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Blu-ray review: Monster Inc. Combo Pack

Written By | Oct 9, 2007

Monster Inc. Combo Pack (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Rated G, $39.99) releases today. And out of all the films I most looked forward to enjoying in high definition… well, “Monsters Inc.” was always near the top of the list.

The movie, originally released in 2001 not only helped cement Pixar Animation Studios as the leader of digital cartoons in the 21 century and beyond but it had multiple levels of humor to appeal to viewers of all ages.

Well, it’s here folks in a whopping 4-disk set and I am happy to report, Monstropolis has never looked so spectacular. This massaged version is brilliant in clarity, definition and technicolor.

The fun story about a world where the screams of children are used as power, but contact with those children is considered toxic, is icing on the cake to the beauty of the digital 1080p transfer. For those unaware, the top scream team of James P. Sullivan and one-eyed Mike Wazowski are on the verge of breaking the scream record at their power plant Monsters Inc.

That is only if they figure out what to do with an unwelcome little human bundle of trouble nicknamed Boo that sneaks into and turns the pair’s world into chaos. Support monsters such as office manager Roz, slithery Randall Boggs, members of the Child Detection Agency (no one dare say 2319), the unfortunate George Sanderson and plant owner Henry J. Waternoose keep the laughs plentiful.

As far as the visual splendor, nuances such as the dents and scratched paint on the scare canisters, Sully’s incredibly realist blue fur and the textured skin on Randall just to name a few, make it appear Pixar was preparing for the evolution to Blu-ray back in 2001.

The Goods: Besides, the eye watering clarity of the picture and 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, Billy Crystal shines in the working class vocalization of Mr. Wazowski while John Goodman’s Sully makes me fondly remember the days when Fred Flintstone and Barney ruled the airwaves.

The Bads: The Combo Pack. Really? Huh? So video companies now offer every edition of the film, short of a Super 8 reel, in the package. What does this say about the future of Blu-ray? If I have a Blu-ray player I will never watch this movie in standard DVD nor, yikes on a computer screen or iPod. So what the companies are saying is we need to cover our bases and get maximum return. So let’s confuse DVD consumers to spend a little more money hoping to cajole them into purchase a high definition player. I am not an expert but in a still very down economy, Blu-ray is still probably very far down on the adoption band wagon.

Mandatory Extras: A bountiful bushel basket greets viewers with the Blu-ray movie disk holding an optional commentary with, 22-minute filmmakers roundtable and a couple of too cute animated shorts. Grab a second Blu-ray disk to find many of the features from the 2001 DVD release track including featurettes on monster designs, a Monsters Inc training film for new employees (with Roz breaking down the nuances of scare paperwork), banished scenes and storyboard to film comparisons.

Above and beyond: Take Roz’s employee placement exam to see where you would fit within Monsters Inc. Viewers struggle through 100 questions that included slider puzzles, film trivia, reading and following directions, three card Monte permutations, numerical conundrums and trick answers. It’s impressive and damn aggrevating, but guaranteed to have the family huddle around the screen trying to help.

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Joe Zad

Joe writes about popular culture for Communities Digital News.