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Monsters, INC.
Collector's Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

 

 

Rating: G

Running Time: 93 minutes

Starring the voices of: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, John Ratzenberger, Bonnie Hunt

Screenplay by: Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson
Original Story by: Pete Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, Ralph Eggleston

Directed by: Pete Docter
Co-Directed by: Lee Unkrich, David Silverman

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features:
Disc 1: Audio Commentary with Director Pete Docter, Co-Director Lee Unkrich, Executive Producer John Lasseter and Exectuive Producer/Co-Writer Andrew Stanton, Isolated Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound Effects Mix, Sneak Peeks, THX Optimizer
Disc 2: Outtakes, "Mike's New Car" Animated Short with Optional Commentary, For The Birds" Animated Short with Optional Commentary with Director Ralph Eggleston, Pixar Fun Factory Tour, Story Is King, Monsters are Real, Original Treatment, Story Pitch: Back To Work (Early Version), Banished Concepts, Original Sulley Intro, Storyboard To Film, Cast Of Cahracters, What Makes A Great Monster?, Character Designs, Monstropolis, Setting the Scene, Color Scripts, Master Lighting, Location Flyarounds, Monstropolis Art, Guide to "In" Jokes, Animation Process, Early Tests, Opening Title Animation, Hard Parts, Shots Department, Production Demo, Monster Song, Sound Design, Binaural Recording, The Premiere, Toys, Posters, Outtakes, Trailers, TV Spots, International Inserts, Multi-Language Clip Reel, Production Tour, Monster TV Treats, Ponkickies 21, Peek-A-Boo: Boo's Door Game, Disney Storytime: "Welcome To Monstropolis," If I Didn't Have You Music Video, Company Play Program, On The Job With Mike and Sulley, Welcome To Monsters, INC., Your First Day, History Of Monster World, Employee Handbook, Monster of the Month, Scarer Cards, DVD-ROM

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Reformatted Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (32 Scenes), 2-Disc Set, THX Certified

Released: September 17th, 2002

 

 

I don't mean to go on a rant here, but don't you hate it how a lot of the aspects are controlled in our lives, and how the media as well as certain social aspects tend to misrepresent the truth, all to shove it in our faces? Be it with news overcoverage, the pressures of getting into college and what have you, certain buzz words and hype tend to get us thinking that good things are better than what they really are. And when that happens, I find those things are pretty much downgraded and ruined.

This is more or less how the film industry runs. Good movies become great ones, especially during awards season. Movies with a lot of hype on their back are automatically loved by the public and become "classics." Back in May 2001, I walked into a little movie called Shrek after reading a slew of perfect reviews, hoping to expect a new animated classic. What I thought I got: recycled, bland cinema that was some how "revolutionary" in the eyes of man. Naturally, audiences loved it to death, there more critical praise to be had and everything else with that. "Shrek" went on to become a surprise smash for Dreamworks, becoming one of 2001's biggest hits money wise and critically.

Most of the same things can be said about "Monsters, INC." At the time it held the record for Disney's biggest opening weekend, it made tons of green in the end and critics loved it too. However, many compared it to "Shrek." Let's face it, the movies have their similarities: excellent computer animation, green monsters voiced by famous funnymen and a desire to win the first ever Best Animated Feature Oscar®.

But this brings me back to my original point. Upon hearing about the Academy's announcment in September 2000 that there would be a new catagory for animated films, I was quite delighted. Perhaps animated films were getting the respect they finally deserved. Not all animated films are just for kids. And when it came down to "Shrek," "Jimmy Neutron" and "Monsters, INC."... "Shrek" won. It was obvious. Damn popularity contest. Personally, I thought the wrong movie won. "Monsters, INC." should have claimed that trophy. Don't get me wrong, I see what people like about "Shrek." But when you compare "Monsters, INC." and that green ogre movie, there likes a key difference: one of them is nicely disguised rehash, the other is a pure work of creative genius. But what may be revolutionary to me may very well be rehash to someone else. When I talk to movie fans, many are split down the middle about their favorite computer animated feature from 2001. Some people say "Monsters, INC." while others go on for their love of "Shrek." Go figure.

