Plot: What’s it about?
I’m a big fan of the Disney Pixar movies now, but in the beginning it took me a while to really catch on. You see, even though I’m a rabid fan of “The Simpson’s”, I still view movies that are animated geared towards children. Since I have no children of my own, there’s really not a lot of call for me to go out to the theater and see them. But, as I mentioned before, these movies do grow on you and it wasn’t until only a few days ago that I had the chance to see “Monsters, Inc.” Now part of what’s made the Pixar films so successful is that they play as well to adults as they do to children. The plots are so jam-packed with humor and subtle references, that even as an adult it’s hard to not get pleasure out of these films. I don’t know what it was that kept me away from “Monsters, Inc.” all of these years and admittedly, it’s not my favorite Pixar film (that would be “The Incredibles”) but it’s still a member of the club no less. Are you scared of monsters? You wouldn’t be if you knew it was only their job.
James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) is the leading “scarer” at Monsters, Inc. he’s the employee of the month every month and the other monsters aspire to be like him. But, there’s trouble at the top in Randall Boggs (voiced by Steve Buscemi) who’s hot on Sully’s tail and aiming for that coveted number one spot. You see, Monsters, Inc., as the name suggests, is a business. The screams from the children that the monsters scare helps power the world of the monsters and it would seem that the children are getting more and more desensitized to the monsters. The monster would is facing somewhat of a shortage and they need all their mosnters to be at their best, lest there be no power. And as routine as this has all become, things become complicated when a little girl (monsters are actually scared of children, by the way) mistakenly enters the monster world. It’s up to Sully and faithful co-hort Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) to not only keep the secret that “Boo” is in their world, but to keep Randall from finding out the awful truth. Will the monster world end up in the dark or will they find a way to save the day and make everything work out?
Like the rest of the Pixar films, “Monsters, Inc.” has an extremly clever plot and is full of cute and clever references. Despite its moniker, I don’t think children are (or were) going to be too terribly frightened here. Pixar crafts their characters so that they’re cuddly, but not terrifying. I don’t think they’d want to isolate their target audience now, would they? Billy Crystal’s “Mike” is given the choice lines here and it plays right to Crystal’s somewhat neurotic persona, most likely why he was cast for the part. John Goodman is also perfect for his role as well. Other celebrity voices include Jennifer Tilly as Mike’s pseudo love interest, the late James Coburn as the CEO of Monsters, Inc. and the always reliable John Ratzenberger as none other than “The Abominable Snowman”. Yes, it’s been twelve years since this came out in theaters, but it doens’t feel like it. It’s another great offering from Pixar and I’m sorry I waited this long to finally sit down and watch it.
Video: How does it look?
The first release of this film on Blu-ray came out back in 2009 and at the time it was new to the Blu-ray format. This second offering gives us what we got in that first Blu-ray and adds a 3D version to it (hence the fancy packaging and higher price tag). What Disney is hoping is that with the popularity of 3D that you’ll go buy this again. The 2D Blu-ray really should be more than enough for anyone, the colors pop, texture is amazing as is the level of detail. Look, this is a Pixar movie people, we know what to expect! While a bit on the darker side, black levels are never compromised and neither is contrast. As I said in my original review, this is perfect. Moving onto the 3D version of the film we find a very good-looking image as well. Yes the 2D and 3D versions do vary, but not in terms of actual quality, more along the lines of a different experience. Things seem to have more “space” if you will. The same colors and detail is exactly the same, the only real difference is that you get a Blu-ray 3D disc with your money.
Audio: How does it sound?
Well I won’t complain and it shows that Disney did at least try to do something else when they offered up this disc again. The original Blu-ray featured a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track and this new 3D offering gives us a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix. Yep, they added two more channels on us, folks! All that said, it really does sound about right. For comparison’s sake I did whip out my “old” Blu-ray and compared some scenes and, granted, there is a bit more going on with this new TrueHD track. It just seems a bit more…lively. I suppose it is nice to get an unexpected bonus like this when I really wasn’t expecting it, so kudos to the folks at Disney for not just giving us the exact same thing we already paid for a few years back.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Again, Disney has given us a few more “new” extras on this expansive five disc set and we’ve lost one from the original Blu-ray (“Ride and Go Seek”). We’ll dive in with the first disc which contains the feature film, but also a few looks at “Monsters, Inc.” in Japan. The movie was such a hit that they’re building a theme park in Tokyo and we get some behind the scenes looks at it in progress. As I mentioned above, it’s been eight years since the film came out in theaters and we have a new “retrospective” look at it by the men and women responsible for bringing it to life. Ported over from the original DVD are the two animtaed shorts “For the Birds” and “Mike’s New Car”.
Moving onto the second disc we’ll find the meat of the supplements. From my point of view, these look like the same ones that appeared on the standard DVD as all most are shown in 4:3 as the clothes look, well, dated. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s some good stuff in there. The menu is divided into three main sections. First we have an interactive game “Roz’s 100 door game” in which you answer a series of questions and are assigned a job at Monsters, Inc. I made it to question 7 before I was given the job of co-assistant door greeter. My future looks bright. Moving on, there’s “For Humans” in which we’re given a tour of the then “new” Pixar campus and the various stages of making the film. We see storyboards, the rough animation, the people who are in charge of various aspect of the film (down to the person who can use an alternate camera to move sushi into place) and all of the technical ins and outs of bringing this film to life. The “For Monsters” section is a lot more concise with some other inspirations, trailers and tv spots and the like. As mentioned, the remaining discs contain the standard DVD and the digital copy of the film. If you’re a fan of 3D then this is the version to have with some extra features and an upgraded TrueHD soundtrack, but if not – then the original Blu-ray should more than suit your needs.