Barnes & Noble - Donald LiebensonThe DVD edition of Monsters, Inc. -- the latest Disney-Pixar collaboration -- is really something to scream about. Its many supplemental features include the Academy Award-winning computer-animated short "For the Birds," as well as a new animated short created for the DVD, "Mike's New Car." There are also exclusive "outtakes" and, for animation buffs, a behind-the-scenes look at the artistic evolution of the film, from abandoned concepts to animation tests. But Monsters, Inc. -- an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature and Oscar winner for Randy Newman's rollicking ode to friendship, "If I Didn't Have You" -- is itself a sheer joy to behold. While the Disney-Pixar Toy Story films and A Bug's Life revealed the secret lives of toys and insects, Monsters, Inc. confirms something that generations of children have always known: There really are monsters lurking in their bedroom closets! What they don't know is that these beasts are employees of the titular corporation, and their job is to scare children -- whose screams somehow fuel the power grid in Monstropolis (where monsters live). The real revelation here, though, is that monsters are deathly afraid of children. John Goodman is the voice of the bearlike Sully, Monsters, Inc.'s leading scream producer. His sidekick is Mike (Billy Crystal), a giant eyeball with a mouth, arms, and legs. Chaos ensues when a fearless little girl follows Sully through the closet door and into Monstropolis. Monsters, Inc. brims with visual invention (a climactic chase aboard an assembly line of closet doors is a particular tour de force), as well as in-jokes for keen-eyed viewers. Like the Toy Story films, it's a state-of-the-art crowd pleaser.
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