About This Item

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

Unique ID Code: 0000031815
Added by: RWB
Added on: 29/11/2002 22:04
View Changes

Other Reviews, etc
Places to Buy

Searching for products...

Review of Monsters, Inc. Collector´s Edition (2 Discs)

9 / 10


Toy Story was one hell of a step forward for films - in more ways than one. Firstly, the thing that hit the audience the most, was the scope of the production - the first feature-length film to be completely CGI. And then of course, there was the fact that it was a great film - a film that mixed a strong narrative, excellent set-pieces, and then of course the humour: that worked for all ages.

The studio responsible for this groundbreaking piece of celluloid was Pixar - a division of Disney, and the onlu company that seemed able to breathe life into the now decrepit animation genre. In 1997 they followed up their success with A Bug`s Life, which, although it wasn`t as successful nor as good, showed that there was some real talent in that animation studio, and if the material was just right, the result would be outstanding.

1999 arrived and with it came the third Pixar feature-length production - the best of the three. Entitled Toy Story 2, it was - as you have no doubt guessed - the sequel to the 1995 film, continuing the story of Woody and Buzz, the toys who were not just a child`s plaything. It was superb. Not only had the animation improved, but also the story, acting, narrative, jokes...all in all it was one great package. A true testament that computers deserve a place in today`s society. And, although I don`t normally say this, I think a second sequel is not only recommended, but damn near essential.

But, getting back to the history lesson. After the critical acclaim their third outing had received, it was back to the drawing board as ever - and the result of this was Monsters, Inc., the story of two monsters who are not evil beasts who stalk innocent humans. Instead, James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) are two average Joe`s going about their daily life, working at the local factory in their world - Monstropolis, which of course is separate from the human world. In order to power their world, they need to collect screams, screams from human children, which are collected by opening doors from the factory into kids` bedrooms and proceeding to scare the living daylights out of them and extracting their screams. Sullivan (or Sulley to his mates) is the top scarer at Monsters, Inc., beating fellow scarer Randall (voiced by Steve Buscemi) by only a few points. Thing is, Randall is up to no good, and after a young girl follows Sulley back into the monster world, things go awry as Mike and Sulley must hide the girl (whilst trying to return her), and Randall will do whatever he can to land the top scarer into as much dirt as possible...

The plot is typical Pixar: the story of the good guys battling against all of the odds in eccentric environments fuelled by popular myths. But the most important question remains - is it any good? Read on...


It is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, and the transfer is jaw-dropping. Crystal-clear visuals, no dust or grain whatsoever, complete absence of any arterfacts or pixellation - just high quality definition, great use of the palette, and to sum it all up in two words: reference quality.

This is of course a CG film. Therefore, expect some real creativity within the 88 minute running time. The quality of the animation is excellent - from the shadows to the facial expressions and overall design of the characters, as well as the feeling that Monstropolis is a real, living, breathing, world: quite an achievement.

Pete Docter directs this time around (John Lasseter, helmer of previous films is executive producer), and the set-pieces in the film are good, and of course there are numerous visual jokes littered throughout.


DD 5.1 EX and DTS tracks are on offer, and both are excellent, with slight emphasis on the DTS track. The surrounds are used well to convey every decible of sound, with the subwoofer springing to life frequently. During tense or music moments, the audio is very ambiant, and the main audio stream is always crisp and clear. Again, reference quality.

The script is funny in places, fairly moving in others. Since this one revolves around the relationship of monster and human, there are some fairly emotional scenes, which are done well. Then of course there is the humour to pad things out, and as said before, the jokes are genuinely funny, and some more obvious than others.

Randy Newman does the music once again, and his catchy theme song, "If I Didn`t Have You" (which sums up the relationships between best buddies Mike & Sulley...after all, this at heart is a buddy-buddy comedy), is great, and won the Best Song award at this year`s Academy Awards. Featuring Newman`s lyrics and with Goodman and Crystal lending their vocals, it compliments the film well.


This is a two-disc Disney DVD. Prepare for a lot of extras...

The first disc kicks off with an audio commentary from the film-makers, and is anecdotal and insightful. Full of enthusiam, they talk their way through the running time with considerable ease, and is well worth tuning into on a repeat viewing.

Then, there is a preview of the next film that will come out of Pixar - entitled Finding Nemo. The plot revolves around Nemo, a fish, so expect some lavish underwater sequences. However, I think I should expect my early reservations about this film - sure, it is good that Pixar are treading new water (no pun intended), but I think the whole fish scene just won`t cut the mustard so to speak. Yes, it will be technically sound, yes, it will have the same formula (humour + appeal to all ages + catchy music + happy ending), but I don`t think the end result will be as good as other Pixar offerings. As they say, only time will tell...

To bring the first disc to a close there is a surround sound effects mix...an audio track that has no dialogue therefore emphasis is on the film`s effects. Not essential, but good to see extra effort has been made.

