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post #1 of 7 Old 12-03-09, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

Monsters, Inc.
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Mary Gibbs, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger
Director: Pete Docter, David Silverman
Studio: Disney/Pixar
Runtime: 92 minutes
Rating: G
Blu-ray Release Date: November 10, 2009

Movie

In Monstropolis, James P. Sullivan, or Sulley (Goodman) as he goes by, is renowned for his talent to scare little kids. Sulley would not be as successful as he is without his partner, Mike Wazowski (Crystal), sidekick and best friend. Their unparalleled teamwork is a good thing because the entire city is powered by human kids’ screams, and Sulley and Mike scare for a living at Monsters, Incorporated where monsters “scare because [they] care.” Sulley’s job is to travel through numerous doors into the human world and scare the human children. Each door and child is matched to the individual monster to maximize the amount of terror produced. Even though it is the monster’s job to scare the children, the ironic reality is that the monsters are just as terrified of the children as the children are of the monsters. So they work at all costs to prevent the children from crossing back over into the monster world.

Together the duo consistently produces the top amount of scares at Monsters, Incorporated, and their coworker Randall Boggs (Buscemi) is always challenging Sulley’s place as “Top Scarer.” Unfortunately, Randall is as conniving as he is desperate for the top spot. One day Sulley happens across a door left on the ‘scare floor’ by Randall. Sulley investigates the door, entering into it and ultimately finding what seems to be an empty room. Unbeknownst to Sulley, a two-year-old human child (Gibbs) quietly slips through the door while he is in the room. Soon after, Sulley finds the little child and, terrified out of his wits, puts her in a duffle bag and races to consult with Mike Wazowski who happens to be out to dinner with his long-time girlfriend, Celia (Tilly). Once Sulley arrives at the restaurant, the little child escapes and makes herself known to the public at which point the Child Detection Agency takes over and begins to quarantine the whole restaurant.

Unsure of what to do at this point, Mike and Sulley take the child back to their apartment where they can devise a proper plan to do away with the child. With the whole city essentially under investigation they decide the best thing to do is to disguise Boo, as Sulley decides to call her, as a monster and sneak her back into Monsters, Incorporated and send her back through the door where she came from. Of course, as the two of them carry out their plan things go awry. Mike and Sulley explore the situation further only to find out Randall has intentions to experiment on Boo in order to figure out a way to extract more screams from the children they scare.

‘Monsters, Inc.’ is a fun animated movie that really targets all ages of audience members. I found myself really feeling the connection between Mike, Sulley and Boo even after having watched it so many times in past years. Even eight years after the film was released in theaters, the film still holds up in all aspects very well. It’s apparent that both the animation and the storyline techniques that coincide with a Pixar movie have been refined some since ‘Monsters, Inc.’ however, this film continues to impress me more than even most films released currently, especially, but not limited to the same genre.

Rating

‘Monsters, Inc.’ is rated G and is safe for all ages. I had no problem letting my two and a half year old daughter watch this movie.

Video

Pixar animation. Need I say more? Pixar has not failed to make a stellar-looking animation movie and ‘Monsters, Inc.’ does not deviate from their mold. So, why the less than perfect score of 4.5? There was one big problem that I found with the video aspect of the movie and it was aliasing noticeably in Sulley’s fur. I am being overly critical when I point it out, but I felt it was noticeable enough to warrant a dock in the video score. One other minor quibble I had was, while the film had so much punch, it lacked a sense of a natural look. Things looked overly sharp, but not to the point that it looked edge-enhanced; just slightly unnaturally sharp. Then again, my issues with the video aspect are likely all a culmination of one underlying fact – ‘Monsters, Inc’ was released eight years ago and was in development for roughly five. Technology has improved so much since then, which is why my score only was docked half a star.

With the negative out of the way, let me continue on to the good. The colors – oh, the colors. This is possibly one of the most colorful Pixar films. The whole Monstrospolis world is just so vibrant with each of the monsters in the film uniquely colored giving the viewers a massive color pallet to absorb. Image depth is superb as well. Though the picture may not look natural the picture certainly has a lot of snap to it. Shading, shadow detail, black levels are fantastic. Image detail is wonderful, too; monster skin texture and furs come across fabulously in this film. While I did make mention about sharpness not hindering the video aspect from being natural looking, it still is immensely impressive in its own right. It certainly makes for some great demonstration material where “natural” just doesn’t have to be a part of the equation.

Audio

I almost feel like a broken record, but it still bears repeating – Pixar employs some amazing sound designers for their movies. This movie gets treated with a top-notch DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio track. It’s also worth mentioning, much like ‘Up’ this movie’s audio track flagged my receiver as a 6.1 track despite the packaging stating that it is simply a 5.1 track.

I remember back when the original standard definition DVD came out I would play certain sequences over and over again when I would get a new piece of equipment so when I sat down to watch this film again, I was eager to hear the differences now with the lossless audio. From the opening right through the movie credits, one word continued to come to my mind – expansive. The whole sound stage is so expansive and what I once thought sounded amazing on DVD sounds just that much more impressive on this blu-ray disc. Music is much livelier and spatial environmental noises are much more prominent giving different rooms a lot more life. Sound cues and directional effects are heavy-laden throughout the film adding to the overall sensory-envelopment. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of one other aspect.

