Pixar may be Hollywood's most sure-fire studio, what with its string of hits, from Toy Story to A Bug's Life to Toy Story 2 and now to Monsters, Inc. Sure, they're for kids, but each film offers an unparalleled mix of zippy writing, unforgettable characters and stunning visuals courtesy of computer animation. And if you watch the extras on this DVD, you'll discover their secret. Pixar is located in northern California, far from the self-important seriousness of Hollywood. One of the subtle charms of this DVD and its extras is how much fun life at Pixar seems to be.
As for the movie itself, the team has put its stamp on yet another winner. You want zippy writing? How about when Mike and Sulley, our heroes, try to sneak a human child into Monsters, Inc. Headquarters, dressed as a baby monster. Sulley (voiced by John Goodman) mumbles something about it being his sister's cousin's kid. Mike (Billy Crystal) adds: "Yeah, it's Take-an-Obscure-Relative-to-Work Day." You want memorable characters? Along with Mike and Sulley, how about Randall (Steve Buscemi), the quintessential corporate-ladder slitherer. And there's a hilarious cameo from a monster of Christmas specials past (John Ratzenberger, Cheers' Cliff Clavin). Stunning visuals? The back room at Monsters, Inc., with millions of kids' closet doors (used by the staff on their scaring sorties, which power Monstropolis), is a knockout. But the best visual treat in the whole movie is the opening credits sequence, with its low-tech, retro style and whistle-along tune.
The story is too delightfully fluffy to critique here; for me, Pixar's greatest achievement is in its eye for details. After Mike sprays disinfectant in his one and only eye, it's bloodshot for the next few scenes. Sulley's purple-and-blue fur blows in the wind; posters on the wall of their apartment catch your eye; and the hallways of Monsters, Inc. are so mundane, any cubicle dweller will be able to relate.
There are tons of extras here, few of which will captivate a kid. They will, however, like the brief new Sulley and Mike cartoon, Mike's New Car, and For the Birds, which played with the film in theaters. Again, the best part of the extras is the peak inside Pixar. After watching this movie, Kids may want to work at Monsters, Inc. when they grow up. But after the extras, parents will be sending their resumes to Pixar.