My favorite Pixar films tend to have premises that start with “what if?”. What if toys were alive? What if a rat was a master chef? What if the monsters in the closet were real? These are simple starting points that could veer off in any number of directions, and Pixar’s mastery of guiding these “what ifs” into brilliant stories is what makes them so unique.
Of all these “what ifs,” Monsters, Inc. feels to me like the one that answered the question in the most creative way. It’s a simple set up that led to the creation of an entire world and population. Monstropolis, home of these infamous monsters is a work of art in and of itself. Every detail has to be designed from the perspective of it’s inhabitants, and the creative team at Pixar rose to the challenge in an incredible way. They have created a world that feels like it could plausibly support the diverse monster residents who live there, a group of creatures that had to be carefully designed as well, and I can’t help but be blown away at the intricacies of this world.
Of course, none of this would really matter if they didn’t have a story to support all of this effort, and in this film, they crafted one of their best. The story revolves around two best friends, Sully and Wazowski, “scarers” whose job it is is to scare human children in order to collect their screams as an energy source. They have been led to believe that humans are toxic, and when an adorable human child named Boo ends up in Monstropolis with them, their lives are changed forever. Not only is the film hilarious, featuring stunning animation and an ingenious action sequence through closets around the world, but the relationship between these three characters is as touching as I’ve seen.
The film itself has been converted into 3D for the new 5-disc Blu-Ray release, and it looks amazing. The closet chase alone is a stunning achievement in 3D and worth the purchase. The best 3D immerses you into the world of a film rather than having the world pop out at you, and this film is a perfect example of that. No matter how you view the film, the story and characters will always be amazing, but the extra depth gives it that little something extra that pushes the film into the top tier of the Pixar home releases.
Not only is the 3D amazing, but the set contains hours of Special Features that reinforces just how much work went into this. There are interviews, concept art, deleted sequences, an audio commentary and on and on. There are also games as well as several short films from the Pixar catalog, including Partysaurus Rex, a hilarious new Toy Story short that ranks as one of their best.
This particular release contains the Blu-Ray, the Blu-Ray in 3D, a Blu-Ray of Bonus Features, the DVD and a Digital copy of the film. As always with these Pixar releases, the material is extremely comprehensive and this one in particular provides thoroughly insightful analysis of the creation of what is nothing less than a magical film.