THE SCREENING ROOM
By Bill KallayOne of the joys of parenting is discovering your child's funny personality traits, and at times, their very real fears. Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." is one of those rare films that managed to show children that there's nothing to be afraid of when the lights go out. It also showed parents how heartfelt the bond is between parents and their own little monsters.
"Monsters, Inc." is now available on Blu-ray.
Who hasn't been afraid of monsters lurking under the bed, or hiding in the dark recesses of their closet? I know I did. Aliens, monsters, vampires and even the Bermuda Triangle somehow managed to hide in my bedroom and bathroom when I was a kid. "Monsters, Inc." manages to take childhood fears and turn them into genuine comedy.
In Pixar's world, monsters simply live in another world and their jobs revolve around scaring kids. And that's all it is: a job. The monsters of Monstropolis live in homes, shop at the local grocery store, take their hot Medusa-like girlfriends to fine dining establishments like Harryhausen's, and go to work at the factory producing "scream." What's even more genius, and it's an amazingly simple idea, is taking a human child and placing her into the monster world. Of course in any great animated feature or cartoon, the monsters are afraid of her.
Directors Pete Docter and David Silverman have fashioned a playful film that's also charming and moving. Perhaps the film hits me more because I am a father. When I saw this in 2001, my little girl was only 3 years-old. Knowing how she acted and talked with that baby babble, I immediately fell into the "Monsters, Inc." trap and identified with it. I knew Sully because I was (and still am) the over-protective father over my own little Boo. The bond between Sully and Boo is real and strong. As the movie faded out, I had to try hard not to spill tears into my popcorn.
Who better than big guy, John Goodman, to play Sully? He's charming and believable in the role of the monster with a big heart. The expressive eyes and playful colors of his fur show a monster who'd do anything for someone he loves. Billy Crystal is very funny as Mike, the giant eyeball of a monstrosity. When this film came out, he hadn't had a hit for some time. It was nice to see him back in form. The rest of the cast, as usual to Pixar's high standards, is excellent.
The Blu-ray is a simply brilliant and reference quality disc. WOW! The film is sharp and colorful throughout. Indeed, Sully's fur is even more detailed and somehow realistic in high definition. You can almost reach out and touch it. The door chase sequence now really brings you into the picture. The beauty of Blu-ray is that it gives viewers and opportunity to see what the filmmakers intended for audiences to see. I don't think the theatrical 35mm print I saw of this film is even close to looking this good.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is cause for celebration. The DVD Dolby Digital soundtrack was always considered excellent. But the Blu-ray high definition soundtrack blows it out of Monstropolis. Pixar has always had great sounding movies and short films and this one is a pleaser. Nice and clear dialogue mixed with loud yet refined sound effects makes for a demo disc if I ever heard one.
I've always loved this film for its clever and funny story. I cherish it as one of the early films that I took my own little Boo to see. She may not remember it, but I do and always will.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © WDSHE. All rights reserved.