Monsters, Inc. (2001)

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Released 23-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Booklet
THX Trailer-Moo
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers
Isolated Effects Track
Trailer-Finding Nemo
THX Optimizer
Outtakes
Short Film-Mike's New Car; For The Birds
Featurette-Pixar Fun Factory Tour, Production Tour
Featurette-Story (6)
Featurette-Monster Files (3)
Featurette-Design (7)
Featurette-Animation (6)
Featurette-Music And Sound (3), Release (7)
DVD Credits-Release (7)
Featurette-New Monster Adventures (6) - Games, Storybook, Music Video
Featurette-Behind The Screams (3), Orientation (6)
Easter Egg-Theatrical Trailer, bonus featurettes
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 88:25
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (31:52)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter Docter
David Silverman
Lee Unkrich
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring John Goodman
Billy Crystal
Mary Gibbs
Steve Buscemi
James Coburn
Jennifer Tilly
Bob Peterson
John Ratzenberger
Frank Oz
Dan Gerson
Steve Susskind
Bonnie Hunt
Jeff Pidgeon
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $19.95 Music Randy Newman
James Austin Stewart
Matthew Jon Beck


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Matrix (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Effects Track Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, outtakes and company play

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Monsters, Inc. is the fourth computer animated film to come out of Pixar Animation Studios (the first three were of course Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2).

    This time around, advances in computer graphics animation mean we get to see characters with fur, so what better way to showcase that capability than by creating a story about monsters?

    The premise is simple and yet effective. The reason little kids all over the world are scared of monsters behind the closet is because ... there really are monsters who come out of the closet with every intention of scaring children.

    Somewhere in a different world, and possibly in a difference universe, is a world much like ours except it is populated by monsters of all shapes and sizes. All the lights and appliances in that world are powered by the energy released when a human child screams with fright.

    Therefore, there is a whole industry of monsters who visit each child on Earth as he/she sleeps at night, scare them, collect the scream, and move on to the next child. The "factory" that collects these screams is Monsters, Inc. They keep a replica of the door to every child's bedroom. When the door is connected to the appropriate equipment, it allows a monster to "step" across from the Monster world to the human world, scare the child and collect the scream.

    Although the monsters look fearsome indeed, in reality it is the monsters who are afraid of the children. They believe that a human child has the ability to destroy the world as they know it, and even being touched by an item of clothing belonging to a child can bring dire consequences.

    The story is about two monsters called James P. Sullivan, also known as "Sulley" (John Goodman), and his friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal). Sulley is the best Scarer at Monsters, Inc. and Mike is his assistant. However, rival scarer Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi) is determined to beat Sulley and take the all-time record for top scarer. One day, Sulley discovers that Randall has been trying to collect additional screams after hours and has left a child door activated. Sulley goes in to the room, and accidentally brings a little girl (Mary Gibbs) back with him to the Monster world.

    The rest of the film is about how he and Mike cope with the girl and their attempts to return her back to the human world. Along the way, they discover a nefarious plot as certain individuals will stop at nothing to ensure Monstropolis will never be short of screams to power the city ...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is in widescreen 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, with very slight black borders around the frame. The intended aspect ratio is 1.85:1, based on a digital master.

    Given that this film is entirely created using computer animation in the digital domain and then transferred directly to a PAL DVD master, the video transfer is of reference quality.

    Detail levels and colour saturation are perfect, and there are no source artefacts.

    I did not notice any compression artefacts apart from minor posterization around light sources in Chapter 14.

    There are a number of subtitle tracks on the disc: English for the Hearing Impaired, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish. Both the English subtitle tracks are similar, except the former contains transcription of non-dialogue sounds and Foley effects.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in Chapter 14 at 31:52. It occurs when Sulley is in the closet door in Boo's room, which is not a bad place to have a slight pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are four audio tracks on the disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English dts 6.1 ES Matrix (768Kb/s), English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Isolated Effects Track Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s).

    The soundtrack is excellent in its usage of surround channels and the subwoofer. I noticed numerous instances of panning of sounds across speakers and directional sound effects. In addition, the background music is also mixed to all channels. The subwoofer channel is reasonably well utilized for numerous sound effects with low frequency extensions.

    Both Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 5.1 audio tracks are excellent, conveying a full-bodied sound. Dialogue was clear throughout and there were no instances of audio synchronization issues.