Yet there is such a key inventiveness to "Monsters, INC." that you can't help but relax and get suckered into an amazingly wonderful unique world for an hour and a half, a place where I found myself wanting to stay so much longer. You know mindbending visionaries are at work doing their magic, and you can't help but watch to see the next thing that they'll pull out of their bag of tricks.

The film's story is set in Monstropolis, a bustling city where all kinds of monsters work hard to support their home. The city runs on the power of children's screams, so it's important everyone does their job to conserve energy and keeps things running. And even those these monsters scare children, they're actually afraid of them. Very afraid.

James P. Sullivan (AKA Sulley, played by John Goodman) and his co-worker and best friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) live in Monstropolis, living out the Ameri---err, Monstropolis dream. The two work for Monsters, INC., the company that harness the screams of children for energy. The duo are the top ranked employees at the company, and are subject to some jealously, particuarly form the chameleon-like Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi). Yet when a little girl enters their world, a world she shouldn't have any idea about, it's up for the pair to protect her. As if that wasn't enough trouble, Sulley uncovers a dark, evil scheme that plans to get rid of the city's power problems for good.

When it comes down to it, "Monsters, INC." is a brilliant piece of work. I'll get to the animation, the voices and all the other elements shortly, but what I loved so much about this movie is how it's a clear parallel to the real human world, with nicely planned layers so that the film works on a variety of different levels (just like the best of animated features).

What strikes me the most is how it's a very, very clever concept, and how it's executed in such a flawless manner. It basically taps into the fears of many children and provides a rather amusing role reversal. While I wasn't the type who was afraid of monsters in my closet or under the bed (though Chucky the killer doll and puberty scared the hell out of me!), it's a classic fear among young children that once their parents tuck them in and they're about enter the dream world, monsters are waiting for them. I just love the idea that monsters are actually scared of the children. This is probably the perfect movie to show kids with that particular fear.

But there's more than that. What I also love about the movie are the little things. I simply love how Monstropolis is like any real world city. The inhabitants have real jobs, homes, make money and has anything a normal city does. What I also got a kick out of is that all the monsters have real, normal names too. There isn't anything unusual at all, but in some irony the only main human character is only identified by a more monster-like name, and the name "Boo" comes to represent what monsters are about.

Beyond that even though lies themes of corporate greed, love, friendship, loyalty and trust. While I don't think the kiddies will pick up on the greed themes so much (but you old folks are sure to enjoy that), there's no denying that the film's originality also blends in what it means to be a true friend, and how facing your fears is important. There's also some elemental theme of love, and being attached to someone you grow to care about. All of this with classy development. It's integrated in a sleek manner, so none of it feels tacked on. Like usual, Pixar hammers in a whole lot of heart in this one.

I must admit I was a bit skeptical coming into "Monsters, INC." When the film was announced, I took note that it wasn't being directed by John Lasseter, one of Pixar's main men and the guy responsible for head directing duties on every other Pixar film up to the point. I guess this might sound a bit hypocritical since I'm into supporting new filmmakers and the like, but I had some reservations when Pete Docter, a Pixar staffer, would direct the film and Lasseter would only serve as an executive producer.

I shouldn't have had any second thoughts in the first place, because Docter, along with co-directors Lee Unkrich and David Silverman, do one extradoniary job. It's very impressive that the world of Monstropolis is so fully realized, which is probably a good reason why I found myself getting sucked into it. Yet the nature and flow of the film is equally balanced to be comical, tender and very effective.

The film's pace is snappy, and there's always something interesting that keeps the film moving and gets you into it even more. It does fly by fast - perhaps too fast, but it surely brings across a lot. The story is well developed, and so are the key relationships. Like the themes themselves, everything has a nice fit, and when it comes down to who the characters are personally and what they're feeling, it's believable.

