Teen monsters track down a vampire queen
While the dolls, with their distinct looks and monster-related backstories, have their own universe going on, that plot was pretty much limited to the constraints of the imagination of the owner of the dolls. With the cartoon movies and shorts Hasbro has brought out, undoubtedly as promotion for the toys, much like G.I. Joe and numerous other series, they've given the girls (and boys) in the series a set persona and voice, and set them in the titular school, where their teen drama gets a horror twist. This is good, if a child's imagination can run wild with the "bible" the cartoons provide. If it's just repeating, there's a definite problem.
In this film, Draculaura, daughter of the famous Dracula, has a problem with the hot new vampire movies, because they don't represent the truth about the world of vampires. While everyone else just enjoys the movies for what they are, she takes it personally. This is important, especially when she finds out that she is going to be the next Vampire Queen. Well...not exactly, but there's a lot of plotting behind the scenes, which sends Draculaura and a few of her friends back home to prepare for her coronation, which then leads to a scavenger hunt across the world to find a legendary piece of vampire treasure and set things straight.
Meanwhile, back at school, the vampire movies have started a struggle between fans of the two guys who star in the films over who is cuter. While the guys don't see much of a difference, the girls go so far as to convene the Cute Court to determine a final verdict. Though there's a silliness here that's admirable, the focus on "cuteness" is problematic, just like the focus of the girls who go to Draculaura's castle and get stuck on shoes, clothes and make-up. You've got a school full of people with special abilities and powers, everything from werewolves to steampunk robots to underwater creatures, but all they care about is who likes who and whether they look cute. At least one character makes an attempt to point out the unimportance of surface looks, but it's given short shrift. Monster High is not the place to turn to for morals or life lessons, and certainly not role models.
It is however the best place to turn to for horror-related puns, this world's key identifier. They may as well be Smurfs for the way they change language to fit their culture, from turning "anybody" into "anybloody" to places known in this film as Londoom, New Gorleans and Hauntlywood. There's a campy cuteness to all this, and there's certainly a few references that breach the kids-only bubble, like a movie director named "Scarantino," but by and large, this one is aimed directly at the kiddies, and will entertain them. That especially goes for the final end run of the movie, where the plot resolution coming is more evident that a Mack truck three inches from your face. It's one of those movies where, if your child is a fan, you bite the bullet and spend an hour reading a book while they enjoy themselves. That's fine, because if you're a discerning fan of animation, you're not really going to want to watch the CG animation this film tries to pawn off as a feature film. There's little that's worse in animation than overly-glossy, texture-light CG animation, and that's exactly what you're getting here.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 included with this film fits well with the video, in that neither impresses, as the presentation plays down to its likely audience, likely expecting that young girls aren't very concerned with dynamic mixing. That's a good thing, since there's little to no action in the surrounds and the low-end barely registers. There's nothing overtly wrong with the audio but it definitely is lacking when compared to most of today's non-bargain animated releases.
Also included are three previews for other Monster High videos.
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