Monsters, Inc. (2001): United States – directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman, and Lee Unkrich
Rated G by the MPAA – contains some slightly scary monsters
I vaguely remember seeing this for the first time a few years back and not being particularly impressed. This was probably because I was not familiar with Pixar and it seemed a bit too cutesy for me. However, watching it again I have to say: it’s a great movie.
First off, everyone knows it’s Pixar, and even their worst movies are pretty good. Again there’s an original plot and interesting characters, and, more importantly, realistic human emotions. This time around we have Mike and Sully, two monsters in Monstropolis who sneak into kids’ rooms at night to scare them. They collect the screams to power the city, courtesy of Monsters, Inc. However, one night the sneaky Randall lets a kid into the city, and Sully can’t help but become attached to her.
It’s not hard to see why, as Boo is probably the cutest kid ever to appear in a movie, animated or not. She’s absolutely adorable, has an adorable personality, and is really cute. Sully falls for her pretty hard, soon taking personal responsibility for her well-being. But everyone already knows this, as I’m sure you’ve all seen the film.
So again, what makes this one of Pixar’s better efforts? Well, all the regular items are in place. It looks amazing, from Sully’s immensely complex body of hair to thousands of doors flying across the sky and imaginative monsters doing wacky things. The voice work is dead on, with Billy Crystal and John Goodman providing the leads. Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Tilly are great, too. The story is very good, unique but with familiar themes. And then, finally, we have the emotion impact the characters create. We’re almost crying as Sully has to say goodbye to Boo and we can identify with how he’s grown attached to her. It’s more than just the familiar feeling of loss, though. The way the characters interact within the company is similar to actual office environments. Each character, too, is very well characterized. Sully and Mike are very different in a lot of ways, but they are still best buddies. Add in Buscemi’s bad guy and you’ve got a well rounded cast of characters.
I would rate this in the upper echelon of Pixar movies, probably behind The Incredibles and, of course, WALL-E. It’s a lot of fun, quite funny, and not too long. I’m sure most of you have seen it many times, but if you haven’t seen it recently it’s worth the time to visit it again.