But there is so much to marvel in the content and dig through, perhaps even catching things you might have missed the first time. Be it the excellent opener that establishes a clear tone of the film, or the downright jaw-dropping doorway finale, "Monsters, INC." knows how to deliver the goods in such a warmhearted and technically perfect manner. Besides some excellent visual jokes, the film supports some hilarious moments and cute one-liners (most likely courtesy of Pixar's headstead writer Andrew Stanton and newbie Daniel Gerson).

Visually, "Monsters, INC." is Pixar's best looking film yet, and that's saying a lot because we know how amazing their computer animation is. But as the times change, technology just keeps on getting more and more advanced. Here's, it's pure eye candy that's quite fantastic. Be it the streets of Monstropolis, the nucleus of Mike's one eye, the Monsters, INC. factory itself or the tiny strands of Sulley's fur, you can see how much pride Pixar takes in the painstaking details, and how much they're worth it. The lighting detail is also excellent. It's colorful, it's bright and it's just so nice. Computer animation is truly an excellent art form.

Pixar has also once again recuirted top notch voice talents, and boy, do they ever shine. I couldn't believe the talents of Billy Crystal and John Goodman never hooked up before, but for their first outing, it's an excellent job. Typically, animated film voices are recorded in separate and then mixed together. So it's each actor doing her/his lines on their own basically. I read somewhere that Crystal was not quite comfortable with this and felt his performance could be better if Goodman was there, so the two did record most of their scenes together. You can sense such a great buddy mood between them, so the chemistry between them is definently there. Each are natural talents, but they bring such a human touch to their monsterly roles. You really feel sucn a sense of humor in their voices that make the characters so joyous, but also, true emotional feelings. They definently make it one great buddy film.

The supporting voices are just as good too. James Coburn's commanding yet reassuring voice is a perfect match for his character, while Steve Buscemi is rather dazzling as the sneaky Randall Boggs. Buscemi is no stranger to roles like Randall, so perhaps that's why it's such a good fit. Jennifer Tilly is quite an effective and interesting choice as Mike's girlfriend Celia, while John Ratzenberger and Bonnie Hunt, both Pixar alumni, do fine jobs in their much smaller roles.

Randy Newman once again composes a memorable, catchy score that truly reflects the busy inner workings of Monstropolis, the feelings Mike and Sulley develop and just the frantic, zany comedy the film tends to showcase. Newman also finally won his ever Oscar® (and a well-deversed one after 4,371 nominations) for the closing song "If I Didn't Have You," which is a very nice song. Also on the sound front, sound effects genius Gary Rydstrom also constructs a wide array of sound effects for all the madness. A lot of people don't usually take note of how key sound effects are in movies, but without them, movies would definently be a bit blander. Be it the screams, the doors or the slightest sense of footsteps, Rydstrom just builds on another layer to the fine world Pixar has created.

Despite all the greatness, is "Monsters, INC." Pixar's greatest work yet? In my opinion, no (that honor belongs to "Toy Story 2"). Yet I believe it does rank up there (it's probably my second favorite full length Pixar film, actually). But as I watched the credits roll during the first time I saw "Monsters, INC.", something hit me right then and there. It wasn't just a feeling of immense satisfaction, but rather, a sense of true awe. My initial reaction was that "Monsters, INC." was a great movie, but then a different feeling began to sank in. It wasn't just a great movie, but rather, a true, pure masterpiece that is sure to go down as one of the greatest animated films of all time, providing quality entertainment for generations to come.

 

 

You'd expect with the revolutionary digital-to-digital transfers Pixar has been putting out for all their films that you'd expect the same with "Monsters, INC." To my absolute shock... the transfers are not perfect. I don't know if it deals with the process, manufacturing... but somehow, slight little things prevent the transfers to be perfect. It's not too bad... but it's annoying to an extent. Still, it shocks and puzzles me all at the same time.

