Monsters, Inc. is a great film that the entire family can enjoy. The story is cute and the voice talent Pixar puts together is once again done to perfection. This 3D Blu-ray combo pack offers up a nice 3D presentation but surprisingly also has a new lossless audio track upgrading from 5.1 channels to 7.1. The features are mostly the same with the exception of adding the Toy Story Tunes short film.
Genre(s): Animation, Comedy
Disney | G – 92 min. – $49.99 | February 19, 2013
Directed by: Pete Docter
Writer(s): Pete Docter & Jill Culton & Jeff Pidgeon & Ralph Eggleston (story), Andrew Stanton & Daniel Gerson (screenplay)
Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly
Theatrical Release Date: November 2, 2001
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Outtakes, Animated Shorts, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 5
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), English (Dolby Digital EX 5.1), French (Dolby Digital EX 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital EX 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 38.4 GB (2D), 41.9 GB (3D)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
“Monsters, Inc.: We Scare Because We Care”
Monsters, Inc. isn’t my favorite film in the Disney/Pixar line of mega-hits – that will remain with Toy Story 1 and 2 – but it is one of the most endearing animated movies with lots of fun that kids will love and one the adults will be thoroughly enjoy, meaning it’s not so kid-friendly that anyone over 13 will still laugh.
Plot: In the city of Monstropolis, the power is generated at ‘Monsters, Inc.’ where monsters would enter kid’s rooms and scare the living daylights and make them scream. These screams are then captured in containers which are used to power the city. The monsters, however, are more scared of the kids and they must avoid them from entering their realm due to contamination.
The movie centers on best friends and work partners Sulley (JOHN GOODMAN) and Mike (BILLY CRYSTAL). Mike handles the logistics like getting the doors, turning in proper paperwork (when he remembers) while Sulley is the “talent” and gets the screams. His main competition is Randall (STEVE BUSCEMI), a weasel-like monster who is very competitive. When Sulley went back to the warehouse to retrieve some paperwork for Mike, he discovers a door that did not get placed back. After investigating the situation, somehow a little girl he later names Boo managed to escape, but not before the door, put there by Randall, is sent back.
Now Sulley and Mike have a problem. In a city that takes contamination of even the littlest thing seriously, how can they get Boo back to where she belongs? And what exactly was Randall up to? They soon uncover an unscrupulous plan while also trying to keep themselves out of trouble.
A staple for most Pixar movies is the perfect voice casting: Toy Story has Tom Hanks and Tim Allen; Cars with the late Paul Newman and Owen Wilson; Up featuring Edward Asner and Christopher Plummer; and the list goes on. They know how to cast and rather than just throwing in some A-list talent wherever they can, they cast actors who fulfill the role. Monsters, Inc. is one of my favorites in the voice category with John Goodman as the loveable big blue monster and Billy Crystal as the one-eye… thing. The movie also includes Jennifer Tilly as Mike’s girlfriend, James Coburn as the Monsters Inc president, Bonnie Hunt in a very small role and the venerable John Ratzenberger providing his unique voice talents.
The biggest highlight for the film is the animation. You’ve got Sulley’s fur or Mike’s green skin tone – along with all the other monsters in that world –, it all looks fantastic which I would expect nothing less from Pixar. I know animating that at the time was quite difficult, who knows it might still be, and for it to come out the way it did is amazing.
Monsters, Inc. is a funny movie, even for someone like myself who isn’t exactly an animation fanatic and tend to find kid-friendly films to sometimes be tedious. But the writer’s know how to create a story that kids will adore and the adults will actually want to sit there and enjoy it with them.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This release, like other Disney/Pixar 3D Blu-rays, comes housed in a thick Blu-ray case with a lenticular slip cover. Inside are 5-discs with the last two comprised of the standard DVD Copy and the other for Digital Copy. The features on each disc, save for the Toy Story Tune, have been ported over from the original 4-disc Blu-ray release.
Audio Commentary features Co-Writer/Director Pete Docter, (Additional) Co-Director Lee Unkrich, Co-Writer/Executive Producer Andrew Stanton and Executive Producer John Lesseter.
Filmmakers’ Roundtable (21:35) – Docter, Unkrich, Producer Darla K. Anderson and Story Supervisor Bob Peterson sit down at “Hidden City Café” and reminisce about the old days of making the film and take on various topics from the story to going to work on 9/11 with the film set for release 60 days after.
There are three Pixar shorts: For the Birds (3:21), the hilarious Mikes New Car (3:46) short, which includes a commentary from the filmmakers’ kids and Toy Story Tunes: Partysaurus Rex (6:31).
