Monsters Inc (R1): A mini Review -updated with thoughts on disc 2-

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Brecher, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Ok, first thing that's going to hit some people with disc is..... forced trailers. Hitting the menu button of course skips these, but nevertheless, it was a bit frustrating to see given that initialy, Disneys CEs never carried forced trailers.
    Anyway, we begin with an fairly in depth look at the Beauty and the Beast DVD which is follows by a Lilo and Stitch trailer and er, an Inspector Gadget 2 teaser. Next though, in anamorphic and 5.1 is a trailer for Treassure Planet which is just lovely, and most notable is the teaser for Finding Nemo which is Pixar's next feature. Very cute little trailer (it makes nice use of Thomas Newman's score from Scent of a Woman).
    Finally the main menus for Monsters Inc kick in, and they're designed in the style of the great opening title sequence. Here you've given access to THX optimode, an isolated 5.1 effects track, the commentary and a choice between fullscreen and widescreen versions of the film. The isolated audio track and commentary can only be played over the widescreen version of the film (1.85:1 anamorphic).
    Now, this is of course the region 1 disc I opted to buy given my thoughts toward other regions. The soundtrack delivery on offer here is DD EX HOWEVER, those of you who lust for DTS can find it (in place of the fullscreen version of the movie no less) on the R2, R3 and R4 incarnations of the Monsters Inc DVD. R3 I believe is NTSC, R2 AND R4 will be PAL encoded. Choice is yours, but frankly, I wouldn't go to the trouble...
    Onto the movie. The THX Cow trailer is here on the disc before the feature strikes up. The film itself just, as expected, looks exceptional, but had fullscreen not been slapped on the same disc, we may have been treated to an even better transfer. It averages between 5 and 7.5 mbps on the bitrate scale and shoots up to 9 and 10 here and there.
    The 5.1 (EX for those who can make use of it) is just incredible. It's deep, solid and expansive. NEVER harsh. I like to send some LFE to my mains as for my HT set up, it helps for a more even flow of bass across the room. There's some great use of .1 here, some subtle, some not so subtle. Again Monsters Inc plays hosts to the endless talents of Gary Rydstrom who rockets the films sound mix into the league of the Toy Story movies and Bugs Life.
    The first time Boo cries, there's an burst of electricity waves across all channels. The sounds flow from right to left, from the fronts and into the mains, and vice versa. The panning of the sounds as the power goes crazy just put a smile on my face because, for lack of a better word, it's just really neat.
    There's so much to love about the 5.1 for this movie. It makes for the best kind of mix you could hope for as whilst Rydstrom employs some great tricks, nothing sounds over the top or overused. On the front end of things, the mains and centre channels are incredibly open and even. Sound effects never drown out music, or dialogue. It's really rather perfect... It's a wacky mix that somehow seems utterly natural. [​IMG]
    So this is all I can say so far. I have to tackle all the extras later today and will of course report back. I've yet to even touch disc 2, but I just wanted to give some folks a report as soon as I could. More later!
    Dan
     
  2. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    Nice one, I won't bother ordering the R2 dts now [​IMG]
     
  3. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    I've been playing with disc 2 for a while. The menus are done in the style of the Monsters Inc workplace. There's some film footage for menu transitions, but with the additional dedicated menu animations from Pixar it's all rather seamless.

    There's a few easter eggs to be found on disc 2, I've found just two so far but I expect there to be more. Easy enough to find, just have a think about logos or items you may be able to highlight and chances are, you can and it's an egg.

    Disc 2 plays host of course to all document of production, from conception right through to release. This is as extensive as we have come to expect from Disney CEs/Pixar DVDs and the outtakes reel can be found here too along with a couple of short films.

    The Design section is my favourite section. Here you can find a really nice little feature on in-jokes that allows you to flick through text and images highlighting various in jokes and references you can see within the film. The Location Flyarounds section is also superb, its exactly as it sounds, a fully 3D fly around tour of the settings created for the film. These segments carry 5.1 ambient soundtracks and feature the odd funny cameo from a number of the characters.

    The first of the two short films on offer is 'Mike's New Car' which is a glorious Monsters Inc short made exclusively for the DVD (so the box and insert tell us) and thankfully keeps the voices of John Goodman and Billy Crystal. This short can be viewed with commentary, and it's one of the most adorable and cute commentaries you will ever here. I won't spoil it until you hear it for yourselves.

    The delightful Oscar winning short 'Ford the Birds' is also here on disc two and carries an optional director's commentary.

    Dig deeper on disc 2, and you find a lot of neat little things like Monster TV Treats which is a compilation of ABCs little themed Monsters Inc based links done for thanksgiving, christmas and various major sporting events. Ponkickies 21 are two Japanese made TV featuretes featuring Sully and Mike and you can view these with or without subtitles. The program for the company play can also be found here and makes for another notable funny extra.