The picture looks so damn good it's almost lifelike. It's just downright beautiful. Colors and perfectly saturated: they're treats to the eyes as image looks downright vibrant. The colors are really amazing. Be it the greens of Mike himself, the intricate lighting of the Scare Floor or the little things in Boo's room... there's no denying how great the transfer looks. Black levels and shadow details are also very, very impressive, while resolution looks pretty great. Detail itself is amazing... the way Sulley's hair blows, how the characters movie, the backgrounds... it really comes to life so magically, feels so right and will put you in some sense of awe, as these Pixar transfers tend to do.

So what's the problem? For one thing, there's very, very slight edge enhancment. Why it's there I don't know. But what does get distracting is the hideous amount of noise and shimmering. Be it on objects, edges of locations or the characters themselves... it's there, and it really shouldn't be. I guess it's somewhat frustrating, but when everything else is so good, it's hard to complain. Too bad there's a lot of it...

The widescreen version is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, but also included on this release is a specially formatted 1.33:1 full screen version for families. Since "A Bug's Life," Pixar has been providing these excellent full screen transfers. While it's not perfect in comparison to widescreen, it's better than your usual pan and scam. Here they reframe shots by putting things closer together, rearrange certain shots... or at times just plain crop. Sometimes you even see more picture than on the widescreen. But if you have to watch it full screen... it could be worse.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track for "Monsters, INC." is reference quality if you ask me. While this is also a reference quality 5.1 mix, if you have the extra channel and can support EX, you're really in for one wild ride. Every little thing makes a big impression on this track. There are a plentiful of surround effects to really enjoy here such as the roars of Sulley, the opening scene after the monster fails his test, the trash compactor, the restauraunt scene and its aftermath and of course, the wonderful door-oriented climax. It's all here and it really gives your speakers a work out. I loved the fine use of the subwoofer, how centered the front channels were and how well mixed everything was in the rears.

But that's not all! Randy Newman's wonderful, jazzy score sounds so fine and natural through the speakers too. Dialogue from the characters is one-hundred percent crisp, clear and feels all nice and natural in the digital realm. Fidelity and dynamic range are particuarly strong as well. But there's also a fine balance between everything. So you'll not only hear all the surround effects, but the music and dialogue are intertwined quite nicely too. Nothing overpowers anything, and nothing gets losts in the track, which is something one might be worried about given the flurry of surrounds.

Also included are English subtitles and English closed captions. There's also a 5.1 Dolby Digital sound effects only track which I'll get to in a moment. Personally, if it was between that or a DTS track, I'd have trouble choosing because the sound effects mix is quite interesting. But this 5.1 mix is excellent, so I'm not complaining or asking for more.

 

In a nice move from the folks at Disney, there's only one edition of "Monsters, INC." Instead of the usual "standard" and "collector's edition" labels they tend to put for animated films (and in the past, all of Pixar's flicks), here it's just one edition that everyone can enjoy. No waiting for an extra edition or anything, and priced quite reasonably, if you're a die-hard Pixar junkie or a casual fan of the film, the contents here are surely to satisfy you.

On disc one, the stuff here is probably for the die-hard fans or older folk only. We have the usual, excellent Pixar Audio Commentary with Director Pete Docter, Co-Director Lee Unkrich, Executive Producer John Lasseter and Exectuive Producer/Co-Writer Andrew Stanton. I love their group commentaries... they even remind me of Kevin Smith commentaries in a way, since it's a group of friends sharing laughs, but also a lot of interesting stuff. The group have a lot of fun moments, but they give a lot of insights into how long in takes to make an animated film, how much it changes and what they set out to accomplish. It seemed there were a lot of challenges with the production, but a lot of interesting stuff about the story is shared here. A lot of the effort though paid off, as with the final film. Though I must admit since Lasseter does so much talking and tells so much, you almost feel he directed the project! You can only listen to the commentary on the widescreen version, however.

Also on disc one is an Isolated Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound Effects Only track. Like the commentary, it can only be listened to on the widescreen version track (maybe because they know the audience for each of these will be really into filmmaking and like widescreen and all of that?). This probably won't be of much interest to people, but I urge you to listen to at least some of this. I went on about the amazing work Gary Rydstrom has done for the film, but here there's no dialogue or music. Just sound effects. And this movie has a TON of them. Even in the smallest scenes, there are a lot and they are key. Very cool and very interesting. Here you get surround sound heaven.

