an elderly crank named Nebbercracker, who confiscates any childhood toy that happens to land on his property. When DJ attempts to recover his friend Chowderís basketball, he has a run in with the old man, which results in Nebbercracker collapsing and being taken away, which leaves his house unoccupied and able to take on a monstrous life of its own. Unable to get the adults to believe their suspicions about the evil domicile across the street, it falls to DJ, Chowder and Jenny (the new girl in their lives) to uncover the secrets of the Monster House. MONSTER HOUSE features the vocal talents of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, Ryan Newman, Woody Schultz, Ian McConnel, Jon Heder and Kathleen Turner.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made MONSTER HOUSE available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. MONSTER HOUSE looks pretty tremendous on DVD. Image clarity sharpness and detail are all first rate, with the CGI picture never failing to impress. Colors are vibrant and are rendered without flaws. Blacks are deep and true, while the whites are clean and crisp. Contrast is very smooth and the image produces terrific virtual shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts are very nicely concealed.

The impressive visual quality of MONSTER HOUSE is nearly equaled by its Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. This is a pretty aggressive mix that makes excellent use of the outlying channels to pan sound effects convincingly across the entire soundstage. Fidelity is very strong, with both the music and sound effects components coming across with a genuine sense of presence. Dialogue is fairly transparent and maintains excellent intelligibility. The bass channel provides plenty of house shaking moments. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice body of extra features. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary featuring director Gil Kenan and other participants. Next up we have a total of seven Featurettes that run between two and six minutes and include the following programs: Imaginary Heroes, Beginner's Luck, The Best Of Friends, Lots Of Dots, Black Box Theater, Making It Real, and Did You Hear That?. Evolution Of A Scene: Eliza Vs. Nebbercracker is a multi-angle look at an individual sequence taken though the various stages of animation. The Art Of Monster House offers a fairly detailed image gallery. Closing out the extras are a number of Bonus Trailers.

MONSTER HOUSE is a hoot of a family friendly computer animated horror/comedy. Sonyís DVD looks and sounds amazing and is certain to please anyone who pops it in their DVD player. Highly recommended.



Monster House (Widescreen Edition) (2006)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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