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Monsters, Inc. Collector´s Edition (2 Discs) (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000031814
Added by: Mark Oates
Added on: 20/9/2002 06:26
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Review of Monsters, Inc. Collector´s Edition (2 Discs)

9 / 10


Monsters Inc. is the latest movie produced by the Disney/Pixar partnership that has brought us such family classics as "A Bug`s Life", "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2". Like its stablemates, it has an ingeniously simple idea behind the story - the Monsters that hid in your closet at night are real. The reason they scare kids is to generate power for Monstropolis from their screams, but they are almost as scared of the kids as they believe human children to be dangerously toxic (any arguments there?).

Technically, the movie cannot be faulted. Pixar have made a fine art of computer animation to the extent that (now the novelty has worn off), you can concentrate on enjoying the picture for what it is rather than thinking "Wow, look at the rendering on that fur!". If anything, it is in storyline that Monsters Inc. isn`t quite up to the standard of "Toy Story" or its sequel. It`s obvious Disney is having a bad influence on Pixar as the larger studio`s liking for saccharine has dulled the knowing edge that the earlier films had. Don`t get me wrong, Sulley and Mike are the best double act since Woody and Buzz and little Boo is the cutest thing on screen since Shrek`s Donkey, but really there`s too much emotional manipulation going on at times. Only the hardest heart could fail to find the final moments of the picture a lump-in-the-throat moment, but I`d wonder about the difficulties of cheering up a tearful four-year-old before bedtime after showing them this one.


The Collector`s Edition is presented in the original 1.85:1 frame format (unlike the "Family Edition" which was re-rendered to 1.33:1). The image is spotless, sharp, colourful and devoid of artefacting, which you would expect as the image comes straight from the digital master at Pixar. If you saw the movie at the cinema, you won`t see the movie any better than on this disc.


Although the packaging specifies only a Dolby 5.1 Soundtrack, the movie disc itself carries a whole host of sound treats. The 5.1 soundtrack is actually 5.1EX, as is an isolated sound effects only track. There is a commentary track by Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, but the icing on the cake is definitely the full-throated DTS mix. It is possibly the inclusion of the DTS mix that excluded the fullscreen (1.33:1) version being included on the disc and relegated to the "family" edition.

Included in the extras on disc two are short demonstrations of "binaural recording" which offer 5.1-style surround effects through headphones - a very unsettling sensation when tried out in the middle of the night.


There are way too many extras to be listed here - and they are all reproduced in the disc details section anyway. Suffice to say, they are one of the most comprehensive sets of extras ever to grace a movie and are worth the price of the set alone. Some commentators have complained that in taking the "tour" of Pixar on the disc you are simply shown the extras in order. This isn`t the case. You are shown the introduction sequences of the subsections accessed through the doors of the menu. Thus you get the "Story is king" element from the "Story" submenu, the "cast of characters" from the "monster file" menu and so on. There is a lot more information beyond the tour and in my estimation it`s worth recapping the sequences once you`ve finished the tour. Included in the extras are a storyboard storytelling of the original version of the story (which hardly resembles the finished movie). There are character design galleries which include beautiful 360 degree "turnarounds" of the characters. In the design section there are "Location Flyarounds" which show the virtual sets in fascinating detail. The one for the factory is simply breathtaking and includes a couple of gags. There are trailers, outtakes (shown fullscreen rather than the little window at the side of the end titles), and a new animated short called "Mike`s New Car". The 2001 Oscar winner for Best Animated Short Film "For The Birds" is also included. The menuing system is as charming as the movie with direct access to the outtakes and the shorts, a "humans only" menu consisting of the aforementioned doors which takes you to the production elements, and a "monsters only" menu that takes you to the "Monsters Inc." Orientation Course for Monster Recruits as well as some extra goodies. Monster TV Treats gives you all the special Pixar tie-in animations created for Superbowl, Thanksgiving and Christmas promotions on ABC-tv last year.


Once again, Disney/Pixar have produced a "Collector`s Edition" worthy of the appellation. In spite of the movie`s more sugary content over its predecessors, the end result is a genuinely charming film that bears repeated screenings. The premium paid over the standard "family" edition is well worth it, and at three hours in total the extras on the second disc are a steal.

Only one point of curiosity is the fold-out insert included in the package which makes no mention of the DTS soundtrack and says that there is a 1.33:1 recomposited version of the movie on the disc as well. Possibly Disney reprinted the R1 insert to put in with the disc without checking the differences?

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