Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 25th, 2002
Pixar, with the smashing success of the Toy Story films, works its enchanting magic yet again with the wonderful Monsters, Inc. It’s fitting that Disney acquired the creative team that more than any other filmmakers embody what Disney had been for half a century. Monsters, Inc. is the new standard for computer animation. Sully’s generated hair is nothing short of amazing. What makes this movie worth buying is its incredible rewatchability. The attention to details means there’s always something new to see with each v…ewing.
In the alternative world of Monstropolis, children’s screams provide the clean energy source all monsters rely on to power their everyday lives. Using a sophisticated system of closet doors, scarers enter the bedrooms of unsuspecting children to harness their screams. They scare because they care. When a potentially toxic human child enters the monster realm, reality is turned on its head and Monstropolis will never be the same.
Monsters, Inc has an amazing Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX soundtrack. From the jazzy music of Randy Newman to the powerful use of ambient sounds, this is a top notch audio track every step of the way. Everything, and I do mean everything, is perfectly placed and distinctly present in its own sound space. The vocal characterizations are clear every time. As with the video, each viewing will surprise you with wonderful new sounds. There’s enough ear candy here to satisfy any sweet … eh ear.
There is a hilarious commentary by many of the Pixar crew. If they had half the fun working on the film that they had on that commentary, it’s no wonder it works as well as it does.
Monsters, Inc. is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There is also a pan and scan option but you’ve got to be kidding. Let’s be honest here. This print can’t be anything but flawless. A truly digital to digital transfer means everything you saw in the movies is reproduced better on the DVD. It is with a film like Monsters, Inc. that the true potential of the DVD shines through.
I don’t know that any release has provided the amount of bonus material found on this 2 disc set. The original short film “For The Birds” is as funny as ever. “Mike’s New Car” is a new short featuring Goodman and Crystal together again. There’s a great rendition of the “company play” Mike hints at in the film, complete with its own musical soundtrack. You’ll find the outtakes that were added to the credit roll about 1 month into the film’s original run. (This was an obvious ploy to get repeat business). Several short features combine to provide a very entertaining and informative tour of Pixar studios.
You’ve got to visit the galleries where you’ll get to look through hundreds of images that trace each character through inception to final design. A music video featuring the Randy Newman song “If I Didn’t Have You” is worth a quick peek. Tons of text based stuff take you through every aspect of the film. There’s even a 16-minute color storyboard presentation of the original story idea, which varies considerably from the finished story.
The menus are quite dynamic yet very simple to follow. The disc includes a pullout flowchart to help your navigation. This is a great idea that I hope other studios might follow.
I’m a sucker for this kind of pure entertainment. JohnGoodman and Billy Crystal are endearing as the lovable Sully and Mike, but Boo steals every shot she’s in. The sounds of Boo were provided by the child of a member of the Pixar creative group… You’ve just gotta love her. While watching the disc you really must look for some great in-jokes… The pivotal sushi bar is named for the great Ray Harryhausen; Ray’s a wonderful guy and a friend. It’s so good to see his pioneering efforts honored so here. And don’t forget to “say hello to the scream extractor”.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- All New Animated Short Film “Mike
- “For The Birds” – Animated Short
- The Monsters, Inc Company Play
- Monsters Inc. Music Video
- Pixar Tour
- Abandoned Concepts
- Disney DVD Story time: Welcome to Monstropolis
- See how Monstroplis was created
- Discover how computer animation works