Blu-Ray Review: Pixar’s HD Collection Continues With ‘Monsters, Inc.’

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CHICAGO – As Disney/Pixar continues to release new films on Blu-Ray, they often “piggy-back” one title with another from their catalog, choosing to release Pete Docter’s first directorial effort for the company, “Monsters, Inc.” in HD on the same day that they release his new film, “Up”. In a beautiful 4-disc combo pack that includes Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital copies of the film, “Monsters, Inc.” continues the Pixar Blu-Ray tradition. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

John Goodman and Billy Crystal star as the lovable-and-gigantic Sulley and his wisecracking sidekick Mike Wazowski, respectively. Sulley and Mike work for a scream-processing factory in Monstropolis known as “Monsters, Inc.” A little girl named Boo finds her way into the world, scaring the monsters in return, and it’s up to Sulley and Mike to restore order and get the wee one back home where she belongs.

Monsters, Inc. was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 10th, 2009.
Monsters, Inc. was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Walt Disney Home Video

Released in between two of my favorite animated films of all time, “Toy Story 2” and “Finding Nemo,” I’ve always viewed “Monsters, Inc.” as a bit of a valley between giant peaks in the medium. Watching the film again on Blu-Ray, I realized that I may have been too harsh the first time and that even a Pixar valley is higher than most animated films. I still don’t think the film is the best of Pixar, but that wouldn’t stop me from including it in my Blu-Ray collection. Not everything can be “Nemo” or “WALL-E” and “Monsters, Inc.” is a fun, heartwarming family film that would make a nice addition to any Blu-Ray shelf this season.

Monsters, Inc. was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 10th, 2009.
Monsters, Inc. was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 10th, 2009.
Photo credit: Walt Disney Home Video

“Monsters, Inc.” has been available on DVD before and the special features that were previously available have been imported to this edition along with a few new exclusive bonuses. True Pixar-holics are probably most interested in the HD transfer and what’s new, so that’s where we’ll start.

As for the picture, it’s typical-for-Disney-HD. In other words, it’s perfect. The audio in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is similarly perfect. Fans may want to upgrade “Monsters, Inc.” just for the new technical specs and the flexibility allowed by a combo pack that provides versions of the film for Blu-Ray, DVD, and your device of choice for digital copy.

The new special features run the gamut from filler to fascinating. There’s a new game for the little ones called “Roz’s 100-Door Challenge,” a look behind-the-scenes at a movie-themed attraction at Tokyo Disneyland called “Monsters, Inc. Hide and Go Seek: Building Monstropolis in Japan,” an audio commentary, and a filmmaker’s roundtable, in which many of the creators of the film reflect on its production. The filmmaker’s piece is a must-see for true Pixar nuts.

Imported original DVD bonus features include “For the Birds,” the 2001 Academy Award-winning short, and a 2002 nominee called “Mike’s New Car,” “Pixar Fun Factory Tour,” “Banished Concepts,” and much more.

With ten films released by Pixar, there are now six on Blu-Ray - “Monsters, Inc.,” “Up,” “WALL-E,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Ratatouille,” and “Cars”. I expect the “Toy Story” films to be released with the theatrical debut of “Toy Story 3” next year, leaving only “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles” waiting for their HD debut. I make no promises and have no inside information, but I would expect one or two with the BD release of “Toy Story 3” at the end of next year. That means that by this time next year, you could have a complete collection of arguably the most important studio output of films in the last twenty years. Don’t forget to include “Monsters, Inc.”.

‘Monsters, Inc.’ is released by Walt Disney Home Video and stars the voice work of John Goodman and Billy Crystal. It was written by Andrew Stanton and directed by Pete Docter. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 10th, 2009. content director Brian Tallerico

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