Previews – Monsters University, The Little Mermaid (3D Blu-ray), Wreck-It-Ralph
Roz’s 100 Door Challenge is an interactive game where you answer (easy) questions and based on the answers, you are placed in certain departments within the company.
- Pixar Fun Factory Tour (3:34) where John Lesseter takes us on a tour of Pixar’s massive, and very cool, offices.
- “Story” Sub-Menu: Story is King (2:00) showing how the Story department works at Pixar; Monsters Are Real (1:29) covers how the cast and crew of the film regard Monster World; Original Treatment (13:40) is the original pitch for the film; and Story Pitch: Back to Work (4:36).
- Banished Concepts (9:34) – You can check out 5 concepts that were not used as well as an intro by Co-Director Lee Unkrich.
- Storyboard to Film Comparison (5:14) where you can see the “Storyreel”, “Final Color” or a Split-Screen Comparison of both.
- Art Gallery with character design and production artwork
- Designing Monstropolis (4:48) featurette
- Set Dressing Intro (3:24) – How the sets of the film were designed and staged.
- Location Flyarounds (7:25) is just a simple look at the art and camera work used without the characters.
- “Monster File” Sub-Menu: Cast of Characters (5:51) where we meet the cast of performers and a short featurette on What Makes a Great Monster? (1:24).
- “Animation” Sub-Menu: Animation Process (3:11) is a look at the animation for the movie; Early Tests (8:02) for Mike and Sulley; Opening Title Animation (2:06); Hard Parts (4:58) with the artistic challenges of creating the film, Shots Department (2:16) on how simulation was added as a step in the Pixar production process; and we also get a Production Demonstration for various topics like the storyreel, layout, etc and toggle from one to the other.
- “Music & Sound” Sub-Menu: Monster Song (4:13) in which Billy Crystal and John Goodman sing “If I Don’t Have You” and Sound Design (3:15) where the sound designer reveals some of the secrets behind the sound design of the film.
- “Release” Sub-Menu includes several theatrical trailers and TV Spots.
- Wrap-Up (0:42) is an outro where the filmmakers conclude their Production Tour of the Pixar studio.
- New Monster Adventures Sub-Menu: Monster TV Treats (1:09) a collection of TV vignettes; Ponkickies 21 a randomized version of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ from Japan; and the music video (1:11) for “If I Don’t Have You”.
- Behind the Screams Sub-Menu: On the Job with Mike & Sulley (2:31), an interview with the two buds about daily life at Monsters, Inc.
- Orientation Sub-Menu: Welcome to Monsters, Inc. (0:56), a welcome video for new employees; Your First Day (3:34), an overview of the company; History of the Monster World (1:36) which is a history of the schism between man and monster.
Discs 3 & 4 contain the DVD and Digital Copies respectively. The DVD has most of the features between the two Blu-ray discs outlined above.
Disc 5 is the 3d Blu-ray which has the three animated shorts as well as some Outtakes and Company Play (these are the “outtakes” at the end of the credits).
VIDEO – 4.75/5
Expecting nothing less from Disney Blu-ray, this 1.85 aspect ratio 1080p high definition transfer looks fantastic. As with other Disney/Pixar HD titles like Wall-E and probably Up, you get a good pop with some of the colors like Sulley’s blue/purple fir, Mike’s green skin or Randall’s lilac coloring. You also get the rich textures on the sets and characters. I normally do not boast about animated movies on Blu-ray, but I will say this is one fine transfer.
The 3D Blu-ray disc is, surprisingly enough, well done with some good depth while also keeping the bright colors which effectively pops off the screen. I didn’t notice much instances with ghosting and given this was done in post, I was mostly impressed with the transfer as the action elements comes right at you without becoming annoying or giving splitting headaches.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
Not content with merely repackaging the set and only adding the 3D Blu-ray disc, the Blu-ray disc (as well as the 3D BD) has been re-authored with a newly minted Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track (the 2009 release was 5.1 DTS-HD MA). This new lossless track is fantastic with a dynamic range including crisp and clear dialogue levels and immersive elements for the action-oriented scenes as well as Randy Newman’s whimsical score/songs. It’s more or less similar to the 2009 version but with the additional rear channels, it is more robust.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, Monsters, Inc. is a great film that the entire family can enjoy. The story is cute and the voice talent Pixar puts together is once again done to perfection. This 3D Blu-ray combo pack offers up a nice 3D presentation but surprisingly also has a new lossless audio track upgrading from 5.1 channels to 7.1. The features are mostly the same with the exception of adding the Toy Story Tunes short film. If you didn’t already own the other release, or wanting to upgrade to 3D, this is well worth picking up, though maybe in the $25-30 price range.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.