    The dts audio track has the advantage of being flagged with matrix encoding of the surround back channel . I noticed quite a few instances of Foley effects directed specifically to this channel, as well as panning of Foley effects across surround channels. I suspect the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is EX encoded, although it is not flagged as such.

    The original music score is by Randy Newman (remember Short People?) who was also responsible for the soundtrack to previous Pixar films. The background music is light and breezy and the various songs sung in the film are appropriately cheesy.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    As one would expect from a "Collector's Edition 2-disc DVD" there are plenty of extras, enough to keep most kids (and adults) happy. The extras on Disc 2 are divided into "Humans Only" and "Monsters Only" sections, although some extras (such as Outtakes, Mike's New Car and For The Birds) are also available directly from the main menu.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced, and include extensive animation, background audio and transitions. Menus are available in English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish. There is also a fairly length menu introduction (0:55).

    The second disc also has extensive menu animation and transition effects, but the menus are in full frame. There are two menu introductions (1:22 and 0:58) - the first one has the various production crew members introducing themselves and giving some hints on how to navigate the extras.

Booklet

    This is a single sheet folded to create 8 "pages." It contains film credits, a photograph of the main characters "autographed" by them, and a navigational guide to the contents of Disc 2.

THX Trailer- Moo (0:36)

    This is presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced, with very slight black borders around the frame) and Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

Audio Commentary- Filmmakers

    This is not a bad commentary, by Pete Docter (director), Andrew Stanton (screenwriter and co-executive producer), John Lasseter (executive producer) and Lee Unkrich (co-director). The commentary track covers the casting of the various voices (I didn't realise how many of the characters were played by various members of the production crew), and the evolution of the plot. It also points out various details in the animation that I didn't notice. In the middle of Chapter 12, they even call the other screenwriter (Daniel Gerson) to clarify a plot point. Although this was fun, I couldn't help but feel that the phone call was kind of "staged."

Isolated Effects Track

    This is an additional audio track containing nothing but Foley effects. I didn't find it to be a very worthwhile extra, except perhaps for demonstrating how frequent, and complex, the sound effects are.

Trailer - Finding Nemo (2:01)

    This is presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced, with very slight black borders around the frame) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

THX Optimizer

    This contains various audio and video tests to help calibrate your equipment for optimal playback of the disc. They are presented in full frame.

Outtakes (5:24)

    These are the "outtakes" (in reality painstakingly crafted and intentional on computer) featured in the closing credits of the film. These are presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s).

    This title also includes the "full version" of "The Monsters, Inc. Company Play Performance Of PUT THAT THING BACK WHERE IT CAME FROM OR SO HELP ME Written, Choreographed, Produced, Directed And Catered By Mike Wazowski" :-)

Short Film- Mike's New Car (3:35); For The Birds (3:16)

    Mike's New Car is presented in full frame and For The Birds in 1.78:1 non 16x9 enhanced. The audio tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s).

    You can also choose to watch Mike' New Car with audio commentary by two of the crew's children (Dolby Digital 2.0 192Kb/s), and For The Birds with audio commentary by director Ralph Eggleston (Dolby Digital 2.0 192Kb/s).

Featurette- Pixar Fun Factory Tour (3:46), Pixar International Air Show (2:14)

    This is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). You get a quick tour of the new Pixar facility presented by John Lasseter, including various offices, the Love Lounge, the atrium and the theatre.

    The second featurette is only enabled after you've played the first, so technically it is an "Easter Egg." It is an extended version of the first "Pixar International Air Show" held in the atrium of the building.

Featurette- Story (6)

    These are various featurettes relating to the development of the storyline, all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). They contain a mixture of interviews, behind the scenes footage and film excerpts.

Story Is King (2:03)

    This features interviews with:

Monsters Are Real (1:33)

    This features interviews with:

Original Treatment (13:45)

    This is done as narration voiced over a set of colour sketches accompanied by background music.

Story Pitch (Back To Work - Early Version) (4:39)

    This is an extended sequence of Bob Peterson talking through a scene on the storyboard.

Banished Concepts

    This is a set of "deleted scenes", introduced by Lee Unkrich (co-director). They are presented as a set of storyboards with voiceovers, background music and sound effects.

Storyboard To Film (5:43)

    This is a set of multi-angles comparing storyboard to final film for a specific scene.

