Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray Review
Between 1995 and 2004, Pixar released six outstanding movies in a row, starting with TOY STORY and ending with THE INCREDIBLES. In the middle of that streak was the 2001 film, MONSTERS, INC. Until sitting down with this 3D Blu-ray release, I respected it for being original and extremely well made, but I had never really considered myself a huge fan of the film. To be honest, I hadn’t seen MONSTERS, INC. since its theatrical release in 2001 and since then, Pixar has made several, better films (in my opinion) and MONSTERS, INC. got lost in the shuffle. But now that I’ve revisited it, I see why Pixar is going back and making a prequel; it’s one of their most original ideas and has a whole world that has yet to be explored.
The idea for the film is that there’s a world inhabited by monsters and their city runs on the screams of young children. And yes, that sounds exactly like the premise of a great horror movie, but Pixar takes the somewhat adult storyline and makes it kid-friendly by creating brightly colored, funny monsters that are actually scared of little kids. This becomes the basis for the film when a little girl named Boo manages to escape into their world. This sets off a panic of sorts for our heroes, Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) who have to figure out how to get her back to her home all the while evading the devious Randall (Steve Buscemi).
Although Billy Crystal sometimes slips into a Woody Allen impersonation, he and John Goodman give Tom Hanks and Tim Allen a run for their money when it comes to great voice work duos. Crystal’s Mike Wazowski is hilarious and Goodman gives a quiet charm and calm to Sulley that plays well with the eccentric Mike. Add in an evil turn from Steve Buscemi and a great voice like James Coburn as Waternoose and you have an impressive voice cast that makes the film even more enjoyable. If there’s a (small) problem with the film, I’d say it’s with the limited scope. In a world full of crazy looking monsters and a city powered by screams, we don’t get to see a lot of it. I assume that’s what they’ll fix with MONSTERS UNIVERSITY. It’s a small complaint, but finding problems with Pixar’s early work is a challenge.
One thing that I missed when I saw this in theaters was the amount of heart in the film. As Sulley bonds with little Boo, there’s a genuine fear for her safety when Randall kidnaps her. And the scene when Sulley screams in the training room and Boo tears up is heartbreaking. It’s tough for any movie to develop character arcs in a 90 minute film, but Pixar did it with several characters in MONSTERS, INC. Even Mike Wazowski (it’s tough to say that in any voice but Boo’s) managed to grow and develop as the movie progressed.
MONSTERS, INC. is a worthy addition to any collection and the great voice work from Billy Crystal and John Goodman, along with the great writing, make it one of the best animated films of its generation. It does have some intense scenes that may be too much for young children, but kids of all ages should fall in love with Mike and Sulley. The story, characters and beautiful animation of MONSTERS, INC. is impressive and a reminder of how great Pixar can be.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
The TOY STORY trilogy, FINDING NEMO, UP, BRAVE and now MONSTERS, INC. have all been converted to 3D and all have been spectacular. Although I consider AVATAR the reason to buy a 3D home theater, I would say the Pixar movies are the reason to keep it hooked up. MONSTERS, INC. is another in the long line of great 3D conversions, providing great depth and a flawless presentation.
Video: MONSTERS, INC. looks pristine, even in regular 2D Blu-ray.
Audio: I have to give special thanks to Pixar for upgrading the audio to a 7.1 lossless track. The original MONSTERS, INC. Blu-ray had a great 5.1 DTS HD track, but the 7.1 lossless is what audiophiles dream of.
Outakes and Company Play (4:58): These are the outtakes that appear during the credits of the feature film, presented in 3D.
Toy Story Toons: Partysaurus Rex (7:02): Rex is a lot of people’s favorite Toy Story character and here, he gets his own short, letting loose and having a good time. It’s cute and on par for other Toy Story shorts.
Monsters University Sneak Peak (3:04): Obviously, there’s going to be a plug for the MONSTERS, INC. prequel. This is an extended trailer and should help tide you over until the film hits theaters.
Aside from the features listed above, all the other features are copied directly from the original MONSTERS INC. Blu-ray release.