Moving onto the second disc, things kick start with the choice of entering the "Humans Only" section or the "Monsters Only" section. But, before you do, make sure you check out the extras below the two doors that lead to either world. The first one are outtakes - the ones shown during the end credits of the film. If you have seen A Bug`s Life or Toy Story 2 you`ll know the deal: some pretty damn funny outtakes featuring the characters, `cos after all they`re actors right? Although they are on the first disc, this is a chance to watch them again! Next in line is a short film, entitled "Mike`s New Car". Amusing, similar in style to the film...well worth a watch. The final extra in the non-segregated section is the Academy Award Winner 2001 - Best Animated Short Film: "For The Birds". When I saw Monsters, Inc. at the cinema, this was attached before the film began, so I knew what to expect - a nice little feature for animation fans. Short yet sweet, this is another bit of animated goodness to enjoy.

I`ll start with the "Humans Only" section - and as soon as you`ve clicked on the door, you`re presented with eight more! First up, there is "Production Tour" - a 20 minute look around the studio, meeting the main players and seeing the (fun) environment they work in. Interesting.

Then, there is the subsection "Pixar" - carrying on with the `tour` theme...in the form of "Pixar Fun Factory Tour" - this is a more specific look at the studio, as you see their paperplane contest, and other slightly eccentric yet great fun things that happen at this place of `work`.

The next subsection is "Story" - contained within is seven featurettes, each proclaiming the message that at Pixar, story is king (the first featurette is even named this). They are great, and although short, are comprehensive and interesting.

Then, we move onto "Monster File" - a more `film` extra than a `explanation` extra: the three featurettes stay in character, and go onto show the cast of characters (all but one are monsters); "What Makes A Great Monster?"; and then finally galleries containing character designs (very interesting to look at). This section is more geared up to either the kids who lap up the monsters, or to the deranged who believe in monsters and want to know everything they can about them. Oh, and of course they might just be geared up to people who enjoy material that covers every bit of ground possible...

Next is "Design" - seven featurettes that explore every bit of the film`s structure, including a look around Monstropolis (very well designed) and even a guide to the in-jokes (but doesn`t that take the fun out of looking for them?).

"Animation" features next...six interesting featurettes showing viewers that making a film like this ain`t easy. Covering early tests to the `hard parts` of the film, they`re comprehensive and offer material to people with no prior animation knowledge who just want to look in awe at what they did (I`m in this boat) and to more technical-obsessed people who want to know how certain effects were achieved (DreamWorks are in this boat: so they can nick techniques for their next feature!).

Will this ever end?! Still going strong, the next subsection is "Music & Sound" - three featurettes all to do with the music in the film and then sound design (such as the foley artists and more technical sound aspects). And yes, "If I Didn`t Have You" is here in its entirity.

Finally, we have reached the last subsection (in this section at least!), this one called "Release". The category with the most PR-fluff in it, this is a collection of trailers, TV spots and other publicity materials. Worth a watch, but not captivating.

Now we can move onto "Monsters Only", the section that is included on the single disc edition of Monsters, Inc.. Orientated for more of a younger audience, this includes the following: "New Monster Adventures" - the first short film again ("Mike`s New Car"), "Monster TV Treats", the music video, a clip from an obscure Japansese TV show featuring the two monsters (the show is called "Ponkickies 21" - an obscure title for an obscure show!), an interactive game (featuring doors...one of the themes from the film), a storytime section (for kids learning how to read or p***ed adults who can`t read, or for that matter speak, either), and finally another game - although this time only usable if you have a DVD-ROM drive.

The second subsection is called "Behind The Screams"...the outtakes from earlier on crop up again; but there are two things that haven`t been seen before - "Company Play Program" (if you`ve seen the film this will become obvious) and then a short featurette entitled "On The Job With Mike & Sulley", a short look at their everyday life.

Finally, to bring not only this section to a close, but also the extras on the second disc, is a subsection entitled "Orientation" - for people who want to see just what working at the factory is like, featuring featurettes and some static, monster-themed material.

The menus are animated well (and there are a lot of menus!), with music in the background and some clips of moving objects, et cetera. Even from the menus it is evident a lot of effort has gone into the DVD`s presentation.


Whilst not as good as Toy Story 2 (which will take a lot of beating), this is a great film that is not only a jaw-dropping animation but also a comedy that will appeal to people who normally watch more adult-orientated material. The story is original to say the least, the acting (or voicing to be more precise) is convincing and very watchable, the jokes are intelligent, and fortunately - this does stand up to repeat viewings (in fact, it does a Jackie Brown - it seems to get better with age).

The main factor that makes the film what it is, is the banter and comic timing between the two main leads. Not since a certain astronaut and a certain cowboy made chit-chat has an animation been so enjoyable - hats off to Pixar.

The DVD itself is amazing, to put it bluntly. Think The Phantom Menace, think The Fellowship of The Ring. This is the type of DVD that makes DVD so worthwhile. Flawless presentation is the order of the day.

This review has been one large rave - and now, in the final paragraph, I am going to close with a summary of what has come before: very good film, that whilst not as good as it could have been, is still very enjoyable, and as for the overall package, wow. Go buy.

Your Opinions and Comments

Be the first to post a comment!