Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Just My Imagination | 0 comments

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Disclaimer: May reinforce the idea of monsters in your child’s closet.

If you were one of those kids who, when your mom asked you to clean your room, merely stuffed everything in your closet or under your bed, you probably weren’t so worried about monsters in your room. I mean seriously, how could they possibly fit in there with all that stuff? If you were like the rest of us, who had veteran cleaning Nazis for parents who always checked those places, then you were afraid of monsters in your room. In either instance, you’ll likely be able to identify with Monsters Inc. as it takes the rare perspective of the monsters in kids’ rooms instead of the kids themselves.

The film follows two monsters: Sulley (John Goodman), an ogre with teal and purple fur and a vicious growl, and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), a cycloptic gremlin that looks like a walking Granny Smith apple. Sulley is a champion at scaring children, while Mike is his clingy assistant. In their world, which is much like ours, monsters must scare children as their city (Monstropolis) is run by the power of screams. As the company motto reads, “We scare because we care.” The funny twist is, the monsters all believe children are toxic and so they are perhaps more scared of children than children are of them. Henry Waternoose (James Coburn) runs Monsters Inc. and watches the company scoreboard closely as Sulley creeps ever closer to the scare record. Close behind, however, is Randall (Steve Buscemi), a sneaky chameleon-type monster. Other celebrity voices of memorable characters include Jennifer Tilly, John Ratzenberger, and Bonnie Hunt. Waternoose, and the rest on Monstropolis, is growing increasingly concerned as children become more immune to the monsters’ scare tactics in the age of ADD and desensitivity to horrors. When a human child, a young girl to be precise, breaches the world of monsters via her closet, Sulley and Mike get twisted in a conspiracy that could leave them banished (like The Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot, and Loch Ness).

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In each Pixar film, the creators develop a new type of animation to further how “real” the characters appear. It could be plant life, human skin, feathers, or, in this case, fur. Creators gave Sulley more than 2.3 million hairs, the result of which was an incredible effect. Like everything else in the film, Sulley’s fur is visual magnificence, not to mention the running gags, slapstick humor, and sly adult references (including a slow-motion sequence that mirrors The Right Stuff and Armageddon). Also, as in many other Pixar flicks, enjoy the fake blooper reel at the end. The only disappointment came a dozen years after the movie’s release, as Pixar unveiled the underwhelming prequel Monsters University. (The same year the studio released another derivative and unimaginative feature, Planes, likely hoping it’d be a welcomed spinoff of Cars, but instead garnered the worst reviews in their otherwise impeccable history.)

As one of the last credits reads, “No monsters were harmed in the making of this movie.” While it may seem like a goofy joke to us adults, after this flick, I wouldn’t be surprised if some kids would truly believe the characters visit their room on occasion. If so, have fun all you proud parents out there.

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