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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. and the Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray release, see Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 31, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman (I), Lee Unkrich
Writers: Daniel Gerson, Andrew Stanton
Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, John Ratzenberger
» See full cast & crew
Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray Review
Another must-have Pixar classic gets its due on Blu-ray...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 31, 2009
How does Pixar do it? How does a single studio consistently churn out such fantastic animated films? At first, I 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 ten excellent, critically acclaimed feature films and counting -- as well as an equally impressive lineup of award-winning animated shorts -- I'm beginning to suspect something far more sinister is 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, but everyone that's pursued such answers has never been heard from again. Still, as long as the Pixar wizards continue producing smart, sharp, and infectiously funny family flicks like Monsters, Inc., 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 concept; 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 every scene all the more effective. Listing what works in the film is like composing a checklist of filmmaking essentials. Goodman, Crystal and crew bring their all to their voice sessions, creating genuine... erm, human beings (of sorts) instead of horned caricatures. Sulley and Mike aren't just cartoon characters, they emerge as endearing heroes and loyal companions. Their fellow monsters are used primarily for gags, but the whole of Monstropolis has a familiarity that allows it to come alive on the screen. Pixar's ever-astounding 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 2009 as it was when Monsters, Inc. debuted some eight years ago. Not a second goes to waste: seemingly tangential subplots have satisfying pay-offs, minor characters don't grow annoying, and the writers rarely indulge in the sort of pop culture references that undermine the potential of other modern animated films.
Through it all, filmfans of all ages will develop serious affection for Mike, Sulley, and their little human tag-along. Pixar's canon is full of memorable characters, but the central trio in Monsters, Inc. represents a perfect mesh of heart, spirit, and soul. Compared to the sometimes smarmy animals that frequent the Ice Age and Madagascar franchises (and others like them), the Monsters, Inc. gang actually warrants such love. Selflessness isn't a learned trait, 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 great strides made in Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up, the characters and environments are so believable that it doesn't matter in the slightest. Tech-heads may grumble at the way a snow cone glances off Sulley's back, but anyone with an affinity for film will simply shrug their shoulders. Irritable 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. Be sure to pick up this Pixar classic and share it with your entire family.
Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray, Video Quality
Monsters, Inc. makes its long awaited Blu-ray debut with a striking 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that nearly exceeds expectation to deliver an oft-times flawless presentation of its digital source. 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 its DVD counterpart fails to achieve. Black levels are equally remarkable, dipping deep without sacrificing background clarity in the slightest. In fact, 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 artifact, color band, or similar oddity at any point in the presentation. My lone complaint? Sulley's thread-thin shoulder fur is a breeding ground for aliasing (eagle-eyed screenshot addicts will notice the issue in some of the screenshots attached to this review). I'm unsure as to whether the problem is present in Pixar's original digital source or the result of the relative limitations of 1080p resolution -- unless it's a source issue, a higher resolution would resolve the hairs more effectively -- but it's a slight distraction worth noting.
Ultimately, Monsters, Inc. is yet another animated Disney classic the studio has treated with the utmost respect and love. Minor (likely inherent) shortcomings aside, I was quite pleased with their efforts.
Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray, Audio Quality
How much did I enjoy Disney's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track? Enough to rewatch the door storage chase sequence five times. Don't misunderstand, the entire mix is, without a doubt, a sonic showcase piece through and through, but the third act of the film is an absolute joy to experience. Whirring conveyor lines fill the soundfield with breathtaking aggression, clattering doors can be heard from every direction, and Mike and Sulley's banter remains crystal clear in spite of the chaos erupting all 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 battle with Randall through a variety of locales, their every run-in with the overzealous CDA, their first walk down the streets of Monstropolis... I'm beginning to think it would be easier to just rattle off every scene in the film. The quietest moments boast exceptional fidelity, LFE output is powerful enough to leave a lasting impression on the most hardened sternum, and rear speaker activity is as involving as the aforementioned scenes deserve. Moreover, pans are effortless and directionality is spot on. Need I even address the soundfield? Immersion doesn't even begin to describe the absorbing experience audiophiles of all ages should prepare for.
Just be warned: younger kids will find the film's scarier scenes to be much scarier with such stunning sonics, so adjust your volume accordingly. That being said, it doesn't get much better than this.
Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The 4-disc Blu-ray edition of Monsters, Inc. features all of the supplemental content from Disney's 2001 Collector's Edition DVD, adds in some intriguing exclusives (namely a filmmakers roundtable), and includes both a standard DVD and Digital copy of the film. However, while there's admittedly a lot of material to be found, a few odd decisions held it back from perfection. The numerous DVD leftovers aren't just a tad dated, they're peppered with some forced humor that fails to earn laughs. If I saw another monkey or scooter, I think I would have screamed. It doesn't help that much of the discs' 2001 content is presented in lowly standard definition. Ah well, once I got past the at-times wonky tone of the set's second disc, I was able to enjoy all of the production info the Pixar team had assembled; enough to almost make me overlook those blasted scooters. Almost.
Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Monsters, Inc. is a must-see family film that will appeal to audiences of all ages. With sharp writing, strong voicework, inspired animation, and an ingenious concept, it's sure to be a go-to favorite in your household. Disney's Blu-ray edition is another high definition winner. With a gorgeous video transfer, mind-blowing DTS-HD Master Audio track, and a generous collection of special features, Monsters, Inc. joins a growing catalog of high-quality high definition Pixar releases. Don't miss the opportunity to add this one to your collection.
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• Disney to Re-release Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., The Little Mer... - October 4, 2011
Following the success of The Lion King in 3D, Disney announced plans today to re-release four more animated catalog titles to theaters in Disney Digital 3D. According to their official release, Beauty and the Beast and Finding Nemo will hit theaters in 2012 followed ...
• Disney Pixar BD Printable Coupons: $10 Off 'Up', $8 Off 'Monsters... - November 10, 2009
As of today, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has a printable $10 off coupon good for the purchase of the 'Up' Blu-ray combo pack. Additionally, members of the Disney Movie Rewards website who own the DVD of 'Monsters, Inc.' can log in, enter its UPC code ...
• Luxo Drops Suit Against UP Blu-ray Release - November 5, 2009
As we reported in August, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be offering a limited edition 'Up: Luxo Jr. Collectible Desk Lamp Set' which features a working replica of the now famous Luxo lamp along with the Blu-ray release of 'UP' when the title is released ...
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