Monsters, Inc.

Featured In Issue 144, November 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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A, B & C
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Pete Docter & Lee Unkrich
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Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS HD Lossless 6.1
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Sulley (voiced by Goodman) and Mike (voiced by Crystal) are a team of monsters working for Monsters, Inc. Their job is to collect children's screams, which will be turned into power in their city of Monstropolis. But they get themselves into a real pickle when, on Sulley's scare shift, a five-year-old girl enters Monstropolis through her closet door. More scared of her than she is of them, Mike and Sulley must find a way to get her back into her bedroom before the evil Randall (voiced by Buscemi) gets to her. This is a wildly imaginative, totally creative, and absolutely exciting story for all ages. (Suzanne Hodges)

This four-disc special edition Blu-ray Disc™ is one of the best produced thus far. Not only does the package contain all of the special features found on the previously reviewed DVD in Issue 64 but all-new exclusive bonus features as well. Following the up-front previews, Director Pete Docter introduces the package. Special features on Disc One include a "Maximize Your Home Theater" guide; a "Filmmakers Round Table" (HD 21:35); a sneak peek at the Monsters, Inc. Ride And Go Seek: Building Monstropolis In Japan with exclusive interviews of the artists and engineers behind the ride (HD 07:58); the short film For The Birds with optional commentary by Director Ralph Eggleston (HD 03:28); the short film Mike's New Car with optional commentary by the Filmmakers' Sons (SD 03:47); commentary by Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, Andrew Stanton, and John Lasseter; sneak peeks; BD-Live interactivity; and up-front ads. Disc Two includes "Roz's 100 Door Challenge" interactive game; a "Humans Only" section that includes a Pixar Fun Factory Tour (SD 03:46); Story Is King—how the Story Department at Pixar works (SD 02:03); the Monsters Are Real featurette (SD 01:31); "The Original Treatmen" original pitch for the film (HD 13:43); "Story Pitch: Back To Work" (SD 04:39); an "Intro To Banished Concepts" by Co-Director Lee Unkrich in which he discusses the fate of five scenes that were banished from the film's final cut (SD 00:32), and the cut scenes: "Assistant Sulley" (HD 02:14), "End Of Day" (HD 02:35), "Bad Scare" (HD 03:00), "Scream Refinery" (HD 01:07), and "Original Sulley Intro" (HD 00:59); three storyboard-to-film comparisons: "Storyreel" (HD 05:42), "Final Color" (HD 05:42), and "Split-Screen Comparison" (HD 05:42); an art gallery; the Designing Monstropolis featurette (SD 02:51); a Set Dressing featurette (SD 03:22); a Location Flyarounds featurette (SD 07:25); and "Monster File" with a Cast Of Characters featurette (SD 05:54) and What Makes A Great Monster? (SD 01:27). "Animation" features the following: Animation Process (SD 03:14); Early Tests (SD 08:05); Opening Title Animation (SD 02:09); Hard Parts (SD 05:01); Shots Department (SD 02:15); and a "Production Demo Intro" (SD 00:42) to a "Storyreel" (HD 01:50), "Layout" (HD 01:50), "Animation" (HD 01:50), and "Final Color" (HD 01:50). "Music & Sound" includes Billy Crystal and John Goodman's "If I Didn't Have You" Monster song and a Sound Design featurette (SD 04:16). "Release" features footage from "The Premiere" of the film (SD 00:58), two trailers, four TV spots, an International Inserts featurette (HD 01:08), a Multi-Language Clip Reel (HD 03:47), an overview of the "Toys" created from the film (SD 01:32), and outtakes (SD 05:27). And finally, there is a brief Wrap-Up featurette (SD 00:46). The "Monsters Only" section includes "New Monster Adventures" with a collection of "Monster TV Treats" (SD 01:13); "Ponkickies 21"—a randomized version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" from Japan; and "If I Didn't Have You" music video. "Behind The Screams" includes an interview—"On The Job With Mike & Sulley" (SD 02:33); and "Orientation" includes a Welcome To Monsters, Inc. video for new Monsters, Inc. employees (SD 00:56), Your First Day overview of the company (SD 03:37), and History Of The Monster World (HD 01:36). Disc Three is the original DVD, and Disc Four is a Digital Copy of the feature.

While the previously reviewed anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD in Issue 64 exhibited a flawless direct-from-digital picture and maximized the quality limits of the DVD format, this new 1.85:1 2K digital intermediate transfer for Blu-ray Disc release is absolutely spectacular! This is a true reference picture, especially to confirm the black level performance of your display system. Blacks are dead black and in a darkened, preferably black, environment the black backgrounds behind the opening door sequence should be pure and solid with no trace of gray. Images are gorgeously rendered, with monster fur and scales perfectly textured. Colors are bold and vibrant, with the deepest blacks and hues that simply pop off the screen. The imagery is impressively three-dimensional and pristine! Resolution is absolutely breathtaking with utterly jaw-dropping detail. The picture exhibits excellent contrast and "shadow
delineation," with children's bedrooms appearing realistically moonlit when the lights go out. There are no signs of distraction, for a picture that will surely delight viewers of all ages. In terms of image quality presentation, Monster's, Inc. is without a doubt one of THE finest reference-quality discs ever released. The image quality is thrillingly scary! (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® Digital Surround EX™ soundtrack on the previously reviewed DVD was absolutely magnificent and definitely represented the outer fringes of the cutting edge for movie sound production. The new DTS-HD Master Audio™ 6.1-channel lossless discrete rendering is simply awesome! The dynamics are more dynamic and the nuances are finely resolved, for impressive effect. This is once again the result of the creative talent at Skywalker Sound, with Gary Rydstrom as the sound designer. Fidelity is outstanding, and the tonal balance sounds remarkably well balanced. In addition to the splendid directional attributes of this soundtrack, a particularly distinguishing asset is the rendering of sound effects. They have a particularly distinct, articulate character, and the wide-ranging creativity translates to some very interesting and often poignant sounds, which give certain visuals particular "definition." The excellent recording quality, of course, translates to the dialogue, with voices sounding very natural and quite well placed with the visuals. And, as was the case for Toy Story 2, there is directionality of voices across the screen. The music has a warm, rich character, with an expansive widescreen presence and aggressive surround envelopment. Deep bass is powerful, occasionally intense, and with a particularly clean-sounding attribute. Extension in the main and .1 LFE channels is detected to well below 25 Hz, and the latter is prominent in activity, when selectively engaged. There are even a few prodigious low-end transients that may pose a challenge to your subwoofer. The soundstage tends to be projected further out into the soundfield than the previous DVD track, which was more balanced toward the screen, The directionalized surrounds consistently serve very effectively in creating a seemingly natural holosonic® presence. They also are distinguished by the selective instances for which they dramatically come alive with poignant separation. And the back surround, usually a factor with enhancing the sense of directionality behind you, works very well for this soundtrack. It helps to impart a seamless, fully enveloping, and spacious surround presence. This soundtrack is an absolute winner in terms of recording quality, frequency, and dynamic range, and of course, creativity. This is true reference quality! (Gary Reber/Perry Sun)