Featurette- Monster Files (3)

    These are various featurettes relating to the various monster characters in the film, all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). They contain a mixture of interviews, behind the scenes footage and film excerpts, introduced by:

Cast of Characters (5:54)

    This introduces the various characters in the film, as well as the actors supplying the voices.

What Makes A Good Monster? (1:27)

    This introduces the various people responsible for designing the monsters.

Character Designs (1:27)

    This has various stills and "turnaround" videos (0:34) for the various monsters:

Featurette- Design (7)

    These are various featurettes and photo galleries relating to various design aspects of the film, all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Monstropolis (2:51)

    This is an introduction to the design of the monster world, including various design sketches and excerpts from the film. Interviews include:

Setting The Scene
Set Dressing (3:24)

    This is a demo of how scenes in the film are "dressed" using software, and also how "pipes" are created. Interviews include:

Step Through

    This is a series of stills showing how various scenes in the film are progressively "dressed" to include objects.

Colour Scripts

    This is a photo gallery containing a set of 72 colours stills of sketches of various scenes in the film.

Master Lighting

    This is a photo gallery comparing the differences between concept art and final art for 8 scenes from the film.

Location Flyarounds

    These various videos (complete with background audio of Foley effects in Dolby Digital 5.1 384Kb/s) "walking" us through various locations in the film:

Monstropolis Art

    This is a photo gallery of various concept art stills (in black and white and colour) for the film

Guide to "In" Jokes

     This is a set of 21 stills explaining the various "in jokes" in the film, which are usually tiny details on objects or names of various establishments embedded within the film.

Featurette- Animation (6)

    These are various featurettes relating to the animation of the film, all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Animation Process (3:14)

    This is an introduction to the animation process, from story reel, to layout, to animation, to simulation, to shading and lighting. Interviews include:

Early Tests (8:15)

    These are some early animated scenes, presented in variety of aspect ratios (including 1.50:1 and 1.80:1 letterboxed) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). The audio track is a commentary by Thomas Porter (supervising technical director), Steve May (simulation & effects sequence supervisor) and Michael Fong (sequence supervisor).

Opening Title Animation (2:09)

    This is a discussion on how the opening titles animation sequence was conceived and created. Interviews include:

Hard Parts (5:02)

    This is a discussion on how the difficult animation effects were achieved (eg. fur, clothes, snow). Interviews include:

Shots Department (2:16)

    Galyn Susman (simulation & effects supervisor) talks about the creation of the shots department to handle some of the creative animation challenges in the film.

Production Demo (1:52)

    Lee Unkrich (co-director) gives an introduction (0:42) to a multi-angle feature (presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed) showing the different stages of a scene as it goes through animation (story reel, layout, animation, full colour).

Featurette- Music And Sound (3)

    These are various featurettes relating to the music of the film, all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Monster Song (3:17)

     This features the music of the film, and contains lots of scenes of Billy Crystal and John Goodman singing in studio sessions. Interviews include:

Sound Design (4:16)

    Gary Rydstrom and Tom Myers from Skywalker Sound explain the process of creating various ambience and Foley effects for the film.

Binaural Recording

   Doug Kinder explains in an introduction (1:12) what binaural recording is all about.

Binaural Video (0:57)

    Billy Crystal and John Goodman play around your head :-)

Binaural Audio

    This compares a segment of music originally recorded in stereo (0:46) with a binaural recording made on the scoring stage (1:40) and the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (0:48).

Featurette- Release (7)

    These are various featurettes and galleries relating to the film's release, most of which are presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

The Premiere (0:59)

    This shows the cast and crew arriving for the world premiere of the film.

Toys (1:32)

    The crew plays around and discusses the toys of characters from the film.

Posters

    This is a gallery of 15 posters of the film.

Outtakes (5:24)

    This is another link to the outtakes video.

Trailers and TV Spots

    This contains the following trailers. All are in 1.78:1 letterboxed:

International Inserts (1:09)

    This is a short featurette on the changes made to the film for various audiences around the world (mainly changing text from English to the native language, and changing English signs to icons).

Multi-Language Clip Reel (3:48)

    This shows how a scene in the film is rendered in various languages.

Easter Egg - DVD Credits

    This is two stills providing credits to the DVD authoring team. This is a "hidden" menu item in the Humans Only submenu between "Pixar" and "Animation."