What would this movie be without its dominating LFE track? One of the things that made this movie the top of the demo material was the LFE. The low frequencies are HEAVY and they certainly dig deep. I forgot just how bone rattling some of the bass was and while watching throughout the film I was continuously surprised each time they came up. Borrowing a response that my two-year-old daughter used on several occasions during the film, “Whoa. What was that, daddy???” That just pretty much sums up any and all reactions I had even after listening to this audio mix so many times before on DVD.

Extras

‘Monsters, Inc.’ is overflowing with extras. Here is a list of them:

-‘Filmmakers Roundatable’ – This little featurette includes Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson, and Bob Peterson as they reminisce back to making ‘Monsters, Inc.’
-‘Roz’s 100 Door Challenge’ – a little game made for the blu-ray just placing you, as a monster, in the proper position in Monsters, Incorporated.
-‘Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek: Building Monstropolis in Japan’ – a short little look into the creation of the ride in Tokyo, which seems to be incredibly impressive in itself.
-Audio Commentary with Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, and Lee Unkrich
-‘For The Birds’ Animated Short – The short film that accompanied the feature length film in theaters
-‘Mike’s New Car’ Animated Short – the short that was created just for the video releases
-‘Set Dressing’ – a little featurette giving the viewers an idea of how they made the various sets seem like they’ve been lived in for a while.
-‘Pixar Fun Factory Tour’ – a featurette giving the audience a tour of the Pixar Animation studios
-‘Banished Concepts’ – A handful of deleted scenes
-‘Storyboard to Film Comparison’ – pretty straightforward
-‘Designing Monstropolis’ – straight forward featurette
-Various trailers promoting the movie
-‘Location Flyarounds’ – Simple look at the different locations around monstropolis without characters
-‘Monster File’ – A look into the characters of ‘Monsters, Inc.’ as we as a small glimpse into how they came up with some of the monsters.
-‘Animation’ – Six featurettes combined of the progress of the entire animation process
-“If I Didn’t Have You,” music video
-‘Behind the Screams: On the Job with Mike and Sulley’ featurette with an interview with the two main characters and their experience working for Monsters, Incorporated.
-‘Orientation’ – which includes three featurettes that almost are more designed as promotional pieces for the movie itself. Just fun little short animated sequences.
-‘Release’ – Tons of promotional footage from the release, premier, etc.
-‘Art Gallery’ – Tons and tons and tons of still images.
-‘Wrap-Up’ – The makers of the film saying their goodbyes

Also included are the standard definition DVD of the film as well as a digital copy to enjoy on your computer or respective portable devices.

Overall

‘Monsters, Inc’ is a fantastic film that I think was an instant classic from the get-go in its first release back in 2001. While I personally don’t think it is as good as ‘Up’ it still olds up and is so enjoyable from start to finish. Disney and Pixar really went all out for the release of this film on Blu-ray, too. All the extras and the standard definition DVD of the film, plus the digital copy are all wonderful bonuses to an already great package. The video transfer is incredibly good for this film, despite my reservations of specific aspects noted above. While I had small quibbles with the video I cannot say the same goes for the audio. My reference disc from the last format has once again become my reference disc for this current format. All in all, for those with little children I cannot recommend this one enough; for those without kids and simply looking for a fun movie I still cannot recommend this one enough - this is a must-own for every blu-ray collection!

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-03-09, 10:03 PM
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Re: Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

Great review, I could not agree more. Costco had this and several other Disney BluRay movies at $10 off I could not resist.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #3 of 7 Old 12-03-09, 10:35 PM
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Re: Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

A must add to my Blu-ray collection, that's for sure.

* I believe that Future Shop (in Canada) has several Disney and Pixar Blu-ray titles for $24 cdn in SteelBook cases.

Last edited by Lordoftherings; 12-03-09 at 10:41 PM. Reason: *
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-04-09, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

Yeah, there were plenty of deals out there to put both this and 'Up' well under $20 each, which makes the 4 disc combo for each title even more of a steal!

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-04-09, 01:19 AM
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Re: Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

Thanks Jon, another great review and another classic from Disney Pixar!
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-04-09, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

I'm just worried that Pixar will stumble soon with one of their animations and everything will just go downhill from that point...

I really hope that's not the case, but they are bound to have a movie of theirs NOT be a hit, right???

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-04-09, 05:41 PM
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Re: Monsters, Inc - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
Jon Liu wrote: View Post
I'm just worried that Pixar will stumble soon with one of their animations and everything will just go downhill from that point...

I really hope that's not the case, but they are bound to have a movie of theirs NOT be a hit, right???
No way Jose.

Pixar unlike the vast majority of other people, always takes extra minutiae to develop their stories with solid backgrounds and characters. Extensive research is made into the sculpting of human behavior, with the full gamut of emotions. And they have the best team of people in the world of animation.

Instead of worrying, you should rejoice, enjoy and smile at their future.
I know that's what I do, and they never let me down. On the contrary, they always improved by coming up with better and better awesomeness.
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