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Friday - November 2, 2001
- Monsters, Inc. Opens to Positive Reviews
- Best Animated Feature Oscar a Go! Barely!
- Shrek DVD Released Amidst Accusations
- News Link of the Day - Toons Get an Oscar Category

Monsters, Inc. Opens to Positive Reviews
(by Critics are praising Pixar's latest animated creation, Monsters, Inc. which opened on over 3,000 screens nationally today. Analysts will be watching to see if Monsters, Inc. can top Shrek's opening weekend numbers of $42.3 million last May.

Here are select quotes from leading critics about Monsters, Inc. with most critics calling it another winner, but not as good as the two Toy Story movies.

Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune - "...Monsters, Inc., the first Pixar Animation/Disney feature since the great Toy Story 2, is every bit as sly-witted as Shrek but not nearly so self-conscious. The pop-culture references here are neither as numerous as in Shrek nor as central to the concept. If you don't get the humor of a restaurant being called Harryhausen's, no matter; you're probably too busy chuckling at the imaginatively conceived creatures to notice..."

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times - "...despite occasional references to drinking lattes and rolling blackouts, the dialogue here is not up to the usual Pixar standards and only sporadically appealing to adults...As a childhood entertainment it is certainly fine, but Pixar's celebrated lure for adults is largely absent."

Paul Clinton of CNN - "Monsters, Inc., the latest animated production from the folks at Disney and the Pixar Animation Studio, will be a solid hit and will surely do well on DVD and video. But on the whole, the film lacks the heart, depth, and breath of those studios' previous successes, Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999), and A Bug's Life (1998) -- which earned a combined total of $1.2 billion dollars worldwide. While the film's sweet, simplistic storyline will hold up for young audiences, Monsters, Inc. lacks the all-important edgy layer of adult humor, so vital to Dreamworks' mega-hit Shrek..."

David Germain of the Associated Press - "...With Monsters, Inc., Pixar maintains its perfect batting average, going four-for-four with another smart, funny, adorable animated world populated by endearing characters and propelled by a premise even more clever than that of Toy Story. Pixar continues to hoist the bar higher on computer animation, crafting a dazzling universe that big-foots the images of Toy Story 2 from 1999 and even runs lengths ahead of DreamWorks' Shrek, barely half a year old..."

Click here to visit the new dFX Monsters, Inc. Movie Site.

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Best Animated Feature Oscar a Go! Barely!
(by Yesterday was the deadline for studios to submit entry forms to have their animated movies considered for the new Best Animated Feature Academy Award category. It almost didn't happen, however, as rules require at least eight qualified submissions and as of yesterday morning only seven films had been submitted. Digital Media FX put up a news flash on the dilemma in the dFX Forums.

By 5pm, however, there were more than enough submissions to qualify the category, likely putting Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Waking Life up against each other for a battle to be named the first ever Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature. Shrek is already an early favorite due to its monstrous box office run, high critical acclaim, and appearance at Cannes. But if Waking Life is officially accepted as an animated film, it could present a challenge after winning widespread acclaim at the Sundance Festival. Pixar also has a shot with Monsters, Inc. which is also winning critical acclaim, although not as much as its last film, Toy Story 2.

Last week some concern was expressed by the Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis, who said the following:

"This is the first year for the animated feature category and we're anxious about assembling a quorum. It's particularly important that entry forms be submitted on time in this category because eight eligible films are required to trigger a Best Animated Feature Film Award. There were easily enough qualifiers released this year, but with just a week to go we still don't have any entries."

Davis also acknowledged, however, that most entries come in at the last minute. That was the case with yesterday's deadline for the animated feature as it took last minute entries to push the qualifications over the top and to guarantee that the award will take place.

In the Animated Feature Film category, an entry form naming the intended award recipient and including the signatures of all credited producers and directors is required. Supporting documentation also must include a synopsis, cast and credits list, filmographies and stills.

Studios that submitted entries must submit prints of the animated films to the Academy by December 19, 2001. However, not all movies that are entered will qualify for a chance at the award. A committee will determine which movies become "officially nominated" for the nomination announcement early next year.

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Shrek 2 Disc DVDShrek DVD Released Amidst Accusations
(by DreamWorks released Shrek to DVD and video today amidst accusations and denials of trying to interfere with Pixar's Monsters, Inc. by releasing Shrek on the same day. DreamWorks denied the accusation that it was trying to interfere with Monsters, Inc. hinting to the LA Times that the timing was a coincidence. When the LA Times pointed out that Tuesdays are an industry standard for DVDs and Shrek was being released on a Friday, DreamWorks said that it was seeing Friday as a better day to release its DVDs than Tuesdays. The LA Times then pointed out that all of DreamWorks announced videos/DVDs before and after Shrek are all still Tuesday releases.

Controversy aside, the release of Shrek is expected to be huge and some analysts predict that the Shrek DVD might break the one week selling record set by the Stars Wars: The Phantom Menace DVD just two weeks ago.

DreamWorks has included a ton of additional features in its 2-disc DVD, which sells for less money ($19.95) than most 1-disc DVDs without special features.

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News Link of the Day - Toons Get an Oscar Category

According to USA Today:

"The Oscars may be more animated when the annual movie awards are handed out March 24, what with fluffy monsters, green ogres and even op-art humans possibly slugging it out in a three-way bout. That's because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally has acknowledged that full-length cartoons deserve their own category..."

Click here for the full story.

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