Also on disc one are some Sneak Peeks: Disney's next theatrical animated outing "Treasure Planet" (in non-anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1), a lame full frame "Inspector Gadget 2" preview (direct to video!), "Lilo and Stitch" (in non-anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1), a full frame "Beauty and the Best" DVD preview and finally, Pixar's next theatrical outing due in summer 2003, "Finding Nemo" in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. I'm looking forward to that one... particularly since it marks Pixar writer Andrew Stanton's computer animated directing debut. Also on the disc is a THX Optimizer so you can configure your home theater.

Disc two houses a majority of the extras. There's a nice introduction from the film staffers, and then there's a main page that cleverly divides the Human World and Monster World. Cleverly designed in menus, the Human World uses doors as seen in the movie, while the Monster World is like going into Monsters, INC. itself. Before I divulge into each world, the main page also has its bit of extras that will probably be enjoyed by those who aren't too into the extras and Pixar fanatics.

Yep, you have your classic Pixar Outtakes. They end up lasting five and a half minutes, and are definently funny, especially the Company Play sequence which is downright classic. These were originally shown in the theaters a few weeks after the film was released. To my disappointment, they're in full screen only (especially since they had to be matted for a widescreen aspect ratio when presented in theaters), but at least there is nifty 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. You'll probably watch these over and over again.

Made exclusively for this DVD release (cool!) is an all new Pixar animated short, starring your two favorite "Monsters, INC." protagonists. Entitled Mike's New Car, this is everything you'd expect from a Pixar short: it's sweet, it's funny and it's to the point. Somehow they take a simple concept, apply slapstick you've seen before and it still feels pretty fresh and original. This short follows our favorite green one-eyed monster Mike as he gets his new car. He shows it to Sulley... and as you'd expect, things go pretty awry. The short is presented in full frame and mixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and if you wish to hear it, there's an Optional Commentary. I don't wish to ruin who's making the comments on this short, but I was really thrown off when I selected the option to listen to this. You'll find some interesting insights here, a certain concept that's not quite in the movie, a conception that water is hard to animate on computers and a whole lot of random comments. Fun stuff.

Right before the feature itself started in theaters when the film was released, in Pixar tradition, they showed off a little animated short called For The Birds. It did end up winning the Best Animated Short Film Oscar®, and it's definently quite an amusing little treat. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (yes!) and 5.1 Dolby Digital, it's really fun. As an excellent little bonus, you can also listen to an Optional Commentary With Director Ralph Eggleston. Since this is a short, Eggleston talks a bit fast but says quite a lot in his mere three and a half minutes. He shares some insights, even pointing out same names of the birds and how certain individual characteristics shift to a unified characteristic between all the tiny birds. Eggleston also cites it took two and a half years to put this short together, and was done mainly for fun and not for breakthrough purposes, yet he does cite what revolutionary aspect this short developed. Very spiffy stuff here.

So into the Human World. Under the "Pixar" door, there's only one item and that is the Pixar Fun Factory Tour. Presented in full frame and lasting a bit over three and a half minutes, this is an amusing look at Pixar's new studio. Personally, I'd love to work there. Looks like a great atmosphere... they even have their own pet monkey!

Moving onto "Story," Story Is King is introduced by David Silverman, and talks about how a story is developed and then the process in developing it goes. Story Supervisor Bob Peterson describes his work, and then there's him making a story pitch. Pete Docter, completed film and rough animation are also in this two minute piece.

Monsters are Real is a minute and a half full frame piece with film clips and interviews with John Lasseter, Disney animation exec Thomas Schumacher, Lee Unkrich, Billy Crystal and a few others talk about the approach of the monsters themselves in that they're afraid of kids. The Original Treatment lasts a little under fourteen minutes, and is simply narration of a bunch of storyboards that told the original story. As you'd expect, this is waaaaaaay different from the final film, so it is quite interesting. The Back To Work is more or less a four minute four second story pitch, which is pretty nifty.