Featurette - Tour (18:36)

    This is a merge of the following featurettes:

    plus a new ending. Following this is a menu of Easter Eggs (all unmarked "doors") containing additional mini-featurettes (all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 192Kb/s) and galleries:

Creative Ideas for Atrium

    This is a gallery of 18 sketches of ideas for what the atrium in the Pixar building can be used for.

Chimp Growl (0:05)

    Very short segment of the chimp "growling."

All-U-Can-Bowl (0:13)

    Short segment of Sulley throwing Boo down a "bowling alley."

"Ted" (0:15)

    Mike and Sulley meet "Ted", the toy dinosaur from Toy Story.

Sulley's Scare (0:05)

    An excerpt from Sulley's "demonstration scare" in the simulator.

DVD Credits

    Another link to the two DVD credits stills.

CDA mishap (0:10)

    Short "outtake" of a CDA operative hitting the glass skylight.

Featurette- New Monster Adventures (6) - Games, Storybook, Music Video

    This is a collection of featurettes, music videos and games, presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s):

Mike's New Car (3:35)

    This is another link to the short film available from the main menu.

Monster TV Treats (1:13)

    This is a set of very short scenes of the characters in the film preparing for various festivities (such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Monday Night Football!).

Ponkickies 21

    Two animations specially produced for the Japanese TV Show, Ponkickies 21:

Peek-A-Boo: Boo's Door Game

    Randall has hidden six pieces of Boo's door in various rooms. Find them, and assemble the door for Sulley! When the door is finished, it opens and you get to see Boo!

Disney Storytime: "Welcome to Monstropolis" (9:32)

    This is an interactive story that you can read along with, as well as click on the screen.

"If I Didn't Have You" Music Video (1:13)

    This is really a trailer for the soundtrack album, presented in 1.78:1 letterboxed.

Featurette- Behind The Screams (3)

    This has three menu items, all presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s):

Outtakes (5:24)

    This is yet another link to the outtakes featurette.

Company Play Program

    This is the "program" for the company play, written by Mike Wazowski. It features a production credits, director's note, song listing, cast listing, cast biographies, autograph, critic headlines, and even ads. It is presented as 23 stills.

On the Job with Mike and Sulley (2:33)

    This is a "Special Report" containing an interview with Mike and Sulley on the scare floor.

Featurette- Orientation (6)

    This has six menu items, presented in full frame (except where noted) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Welcome to Monsters, Inc. (0:56)

    This is the "full" version of the Monsters, Inc. commercial. It is presented in approximately 1.13:1 mail-slotted.

Your First Day (3:37)

    This is the introductory "video" to orientate new employees to Monsters, Inc. It even comes with fake film grain and vertical lines.

History of Monster World (1:40)

    This is a set of sketches, accompanied by voice-over narrating the history of the schism between "mens" and "mons" tribes leading to present day men and monsters.

Employee Handbook

    This is a set of stills of pages from the Employee Handbook, covering:

  1. Your Fellow Employees
  2. Hazard I.D. Symbols
  3. Repetitive Strain Injury
  4. C.D.A.
  5. Safety Check
  6. MI Cafeteria
  7. Door Station Guide
  8. Top 10 Ways to Get Fired
  9. Sample Scare Report
  10. Advertising
Monster of the Month

    This is a single still of photographs of the Monsters Of The Month. Each month is a photograph of Sulley, except for December ...

Scarer Cards

    These are trading cards of various characters in the film, accompanied by voice-over narration by Needleman.

Easter Egg- Theatrical Trailer (1:21)

    This is selected by clicking on the "eye" in the Monsters Inc. logo in the "Monsters Only" submenu. It is presented in 1.78:1 letterboxed and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    The R1 version crams both full frame and widescreen versions onto separate layers of an RSDL disc. I suspect this may compromise the transfer quality of the film. In addition, the R4 gets a matrixed ES encoded dts audio track, so my preference is for the R4. I don't think the DVD-ROM extras are all that significant.

Summary

    Monsters, Inc. is the fourth computer animated film from Pixar Studios. It is a story about monsters who scare human children, and a little human child who manages to sneak into their world, causing mayhem and chaos.

    The video transfer is of reference quality.

    The audio transfer is also of reference quality.

    Extras on this 2-disc edition are numerous and will take weeks to explore.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB, LiteOn LTD-165S, WinXP, WinDVD5 Platinum), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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Comments (Add)
The best DVD so far ( 2002 ) -