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Monsters, Inc. 3D(2001)
Monsters, Inc. is a factory which sends monsters around the world to scare kids who are trying to sleep. It's nothing personal, in fact the screams are used to power Monstropolis where the monsters live. This job isn't easy for the monsters, who believe children are toxic. James P. Sullivan, a large woolly blue monster, is one of the company's top scarers. Teamed up with a troublesome green one-eyed monster named Mike Wazowski, the two roommates and best friends are finding that today's kids are not as easily scared as they used to be. One night Sulley accidentally lets a young girl named Boo into the monster world. Now Sulley and Mike must risk their own safety as they race to get Boo back into the human world without letting anyone know of her existence.
For more about Monsters, Inc. 3D and the Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray release, see Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 9, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, John Ratzenberger
Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich
» See full cast & crew
Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray Review
Now in 3D! With 7.1 lossless audio! And a few additional extras for good measure!
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 9, 2013
How does Pixar do it? How does a single studio churn out so many wondrous animated films, with so few exceptions? I once thought it had something to do with raw talent. John Lasseter's innate ability to assemble the best artists, technicians, writers and directors in the industry; master storytellers and visionaries of the highest caliber. But with so many critically acclaimed feature films under the animation studio's belt -- not to mention its array of award-winning animated shorts -- I suspect something far more sinister may be powering the Pixar empire. Arcane rituals? Dark magic? Blood-soaked sacrifices to a Lovecraftian god? Only Lasseter's inner-circle knows the true nature of the studio's connection to the Abyss, as anyone and everyone who has pursued such answers has never been heard from again. Still, so long as the Pixar wizards continue producing smart, sharp and infectiously funny family flicks like Monsters, Inc., and so long as the abomination that is Cars 2 remains an isolated freak of nature, I personally don't care what beast, demon, or fiend they invoke.
In the bustling city of Monstropolis, children's screams are a precious commodity. Their shrill shrieks not only power the entire electric grid, they create jobs for countless Monsters, Inc. employees and provide a slew of tentacled beasties with all the creature comforts a hard-working monstrosity could ask for. Unfortunately, children have become more difficult to frighten over the years. Rolling blackouts are just the beginning of what Monsters, Inc. CEO Henry J. Waternoose (voiced by James Coburn) sees as a sign of tough times to come. Thankfully, he has Scarers like the blue-furred James "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) and cyclopean prep-man Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) to keep enough screams on tap. However, when Sulley accidentally allows a little girl to wander through her closet portal, he changes the fates of Monsters, Inc. and Monstropolis forever. After realizing she isn't a threat -- monsters learn at an early age that children are toxic and their touch is deadly -- Sulley has to convince Mike to help him return the girl to her world, avoid the Child Detection Agency (the CDA for short), and keep her presence a secret from rival Scarer Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), a deceitful chameleon with an agenda all his own.
Monsters, Inc. is blessed with a brilliant premise; one that deconstructs fundamental childhood fears, transforms a city of toothy titans into a city of sympathetic Everymen, and brings enough comedy, action, adventure and heartfelt sweetness to the table to make its buddy picture all the more effective. Goodman, Crystal and crew bring their all to their voice sessions, creating genuine... erm, human beings with a penchant for fur and scales rather than the horned caricatures they could have been. Sulley and Mike aren't just cartoon characters, they're endearing would-be heroes and loyal companions. Their fellow monsters are used primarily for gags, sure, but the whole of Monstropolis has a familiarity that feels oh so right. Pixar's animation helps of course, weaving so many tiny touches and clever easter eggs into each locale that surprises lie around every corner (even for those of us who've seen the film more than a dozen times). The jokes earn laughs, the banter never falls flat, the adventure remains tense, and the third act's climactic chase scene is as exciting and invigorating in 2013 as it was when Monsters, Inc. debuted some twelve years ago. And while I'm edging dangerously close to hyperbole, not a second goes to waste. Seemingly tangential subplots have satisfying pay-offs, minor characters aren't rendered expendable, and the writers rarely indulge in the sort of pop culture references that undermine the potential of other modern animated films.
Pixar's canon is full of memorable characters, but the central trio in Monsters, Inc. represents a perfect mesh of heart (Sulley), spirit (Mike) and soul (Boo). Compared to the sometimes smarmy wildlife that frequents the Ice Age and Madagascar franchises (and others like them), the Monsters, Inc. gang actually warrants the love their fans afford them. Selflessness isn't a learned trait here, it's an inherent one. Relationships aren't contrived, they're natural and convincing. Conflict isn't derived, it's discovered. Humor isn't forced, it flows from an already mesmerizing story rife with opportunity. Even the animation stands out. While it's a bit dated in light of the strides made in Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up and Brave, the characters and environments are so easy on the eyes that it never really matters all that much. Tech-heads may grumble at the way a snow cone glances off Sulley's back, but anyone with an affinity for film or animated classics will simply shrug their shoulders and roll with the punches. Likewise, irritable animation critics may complain about the occasional stockiness of Boo's movements, but cinephiles will reach for another tissue and brace themselves for Sulley's heart-wrenching farewell.
Concept, execution, screenwriting, art direction, voice acting, comedy, animation... literally everything about Monsters, Inc. contributes to its success as an unforgettable film. Parents will be as enthusiastic about the proceedings as their children, and kids of all ages will be caught up in the adventure no matter how many times they've seen it unfold. If you haven't already introduced it to your brood, be sure to pick up Pixar's classic monster romp -- in 3D no less! -- and share it with your entire family.
Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Monsters, Inc. returns to Blu-ray with a striking 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode and an equally impressive 1080p/MVC- encoded 3D experience, both of which deliver oft-times flawless presentations of their respective digital sources. Monstropolis is a colorful cityscape indeed, and Disney's palette never falls short. The varied blues and purples of Sulley's fur, the slick- scaled greens of Mike's hide, and the vivid reds and oranges that populate their adventure look fantastic, granting the image a power and stability the Blu-ray edition's long-outmoded DVD counterpart fails to achieve. Black levels are equally remarkable, dipping deep without sacrificing background clarity in the slightest. Contrast remains bold and beautiful from beginning to end, edge definition is ever crisp and sturdy, and fine detail is impeccable. Moreover, I didn't see a single significant artifact, color band or other such oddity at any point in either the 2D or 3D images. My lone complaint? Sulley's thread-thin shoulder fur is a breeding ground for aliasing, and the anomaly is just as visible in the new 3D presentation as it is in the repurposed 2009 2D encode. The problem presumably traces back to the original source, although it's possible such pixel-thin lines wreak havoc simply because of the relative limitations of 1080p resolution. Fortunately, it doesn't amount to a major eyesore, and only makes a nuisance of itself on rare occasions.
Aliasing notwithstanding, Disney's 3D presentation boasts terrific depth and dimensionality. The Scare Floor is bigger and badder than ever, the Monsters, Inc. lobby is convincingly vast and spacious, and the cramped confines of Mike and Sulley's bathroom stall have never been so tight. Then there are the monsters themselves. Note the layering of Sulley's fur. The round sphere of Mike's head. The way Randall darts in and out of frame, or the arms and tentacles that protrude outward, or even the frightened monsters that flee from the background to the foreground. Almost every shot looks as if it were designed to be viewed primarily in 3D, yet remains free of the sort of silly 3D gimmicks and distractions that tend to yank a viewer out of the experience. Better still, 3D fans whose displays and glasses are prone to crosstalk won't have to contend with much ghosting. Switching Monsters, Inc. 3D from my primary display (which suffers little to no crosstalk) to my secondary display (which has a horrible weakness for ghosting), I didn't run into as much as I expected to, although the climactic door chase was quite problematic. Even so, it would be a mistake to attribute any crosstalk to the MVC-encoded presentation, which handles everything that comes its way as precisely and proficiently as it should. Monsters, Inc. has been treated with the utmost respect and love yet again, and that respect and love extends to both the film's 2D and 3D presentations.
Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
In 2009, Monsters, Inc. made its Blu-ray debut with an outstanding DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. And, some four years later, that track still holds up. Disney wasn't content to simply recycle an old mix, though -- however enveloping and electrifying it may be -- and the 2013 Blu-ray releases of Monsters, Inc. and Monsters, Inc. 3D feature a rousing Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track. For the most part, the lossless mixes are eerily similar, save the additional rear channels, which help create a slightly more seamless soundfield with more nuanced pans and directional effects. But an upgrade is an upgrade, and the studio is welcome to squeeze every last ooh and aah out of me that they can manage. Beyond the additional rear channel support, everything is as it should be. In the third act of the film, whirring conveyor lines assault the listener with breathtaking aggression, clattering doors can be heard from every angle, and Mike and Sulley's banter remains crystal clear in spite of the chaos erupting around them. There are other standout scenes as well. The pair's banishment and subsequent encounter with the Abominable Snowman in a roaring blizzard, their battles and escapes from Randall, their run-ins with the overzealous CDA, their first walk down the streets of Monstropolis... I'll stop before I rattle off every scene in the film. The quietest moments are backed by exceptional fidelity, LFE output is powerful enough to leave a lasting impression on the most uncrackable sternum, and rear speaker activity is as involving as the aforementioned scenes deserve. Need I even address the soundfield? Immersion doesn't even begin to describe the absorbing 7.1 experience Disney has in store for audiophiles of all ages.
Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Compared to the initial 2009 Blu-ray release of Monsters, Inc., Disney's new 5-disc 3D Blu-ray release features the addition of a trio of new, exclusive extras -- an extended 3-minute Monsters University Sneak Peek; Partysaurus Rex, a Toy Story short; and Outtakes and Company Play, the gag reel from the Monsters, Inc. theatrical credits -- and only leaves one extra on the production bay floor: "Ride and Go Seek," a promotional tour of the Monsters, Inc. attraction in Tokyo. In other words, no big loss... and no big gain. Partysaurus Rex and Outtakes and Company Play are certainly welcome additions, but a 3D-centric featurette or documentary would have been appreciated, and many of the recycled DVD extras on Disc Three are still presented in SD (and still have their share of issues). It all amounts to an excellent supplemental package, though, no matter how you slice it, so I doubt anyone will get too worked up about it. Especially when the new release offers an upgrade to 7.1 audio and the film itself in 3D.
Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Disney's 5-disc Blu-ray release of Monsters, Inc. 3D is worth serious consideration and has quite a bit more to offer than a new 3D presentation of the film (stunning as it is). Both the 3D and 2D versions of the film feature a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track (upgraded from the 2009 BD's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix) and a handful of exclusive extras, including a Toy Story Toons animated short. Granted, those without love for 3D, a 7.1 setup or any interest in extras should pass and stick with the 2009 edition that's most likely already sitting on their shelves. 3D fans and 7.1 junkies, though, can unite under one banner: Monsters, Inc. 3D.
Monsters, Inc.: Other Editions
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Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Monsters University Official Trailer & Extended Sneak Peek - February 11, 2013
Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Pixar Animation Studios have released two Monsters University previews: the first a new theatrical trailer and the second an extended sneak peek included on the February 19th 5-disc Collector's Edition Combo Pack release of Monsters, ...
• Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray Detailed - January 4, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has detailed the upcoming 5-disc 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack release of Monsters, Inc. 3D, due in stores on February 19, 2013. Pixar Animation Studios' fourth film features the voice talents of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi ...
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