I know Monsters Inc is popular, but I've always thought of it as living in the shadow of the other Pixar films; it came nestled between the more successful and considerably more famous Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo, it's not one of the 'Brad Bird masterpieces'; it's even outshined by the comparatively duller Cars, a film that coasted into kids' hearts despite being missing something perhaps only we older Pixar afficionados can see.
This is a shame, as Monsters Inc is one of the studio's very best films, and indeed one of Disney's very best by default. First time director Pete Docter knows his stuff- the film is filled to the brim with background detail, and after the discovery of the child the pace is frantic 'til the thoroughly satisfying conclusion. Following three films directed by studio head John Lasseter, Docter paved the way for the other directors to tackle their own ideas, and ironically Lasseter's return to directing (with Cars) fell far short of the bar set by Andrew Stanton with Nemo, Bird's The Incredibles, and this sterling effort.
The Blu Ray is a stunning transfer. While it's arguable that the film's groundbreaking fur rendering looks dated now, it still looks amazing compared with lesser offerings from Dreamworks. EVERYTHING in this film, in fact, looks amazing, from the subtle hues and colours of the sky to the photorealistic blizzard and underground halls. The animation on token child Boo is so human its impossible not to fall in love with her, share her fears and her delights. Background detail is too presented with astounding visual clarity- see the combination locks in the locker room or cars in the exterior shot of the building for proof.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman are the perfect double act to lead the film, though there's good support from a spiteful Steve Buscemi as the piece's villain Randall and Bob Peterson as grumpy, paperwork-fond Roz, who really shines in the outtakes reel (which for this release has been removed from the film and put on the extras disc).
The extras aren't as excellent as I would have hoped for, though this is a catalogue release rather than a new film, so that's understandable. It's been released as a tie-in for Docter's second film as director, the apparently-awesome Up, though the significance of that is lost on us as we don't get it until October anyway. The only new extra of significance not ported over from the DVD special edition (which itself has long been out of print, and is replaced by the standard edition in the yearly 'Complete Pixar' collections) is a far-too-short (at 20-odd minutes) discussion between four of the film's creators about their inspiration and experience. I know it's essentially a kids' film by I would appreciate a longer feature all the same.
I can't recommend this film highly enough. It's touching, exciting (the door chase is spectacular in HD) and hilarious ("23 19!"). It looks amazing, everyone in the family will love something about it and you've no excuse not to buy it. Away you go.