Banished Concepts has an introduction from Lee Unkrich, plus four of the banished concepts: "Assitant Sulley," "End Of Day," "Bad Scare" and "Scream Refinery." The scenes are in story reel format, but still intriguing and cool to watch nonetheless. The last one is even slightly animated in 2-D. The Original Sulley Intro is in non-anamorphic widescreen, and is in the second to last finished computer animation stages. No introduction in why they changed the intro... but it's pretty similar to the one in the final film, just cut a bit differently. Finally, Storyboard to Film is a multi-angle feature where you can watch a sequence in its final form, story reel or split screen comparison.

In "Monster Files," Pete Docter, producer Darla Anderson, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich talk about that the voice process is done long before the actual information. They introduce the main voice cast and their characters, plus the surprise voice of Roz in Cast Of Characters. What Makes A Great Monster? has interviews with the character designers of the monsters, and how they developed them. Stills and film clips are shown to give an idea of the process. Topping the section of is a nice Character Design section where you can view stills for particular character or character pairings.

Under "Design," Monstropolis is introduced by David Silverman, and has interviews with him, Lee Unkrich and a few others in how the wondrous world of Monstropolis was designed and put together. Since I loved how they created the world and how great it was, this certainly kept my interested. Definently a job well done. Setting The Scene has two parts. The first, "Set Dressing," talk about what Pixar did in where they took blank sets and then added props. It's a new department, and the supervisor for it, Sophie Vincelette, talks about how it was all created with on-screen examples and film clips. Complex but neato stuff. The second part, "Step Through," is stills of the layers of set dressing. Nice.

Color Scripts are stills meant to look like abstract art, while Master Lighting lets you look at various stages of the art and its effects in lighting. Location Flyarounds lets you view the main locations in excellent video shots (You can watch "Downtown," "The Apartment," "Monsters, INC.", "Simulator" and "Boo's Room"). Rounding it out are many, many, many cool stills for various locations: "Monstropolis," "Monsters, INC.", "Scare Floor," "Door Vault" and "Door Station." Rounding it out is a Guide to "In" Jokes. They're 21 in this section which you can read through and see stills. Some are obvious, others... not so obvious.

In the "Animation Door" we have Animation Process. Pete Docter introduces the animation process, while David Silverman describing the process, followed by examples from Lee Unkrich. Animator Glenn McQueen and someone else goes into it a bit more in-depth, and you'll see a bunch of behind the scenes footage. Early Tests are accompanied by audio commentary with Thomas Porter, Steve May and Michael Fong. The trio talk about test models and how they created the whole world, and how the designed process changed. As they talk, you'll see animation you've never seen before (boy, does Sulley look different!). It lasts a bit over eight minutes, and if you're interested in what everything was before it really became everything, this is your place.

Opening Title Animation discusses the process of the retro-ish openin titles and why it was done in 2-D animation. Thomas Schumacher, David Silverman, Pete Docter, Thomas Porter, John Lasseter, Pixar and Apple honcho Steve Jobs, Steve May, Michael Fong and more talk about the complexity of the movement and animation in Hard Parts, which is in full frame, has behind the scenes footage, rough animation and final film clips.

Shots Department is a new department at Pixar, in how they developed simulation in production and the technical issues in how they accomplished it all. This department's supervisor, Galyn Susman, lends a ton of insights about the process with footage in what she's talking about. Complex, technical but certainly interesting stuff. Finally, Production Demo, is your angle feature where you can switch back and forth on the fly between the storyreel, layout, animation and final color. An introduction is included here from Lee Unkrich about it all going through different stages.

In "Music and Sound," Monster Song has interviews with Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Lasseter and composer Randy Newman himself among others about his Oscar® winning song. There's even footage of Crystal and Goodman performing it. Gary Rydstrom is then the main focus for this nifty featurette, Sound Design. His co-worker Tom Meyers talks about creating the sound too, comparing it to painting a house and how the process is done. There's foley artists performing, clips from the film with the sound effects and how certian sounds from those clips were created, equipment and a bit more. Really interesting, and I urge you to all listen to that 5.1 isolated surround sound effect track!

