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Monsters, Inc. Collector's Edition

Hovering somewhere just beneath Tom Selleck's decision to pass on the part of Indiana Jones in favor of Magnum, P.I. in Hollywood's Bad Call Hall of Fame is Billy Crystal's no to the part of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. Luckily Crystal's karmic guardians (unlike Selleck's) decided to give him another big chance; in Monsters, Inc., he turns one-eyed sidekick Mike Wazowski into a lean, green laugh machine, working alongside big blue-and-purple "scarer" James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) to collect the children's screams the city of Monstropolis relies on for its power. Things get a little complicated when Sulley accidentally lets an enthusiastic toddler (whom he nicknames Boo) into the monsters' world — while kids' screams are valuable to the fanged, furred, scaled, tentacled, and multi-eyed Monstropolians, the children themselves are believed to be toxic. As Sulley works on getting Boo back through the right bedroom closet door, he stumbles on a dastardly plan masterminded by his chief scaring rival, Randall (an oily Steve Buscemi) — a plot that could put Sulley's now-beloved Boo in danger. While Monsters, Inc. isn't quite as purposefully clever as Pixar's two Toy Story movies, it's a fun, fast-paced story with plenty of wit and brightly colored eye-candy (both Pixar trademarks). Even the littlest things in the monsters' world are delightful, from the "Stalk" and "Don't Stalk" signs at crosswalks to the "oderant" Mike uses to maintain his stench. That attention to detail is mirrored in Disney's two-disc collector's edition Monsters, Inc. DVD. The first disc boasts crisp Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (with optional English subtitles) and two gorgeous transfers of the film (starting and finishing in a digital medium always helps in that respect) — a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen version and a reformatted full-screen version. Also available on this platter are sneak peek trailers, a chatty full-length audio commentary by four of the Pixar crowd, and a DD 5.1 effects-only audio track. Pop Disc Two in the player for the real meat and potatoes: Choose the "Humans Only" door for in-depth sections on story, characters, set design, animation, music and sound, and promoting the movie (all of which boast featurettes, galleries, early concepts, and more), as well as a tour of the Pixar headquarters and clutch of Easter eggs; opt for "Monsters Only" and you'll find Monsters, Incorporated orientation materials (the employee handbook is a scream), an interactive game, a storybook, and plenty more fun snippets. Last but not least, be sure not to miss the Oscar-winning "For the Birds" animated short, the brand-new "Mike's New Car" short, or the five minutes of outtakes. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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