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I have yet to see any film come out of Pixar that didn’t utterly enchant me, ($41) MONSTERS, INC. being no exception. MONSTERS, INC. remains a gorgeous visual treat on the technical level, as well as being giant laugh inducer on the entertainment level. And even with its fantastical animated premise, MONSTERS, INC. proves itself to be akin to an old style Hollywood comedy featuring a team of comics’ ala Abbott and Costello, or Martin and Lewis. In MONSTERS, INC., the two central characters playing off of one another to wonderful comic effect, just like those duos featured in the films of long ago.

There has always been a large number of children that have been frightened by a supposed monster residing in their closet, well MONSTERS, INC. explains how those monsters get into all of those closets. The story of MONSTERS, INC. takes place in Monstropolis, a city that resides in a dimensional realm inhabited by Monsters, who just happen to be everyday working stiffs like you and me. One key place of employment in Monstropolis is Monsters, Inc., which happens to the power utility for the city. Of course, instead of using generators, Monsters, Inc. gets its energy in a unique way. Utilizing dimensional doorways that correspond to the doors of children’s bedroom closets, Monsters, Inc. employs its top "scarers" to enter the children’s bedrooms and to frighten them into screaming- with said screams being captured and utilized as an energy source. Of course, the downside to all of this is the monsters belief in the toxicity of human children, which leaves the monsters even more afraid of the children, than the children are of monsters.

At Monsters, Inc., the number one "scarer" is James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman), a big furry monster, who goes by the nickname Sulley. Sulley’s best friend is Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal), who also serves as the technician/operator of Sulley’s station on the Monsters, Inc. scare floor. Sulley’s chief rival for the position of top scarer is Randall Boggs (voiced by Steve Buscemi), who seems willing to do anything to get the job done. As a favor to Mike, Sulley goes down to the scare floor after hours to pick up some forgotten paperwork, and discovers that a bedroom door has been left loaded into one of the dimensional workstations. Peering into the door, Sulley sees that the bedroom appears empty, but to his horror, he discovers a human child has mistaken him for a giant kitty and has entered the realm of Monsters, Inc.. As expected, comic mayhem follows, as Sulley and Mike try to hide the little girl from the monster authorities, while trying to find the proper bedroom door to send her back home. The vocal talent behind MONSTERS, INC. also features Mary Gibbs, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger, Frank Oz, Daniel Gerson, Steve Susskind, Bonnie Hunt and Jeff Pidgeon.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (and Pixar) has made MONSTERS, INC. available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. MONSTERS, INC. has been provided with an absolutely glorious 1080p presentation that is truly worth celebrating. Coming off the original digital computer files, MONSTERS, INC. is practically perfect in every way, and looks as good as the team at Pixar must have envisioned. I was amazed while watching, as every texture is perfect, not to mention the beauty of every visible strand of Sulley’s fur. Colors pop to perfection, with every fully saturated hue ready to leap off the screen. Blacks are pure inkiness, while the whites are crisp and clean. Contrast is as smooth as can be rendered by computer. There is no grain and no imperfections in the image. MONSTERS, INC. is another demo worthy Blu-ray disc to extol the virtues of high definition and computer-generated animation.

MONSTERS, INC. is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Sonically, MONSTERS, INC. is every bit as glorious as it is visually. The sound design is fairly aggressive during the film’s action showpieces, not to mention subtle sound effect placement during quieter moments. All of the outlying channels engage nicely, with sound effects effortlessly panning and whizzing around the soundstage, not to mention the outlying channels creating engaging sonic environments. Fidelity is truly excellent thanks to the lossless encode, with Randy Newman’s music reaping the benefits. The bass channel is deep and full bodied. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread throughout the set. Starting things off on disc one is a running Audio Commentary with director Pete Docter, co-director Lee Unkrich, writer Andrew Stanton, and executive producer John Lasseter. Next up is a brief Director's Introduction featuring Pete Docter. A twenty-two minute Filmmakers Round Table is also featured on the first disc, as is Ride And Go Seek: Building Monstropolis In Japan, a twelve-minute look at the attraction. Two Pixar Shorts are up next- For The Birds and Mike's New Car are both presented in hi-def. MONSTERS, INC. is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

Moving on to disc two, one will find even more supplemental materials. Story Featurettes run twenty-two minutes in total and offer a quartet of programs, that look at the early story development for MONSTERS, INC.. Additional Featurettes and other programs include the following: Pixar Fun Factory Tour (four minutes), Banished Concepts (ten minutes), Designing Monstropolis (five minutes), Set Dressing (three minutes), Location Flyaround (seven minutes), Music & Sound and Monster File (seven minutes). Also featured on disc two is a Storyboard To Film Comparison, a nearly half-hour look at the Animation, with an emphasis of Animation Process, Early Tests, Opening Title Animation, Hard Parts, Shots Department and Production Demonstration. Additionally one will find premiere footage from the film’s Release, as well as Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, Merchandising and Credit Roll Outtakes. But we art not done yet, Roz's 100 Door Challenge offers an interactive game, plus one will also an extensive Art Gallery and Wrap-Up from the filmmakers to close out disc two.

Disc three contains a DVD edition of MONSTERS, INC.. Disc four contains a Digital Copy of the film.

MONSTERS, INC. is a true joy of an animated motion picture that has been beautifully rendered in high definition, thanks to Blu-ray. Not only does the movie look and sound glorious, it has been well supplemented with a wealth of ancillary materials. Very highly recommended.



Monsters, Inc. (4-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] (2001)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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