Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray review plus behind-the-scenes clips

Scene from the Disney-Pixar film Monsters Inc.
Scene from the Disney-Pixar film Monsters Inc.

Pixar creates yet another masterpiece of animated cinema with Monsters, Inc., taking their talents this time to the magical world of a child’s worst fears – monsters in the closet. According to the film, the way it works is that those monsters that hide in the closet and scare little kids do so only because they have to – they use kid’s screams as energy to power Monstropolis, which exists just on the other side of every kid’s bedroom closet door.

Monsters, Inc. tackles some of the myths we all grew up with, by illustrating that evil may not so simple to define. And since not all children have the same fears, both the monsters and children are carefully profiled so the scream output is maximized.

Every night, the monsters venture into our world through closet doors and collect screams, with a running competition for who collects the most. Current scream leader is Sully (John Goodman), who’s actually a good-hearted monster. In second place is Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), evil by all standards, even a monster’s.

One child, Boo (Mary Gibbs), who apparently isn’t afraid of anyone except Randall, enters the monster world and instantly causes panic. It turns out that Boo is a victim of a more global conspiracy that Sully and his friend Mike (Billy Crystal) must unearth, and in doing so, they find a source of power that is more fulfilling than a child’s scream. But returning Boo home safely and undetected proves to be a challenge no one expected.

Monsters, Inc. has a sophisticated story line and contains some incredible animated sequences. The gadgets and workings of the power factory are imaginative and inspiring. Overall, it stands out as one of the best of the genre to date.

Monsters Inc Blu-ray package art
Monsters Inc Blu-ray package art
Bonus Material

  • Filmmakers Round Table features Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, Darla Anderson and Bob Peterson reflecting on the creation of the film, and sharing their most memorable anecdotes. A highly enjoyable featurette, Filmmakers Round Table alone makes the Blu-ray worth buying, even if you already have Monsters, Inc. on DVD.
  • Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek: Building Monstropolis In Tokyo presents a sneak peak of the new Monsters ride at Tokyo Disneyland, featuring interviews of the artists and engineers behind the attraction. I’m a huge fan of engineering, so I found this featurette informative and fun.
  • Roz’s 100 Door Challenge Think you have what it takes to be a Monsters, Inc. employee? Roz will be the judge of that with her 100 Door Challenge. Deal with whatever is behind each new door, including a puzzle, a trivia question, or a mini-game.
  • Mike’s New Car is an Academy Award nominated short film where Mike gives Sulley a tour of his brand new car. The short features and audio commentary by the directors. (Original DVD Bonus Feature)
  • Academy Award winning short film “For the Birds” (With Audio Commentary By Director) (Original DVD Bonus Feature)
  • Banished Concepts are a collection of five abandoned scenes that open with an introduction by co-directer Lee Unkrich. Some of the concepts feature finished animation, but most are animated storyboards and early pre-viz renderings. (Original DVD Bonus Feature)
  • Storyboard to Film Comparison allows viewers to watch a scene’s original storyreel, its final rendering, or in a split-screen comparison of the two. (Original DVD Bonus Feature)
  • Monster file is a two-part EPK that introduces the film’s monsters, featuring interviews with the voice actors, and views at the animators’ original character designs. (Original DVD Bonus Feature)
  • Animation Gag Reels include Sulley/Boo/Waternoose, Giraffe Gag and Sulley Bowling Boo. (Original DVD Bonus Feature)
  • Animation includes six segments: Animation Process which explains how Pixar produces its films; Early Tests which finds Mike and Sulley models in early test scenes; Opening Title Animation which touches onillustrator Geefwee Boedoe’s title sequence; Hard Parts which reveals the challenges the filmmakers faced during production; Shots Department which shows how the animators dealt with hair and fabric shots; and Production Demonstration which allows viewers to watch a scene develop through four stages of animation, including story, layout, animation and final color.
  • Music & Sound is a pair of featurettes centering on the film’s sound design and Billy Crystal and John Goodman’s performance of If I Didn’t Have You.
  • Release includes footage from the film’s premiere, along with theatrical trailers and TV spots. The segment also discusses changes that were made to accommodate international releases, merchandising, and the outtakes that appeared during the theatrical release’s credit sequence.
  • Monsters Only Section includes some additional featurettes, including a collection of TV vignettes, two animated activities produced for a Japanese television show, and a music video for If I Didn’t Have You. There are also three of animated videos drawn and narrated by animation legend Bud Luckey in this section.
  • Wrap-Up includes a farewell from the filmmakers.
  • An Art Gallery of hundreds of pieces of conceptual art, including character designs, early renderings, and more, rounds out the bonus material.
  • Disney Digital Copy for iTunes or Windows Media Player
  • BD-Live Features

The Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray is presented in 1080p Widescreen, with an Aspect ratio of 2.35:1; 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 Dolby Digital in English, French and Spanish, with English SDH, French, Spanish subtitles.

Original Release Date: November 2, 2001
Blu-ray Release Date: November 10, 2009

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman
Cast (voice talent): John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger, Frank Oz, Daniel Gerson, Steve Susskind, Bonnie Hunt, Jeff Pidgeon, Samuel Lord Black, Jack Angel




Roundtable Favorite Scene (Bonus)

On the Job (Film clip described in “Roundtable Favorite Scene”)

Featurette: Tokyo Monstropolois (Bonus)

CLICK HERE to purchase Monsters, Inc. on Blu-ray or DVD.