much, much more
Scene: A dizzying chase through a warehouse of doors
-- somehow a scene right out of a videogame that isn't the
least bit annoying.
Specs: THX Certified, Anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1).
Specially reframed Fullscreen (1.33:1), Dolby Digital 5.1
Surround EX Soundtrack and Sound Effects only, English subtitles.
over the world tonight, children will wake up screaming
that there's a monster in their room. Running with that
universal constant, Pixar dared to ask "why?" By asking
that simple question and working and working on the answer,
the animation studio came up with one of the best movies
of 2001. Forget about that big green ogre; Monsters,
Inc. has such heart and depth that you will learn to
love a big green eyeball.
has become par for the course when Disney has an animated
hit on their hands, last week's DVD release is nothing less
than stunning. Given THX certification, the wide-screen
film transfer is flawless. Pixar also made sure that those
who hate black bars would be satisfied, too. As they did
with A Bug's Life, the studio digitally reformatted
each scene for full frame. Ah, the advantages of having
the whole film on computer…but don't say that too loudly
around George Lucas.
sound, too, is crisp, and the studio has taken advantage
of it even in the extras. In a look at the Top Scarer trading
cards, the sound transfer is so full that it's easy to imagine
the geeky Needleman dancing around in excitement behind
give the best viewing experience possible, Disney has kept
Disc One free of distraction. Though it does feature the
standard sneak previews (including for Pixar's next, Finding
Nemo), the disc is mainly the film, in either viewing
option. A commentary track also exists, and for those really
interested, it's one of the best of its kind. Though all
in the recording studio are having fun, they don't devolve
into cracking each other up and pointless commentary. It
all stays focused on how they ended up making the movie
they did, and it provides a great lesson in how to tell
of the extras on Disc Two have the same devotion. In a tour
of Pixar Studios, studio president John Lasseter stresses
that the company is all about story, and it shows. (The
tour will also make you hate your day job. Pixar looks too
fun to be real.) Extra after extra reveals how much hard
work went into creating the final story, and how much got
thrown by the wayside. The original pitch has some resemblance
to the movie we got, but it just doesn't seem nearly as
clever. But they include every iteration, and even a backstory
that explains the origin of the monsters. CrossGen's Saurians
have a lot in common.
in that second disc, the extras may seem overwhelming. Helpfully,
the studio has put the obvious "gotta watch" things right
up front on three scream canisters. The "outtakes" from
the film are a bit tired, but they end with highlights from
the Monsters, Inc. company play, "Put That Thing Back Where
It Came From." Paired with the new short, "Mike's New Car,"
this disc proves that Mike Wazowski is one of Billy Crystal's
greatest comic creations, good-naturedly self-absorbed and
extremely funny. Somewhere in his family tree lurks Daffy
Duck, only fitting for a film which owes as much to Looney
Tunes as it does to classic Disney storytelling. Also sitting
on a scream canister is "For The Birds," an amusing short
that played theatrically with Monsters, Inc.. But
even if you're not interested in the technical side of things,
you owe it to yourself to dig deeper into the disc.
behind-the-scenes interests you, enter the door marked "Humans
Only." Everything you could possibly want to know about
how this film was put together is here. Also buried behind
a door is a guide to the inside jokes in the film. For pompous
jerks like myself, this section is a must-see.
door marked "Monsters Only" will hold the attention of even
younger kids. It opens onto the lobby for Monsters, Inc.,
and every choice has been placed there strictly for entertainment
value. In addition to repeating a link for "Mike's New Car,"
Mike and Sully's outside appearances are all included. Some
seem to be lifted out of promos for ABC (there's a Monday
Night Football piece), and then there are a couple of bizarre
sequences for a Japanese kids' show, Ponkickies 21. It's
notable just to hear the Japanese voices for Mike and Sully.
you might not automatically take (but should) would be to
enter Orientation, which includes the history of Monster
World and the above-mentioned Scare Trading Cards. If you
go into Behind The Screams, you can also take a look at
the program for the company play, a too well thought-out
tribute to the self-proclaimed genius of Mike Wazowsky.
on the Monsters, Inc. logo in the lobby will take you to
an Easter Egg, heralded, of course, by a chimpanzee dressed
as a rabbit hunting easter eggs on the Pixar lawn. Strangely
enough, this chimpanzee is ubiquitous throughout the disc,
and thankfully, nobody ever explains him. They have plenty
of chances, because director Pete Docter, Lasseter, and
several other staff members pop up all over the place. Pixar
will not be a faceless studio.
only personality problem is in the character of Roz. It's
really clear that everybody at Pixar finds her really funny,
as she's voiced by one of their own, story supervisor Bob
Peterson. But she works best in small doses. Unfortunately,
she too is everywhere, even narrating the storybook included
for little kids.
that's a minor quibble. This disc is a must-have, for both
die-hard movie geeks and the families that put up with them.
Inc. at Amazon