Blu-Ray Review: Monsters, Inc.

Monsters, Inc. Blu-Ray ReleaseJohn Goodman are back and Billy Crystal are back… on Blu-Ray! OK, so Monsters, Inc.‘s release on Blu-Ray isn’t that exciting since we’ve now determined that it really isn’t worth upgrading from DVD to Blu-Ray, but at least be excited that the beloved Disney-Pixar movie now comes with some great new special features. And some not-so-great ones.

Of all the Pixar movies aside from Cars, Monsters, Inc. has, for some reason, been one of my least favorites, but unlike Cars, which I hated, it is still pretty good; It just didn’t grab me like their other films have. I have yet to re-watch it, but I did peruse the tons of bonus features included in this four-disc pack (two Blu-Rays, the DVD and a digital copy) and am now looking forward to giving it a second chance.

The Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Combo pack begins the show with two new bonus features, one that looks at Monsters, Inc.: The Ride and another featuring a round table discussion with the movie’s creators. Disney has put a ton of money into making a massive “Monstropolis” ride in Tokyo Disneyland, and the featurette explores the creation of the environment and the experience. While there’s clearly some promotion going on here (the ride looks like a variant to the Roger Rabbit ride, albeit on a grander scale), the featurette does a good job of providing some interesting tidbits.

The round table is the best featurette on the disc, as we get to hear the four head creators of the movie discuss the film several years after its release. They recall some interesting stories, reflect on some particular decisions and bring up the chimp they brought in just to be funny for the original DVD bonus features (“Some applicants said they wanted to work at Pixar because they had a ‘monkey'”). Furthermore, they discuss the implications of 9/11 on the film (one scene had to be changed) and their concerns about whether anyone would want to go to the movies amidst war and anthrax scares. The entire discussion is very interesting.

The first disc also includes an audio commentary as well as some bonus features included on the original DVD, such as the two animated shorts For the Birds and Mike’s New Car.

The second Blu-Ray disc includes a 100-Door Challenge Game, which apparently is a “hundred” games according to the director’s intro, a Pixar Fun Factory Tour, which shows the office spaces of some of the employees at Pixar (Steve Job’s office looks very spartan and clean compared to everyone else’s, such as the guy who had a miniature door that led to a secret room called the “Love Room” or something like that, and a collection of banished concepts, which is basically a bunch of “deleted” storyboards. A lot of the other featurettes include a fair amount of storyboard action (you can watch parts of the film timed to the original storyboards), but it gets tiring watching the crude animation after a while. There are a bunch of other little featurettes scattered throughout, some better than others but generally unremarkable.

If you already own Monsters, Inc. on DVD, investing in this new collection doesn’t make sense, but the Blu-Ray version could certainly make for a good stocking stuffer for those who don’t. The bonus features are a mixed bag – the best by far is the round table discussion – so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time on the second disc.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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