Two Ghouls Are Better Than One!

The Monster High series of dolls, movies, online resources and its accompanying fan base is a juggernaut. And the latest release, Monster High: Freaky Fusion (Blu-ray), just in time to scare up some Halloween fun, is sure to please your every ghoul.

Frankie Stein (Kate Higgins) is having a tough time at school. It’s time for her scaritage project and her folks won’t tell her anything about it besides her grandfather’s name, Victor Frankenstein. But while she worries about failing there’s a bright spot in her life as well. There’s a group of hybrids, two monsters in one, who join Monster High this year. And Frankie’s attention is caught by Neighthan Rot (Josey Montana McCoy), half unicorn-half zombie. So while Frankie and Neighthan mutually pine, Robecca Steam (Julie Maddalena) has an idea. If they can get to Robecca’s father’s workshop deep in the catacombs of Monster High, then they may be able to find his diary, which might contain information on Frankie’s grandfather, since Victor was a student when Robecca’s dad was a teacher back in 1814. Desperate to find out any information she can, Frankie quickly agrees. But, as this is Monster High, she naturally has to make the journey with all her ghoul-friends, which is where the story turns. The gang indeed finds Hexiciah Steam’s workshop but that’s not all they discover. There’s a machine which acts as a time portal while also accidentally fusing eight of the ghouls together. The newly-fused pairs are: Draculara (Debi Derryberry) and Robecca, Cleo (Salli Saffioti) and Toralei (America Young), Lagoona (Laura Bailey) and Jinafire (Stephanie Sheh), and Clawdeen(Salli Saffioti) and Venus (Julie Maddalena).

So now not only does our gang of ghouls have to navigate their way through Monster High as it was in 1814 and get back to their own time, they also have to find a way to reverse what the machine has done to become separate monsters again. But fortunately they have their new fusion friends to help to them in mastering the art of taking control of a body which has two different scaritages within. And I bring that up because it’s the only part of the story featuring a musical element which is a training montage of sorts overlaid with a pop song about embracing our different sides.

I’m a fan of Monster High: Freaky Fusion or, really, any film which delivers positive messages of self-esteem and the like to its audience. What sets this one apart from the other films in the Monster High catalog of releases is an understanding of who these characters are more than any other film. If you are not familiar with our A-team as it were then it will be difficult for you to not only connect to but recognize the fusions. Draculara, Cleo, Lagoona and Clawdeen are the dominant characters design-wise when the fusions occur and it’s only if you’re familiar with them that you’re able to really appreciate what the designers did when creating these new characters. The film is nicely paced and I appreciate the freshness the fusions bring to the existing characters. It’s easy to recommend Monster High: Freaky Fusion for fans of Monster High, and this Blu-ray specifically for the better quality it offers in terms of technical specifications.

The video transfer is a 2.40:1/1080p transfer and the animators have done something sneaky yet effective to keep the costs of animation down. If you’re really paying attention in any given scene the background, which can consist of merely settings or characters at times, will be in a soft focus with much less attention to detail. This is balanced out by the incredible attention to detail and the obvious care given to forefront and close up shots which are where the skill, effort and time are clearly displayed. The color palette tends to be a little darker just because of the nature of the monster genre however there’re pops of electric almost neon colors most notably pink and blue. There are no technical issues with the video stream to mention.

Likewise, the audio is almost an embarrassment of riches, with not only a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track being offered but also Dolby 5.1 with varying language options as well. Even though that musical portion I mentioned is fleeting it still works the sound system. I didn’t have to fuss with any volume issues and can’t complain about this portion of the technical specifications either.

Moving on to special features, we have not only a DVD but digital copy too making sure no matter where you are you have a way to watch your favorite ghouls. There’s also a collection of webisodes.

If you’re going to plunk down the money for Monster High: Freaky Fusion, I definitely recommend the Blu-ray. I watched the DVD as well and there is a noticeable difference between Blu-ray and DVD. It’s probably nothing the target audience is going to notice or comment upon mind you but if you’re going to shell out money why not get the Blu-ray pack which includes a DVD as well? It’s a win-win.

THE VERDICT

A fusion of not guilty and innocent.

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