    There's a cute little game on here where you have to find 6 parts to make up Boo's door and reunite her with Sully. Billy Crystal provides new Mike voice work for this game, which was a nice touch. Nothing becomes of completing it but kids make get a kick out of this and Disney's Welcome to Monstropolis read along feature.

    That's only some of the extras on disc 2. On top of this there's a whole host of trailers, TV spots, production artwork, posters, toys...etc...etc. No one would dare be upset with this release, it's yet another remarkable DVD for 2002.

    Dan
     
  4. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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  5. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    This ones as good as bought.
     
  6. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Well, there was never any doubt that I would be snagging this on street date, but it's good to hear this set lives up to the stellar Pixar reputation. Thanks for the review, Dan!
     
  7. Kajs

    Kajs Second Unit

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    I cannot wait.
     
  8. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Adam,
    [​IMG] You could argue that certainly, but my point was in reference to there being a time when no trailers appeared at the head of the disc on some Disney CEs. I guess given that they are skipable 'start up trailers' would perhaps make for a prefered term.
    Dan
     
  9. Jorge Montes

    Jorge Montes Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been waiting for this disc just for that scene where Randall goes invisible and just laughs around the entire room. That scene better not be botched in surround because it was such an effective "gimmicky" use of surround that really freaked me out. [​IMG]
     
  10. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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    I did a pre-order today! I'll be picking up on sept 17 along with Panic Room!
     
  11. Michael Dueppen

    Michael Dueppen Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the review, Dan.
    I'll probably get the R1 now.
    I saw this for rent two days ago but only in 4:3 P&S. We've got a rental window here and the rental disc is P&S only (as was Atlantis). It pisses me off that we get 4:3 now from Disney for rental (i.e. J6P) because I saw quite a few people (also J6Ps) complain about this. There's just too many people with 16:9 sets here in Europe. This feels like a decision of the US Disney headquaters that totally misses reality here in Germany/Europe.
    I never saw the movie before and I wanted to check it first with a rental. But given all the people who seem to love the movie (and me loving the other Pixar movies) and your review I guess I'll just get the R1 sight unseen.
     
  12. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    The startup trailers are certainly dissapointing. I thought Disney had abandoned that VHS-like "feature". Oh well, thank goodness I use TheaterTek. One button press and those startup trailers will be gone for good!

    -greg
     
  13. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I can't wait for this release! All the reviews coming in are positive.

    WSR gave a "5" rating (out of 5) for both video and sound. The special features sound great too!
     
  14. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I have the Canandian release, and it doesn't seem to have the full screen version - or the isolated sound effects track. It does however have a French soundtrack (of course).

    Am I missing something, or are these features missing from the Canadian version?

    Update:
    Upon putting in the second disc, the two shorts (Mike's New Car and For The Birds) as well as the Outtakes seem to be duplicated off the first disc. Wierd!
     
  15. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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  16. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Yes I'd be very interested in a bit rate comparison between the Canadian and US release if anyone has the means to do it.

    Also, where's the layer change on the Canadian disc? On the US one it's pretty darn questionable, coming it about 4 mins before the end of the film. I'd have gone for the cheaper canadian import were it not for the god awful bilingual cover art it carries.

    Dan
     
  17. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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  18. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    James, yes that's where it is on the US disc as well.

    Dan
     
  19. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Well I've done somemore investigating on by Canadian set and here's my findings:

    There is no full-frame version. The set-up menu only lists 'Spoken Languages', 'Captions' and the 'THX' calibration screen.

    The shorts 'Mike's New Car' and 'For the Birds' are accessible under the Special Features Menu, as is 'Outtakes' and the commentary. The 2 shorts and Outtakes are duplicated on Disc 2.

    There is no 5.1 sound-effects only track - you can cycle through the soundtracks with the audio button on the remote and the only soundtracks are (1) French, (2) English (3) English (commentary). There is no DTS.

    I thought the full frame version may have been dropped due to Disneys habit if branching/showing alternative views for Movie Credits. As the bonus disc shows stuff like Newspaper headlines replaced with other languages I wondered if this was done when the French soundtrack was selected. This was not to be the case. (Unusually for Disney even) The opening credits are in English no matter which soundtrack is selected.

    So why was the Full Frame version dropped? Wouldn't the French Soundtrack simply replace the effects only track? Wouldn't the storage requirements be the same?

    On the Canadian 'Bug's Life' collectors edition were either the Full Frame or effects only track dropped?

    Can anyone comment?
     
  20. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    James, is it true the cover art on the Candian version is no longer the ugly english/french hybrid originaly drawn up and previewed but now full english but with the typical burnt in sticker noting the french track? Canadian readers may be somewhat pleased if this is the case. The original Canadian cover art for Monsters Inc was a joke.

     

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