Rounding this door out is Binaural Recording. Introduced by a post production guy at Pixar (Bill something, sorry, I couldn't catch his last name), he talk about making the masters for the DVD - video and audio. He talks about getting a surround effect out of headphones and even does some examples. In binaural video, there's footage of John Goodman and Billy Crystal trying to freak you out. In the audio portion, you can listen to "Sulley's Work Out" as in the original film mix in stereo, a 5.1 mix, or the binaural of Randy Newman's original stage recording. I tested out all the features here with headphones... and man, binaural is amazingly cool! It does feel purely surround... very cool stuff. Dolby Headphone track my ass!

To top it all off is the "Release" section. The Premiere is a full frame feature on everyone arriving for the premiere at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood. It lasts a good minute. Toys has the film staff reflecting on the wonders of merchandising (you know how much Pixar loves toys!), while you can view a variety of Posters too (I wish they were blown up bigger). You also have your Outtakes once again, followed by the Theatrical Teaser Trailer, the first Theatrical Trailer and the hilarious second one. There are also four TV Spots. International Inserts talk about the changes that need to be made in visuals in the international versions of the movie (must be annoying), while the Multi-Language Clip Reel has the film in 30 different languages in one of the early scenes. Finally, there's the Production Tour which is just the introductions of the clip sections.

Moving into Monsters Only, some of the stuff is pure rehash of things you can find on other parts of the second disc. In "New Monster Adventures," you can check out "Mike's New Car." There are also Monster TV Treats which are quite hilarious. Same goes for Ponkickies 21, where Pixar took their monster characters to be special guests on some little segments there. Fun stuff. Peek-A-Boo: Boo's Door Game. It's a simple and slightly amusing game aimed for the kiddies. Disney Storytime: "Welcome To Monstropolis" is a little feature which can be read by a narrator or be read by the viewer to get a sense of the film's story. The "If I Didn't Have You" Music Video isn't really a music video, but rather, a shortened version of the song which is used to advertise the soundtrack. You also have some DVD-ROM extras that include games and the storytime feature.

"Behind The Screams" has the outtakes yet again, but quite amusing is a faux Company Play Program as featured in the outtakes. Do read that! Finally, On the Job with Mike and Sulley have our two leads being interviewed by the TV station news anchor in Monstropolis. Sorta amusing, I suppose.

And our last section, "Orientation," features a blown up Welcome to Monsters, INC. spot as seen in the movie. Your First Day is a little faux video about the world of the company, using film clips and stills from the artists. Definently a fun three and a half minutes. History Of Monster World is a story reel about how monsters came to be and their struggle against humans, while the Employee's Handbook is a fun little thing to browse about working at the company. Quite creative. Monster Of The Month is simply portraits of Sulley as seen in the movie (oh, and one of Mike) while Scarer Cards are character biographies of all the film's main monsters and narrated. Even if the narration doesn't match the words on the cards all the time, it comes close. Like the handbook, this is certainly a hoot. And as you can see... that's a lot of features for the second disc, totalling well over three and a half hours. Great stuff here!

The keepcase insert is also done in a very nice fashion that highlight most of the extras, have the usual Disney Collector's Edition flowchart, your chapter listings, a nice cast of characters photo page and the like. Very cool.

 

Do I really need to tell you how great this set is? Do I really need to tell you how great the movie is too? "Monsters, INC." is another filmmaking benchmark from those talented geniuses at Pixar in technical and storytelling departments. As you'd expect from previous Disney/Pixar DVD outings, this one does not disappoint. You have your usual wonderful DVD transfers, a classy and whirlwind 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and tons of insightful extras that are not only fun, but really come to show you how a film is made and what can branch off from it. This is DVD perfection at its finest. "Monsters, INC." surely ranks as one of 2002's top DVD releases, and yes my friends, it's so good it's scary!