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Monsters, Inc.

A Pixar movie directed by Peter Docter

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With Age, A Roadmap To Success in the Industry

  • Oct 21, 2010

If, like me, you find yourself wondering what makes the big guys in the entertainment industry so big, you’ve come to the right review.  We all know Pixar has established itself as the premiere computer generated feature film studio, but as if gems like the Toy Stories aren’t proof enough of their supremacy, enter Monsters Inc.  Nine years old already, this one manages to push all of the right buttons of what a CG feature film could and should be while managing to appeal to viewers of all ages.

Reaching the top of a given industry can be serendipitous, sure but this one here represents proof of the gradual climbing process that separates this studio from the others.

Monsters Inc., for the two or three human beings on earth who have yet to see it, follows James P “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman), a big blue furry monster and his friend and coworker Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), a smaller green Cyclops, who happen to work at the power company within the city of Monstropolis: Monsters Inc.

Subscribers to the theory that monsters work at the utility companies in our own world will be glad to know that in Monstropolis, energy is derived not from the burning of coal or turning of turbines but by refining human screams, which are collected in steel canisters.

The monsters travel through doors linked to those in children's' bedrooms in our world and do their best to scare said kids into a nice shriek of terror. Sulley just so happens to be the number one scream-generator at Monsters, Inc. despite intense rivalry from the #2 guy, Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi). Meanwhile poor Mike, a member of the preparation team, handles Sulley’s paperwork, arranges doors and changes his collecting cylinders.  It turns out only the biggest, scariest and most elite employees have what it takes to become scarers.

Sulley and Mike's careers at Monsters, Inc. and the very welfare of Monstropolis are in jeopardy once Sulley accidentally lets a human child into the monster.  It turns out that while humans are conditioned to fear monsters, so too are monsters trained to be terrified of human children.

What we have here basically is a layered parody of blue-collar life as the catalyst to deliver an inversed look at the myths all kids can relate with.  The plot structure is impeccably tight with enough levels of amusement to appeal (classily) to just about anyone who encounters it.

I’m personally partial to all of the instances where an oblivious Mike Wazowski narrowly avoids fame but is no less enthusiastic about it. 

Taking in this film, even a decade after its initial release, it becomes apparent that Pixar’s charm is actually derived from some of the simplest ideas imaginable.  In fact most other animated films suddenly look way overcomplicated by comparison.  The visuals have since been outdone in terns of complexity, color, and texturing yet few releases since can claim having delivered such a well-rounded package.

Additionally a lively Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX mix done up by a team at Skywalker Sound. It's as active, and vibrant as the visuals! As a bonus Randy Newman's charming score comes through with spectacular clarity.

In all, it had been nearly a decade since my last visit to Monsters Inc. and as a result of a recent mission to visit/ review as many computer generated features as possible, purchased the 2-disc DVD set being reviewed here. Conclusion: Pixar’s path to supremacy is lined with some of the finer examples of the genre.

With Age, A Roadmap To Success in the Industry With Age, A Roadmap To Success in the Industry With Age, A Roadmap To Success in the Industry With Age, A Roadmap To Success in the Industry

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November 01, 2010
I loved this. A lot of people I know prefer "Finding Nemo", but this one was more up my alley. I really liked all of the references to other monster movies.
November 01, 2010
Thanks, Count- yea this one still holds up even after all these years. Plus I gotta hand it to you, your list of the top Pixar films is a good deal of what inspired me to delve into the animated feature film genera head over heels. Trouble is there were so many more than I initially thought! Toy Story 3 arrives this Tuesday.
October 21, 2010
Great review! loved this one... BOO! Kitty! ; )
October 22, 2010
Hahaha love it! Here's this 300 pound blue and purple haired beast and little Boo calls it "kitty". Classic. Thanks for the read!! :)
October 21, 2010
Great review! Haven't seen this in a while, but will watch again in the near future!
October 22, 2010
Thanks for the read/ feedback. I was the same way; had to revisit the classic to confirm whether it was as good as I remembered. Conclusion: Yup!
October 21, 2010
man, I loved this flick! One of Pixar's best creations!
October 22, 2010
Thanks William- it holds up so much better than I would have expected!
October 22, 2010
Have you seen Monsters Vs. Aliens? pretty darned good.
October 22, 2010
Own it but haven't seen it yet. Monsters Inc, Monsters Vs Aliens, Igor, and Monster House: All part of my Halloween collection. Full review on its way!
October 21, 2010
Loved Steve Buscemi in this, excellent review.
October 22, 2010
Thanks FM_A: You're right, Buscemi nailed it!
More Monsters, Inc. reviews
review by . March 16, 2011
Even though Monsters Inc. isn't Pixar's greatest accomplishment, it's still damn terrific and is my personal favourite Pixar film. I mean what respectable kid couldn't like this movie. You have funniness, it's Pixar (who can always be trusted), and you have a whole world of cool monsters. Adults will enjoy it too because of its talented voice cast, deeper message, and everything I mentioned in what I said kids will like. The animation is also stellar and Pixar has given us easily …
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
A favorite growing up! So excited they're making a sequel! (Fingers crossed, hope it's good!)
review by . July 23, 2009
I recently re-watched this film (the last time having been when it was int he theaters), and found it just as entertaining to both myself and my child movie-watching companion.    THEN: I went to the theater with two young (6 and 3) boys, who were enthralled throughout. The younger boy demanded a Boo doll for Hanukkah.    NOW: Watched it at home with my 3 year-old niece whose attention did not waver (and that's a trick) throughout the whole movie. She was …
review by . June 21, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Some of the best stories for children have presented their worst fears only to have the menace brought down to size. "Jack and the Beanstalk" works that way perfectly. 'Monsters, Inc.' helps to tuck the kiddies in and give them the giggles, too. Taking near day-glow colors, the Monsters in this fluid Pixar picture are hideously cute. They live in a "green" world where the renewable resource of children's fright powers the Monster community. Looking like the sorts in (Lucas Films, Ltd. is credited …
review by . December 16, 2005
Since the very first bedtime, children around the world have known that after their parents turn off the lights, monsters lay waiting behind closet doors, ready to emerge. But what they didn't know is that the monsters are as scared of us as we are of them! By watching Monsters, Inc. you get the whole story and a new light what goes on behind those closed doors. Monsters, Inc. is a superb movie, filled with all the great characters, comedy, and CGA that the movie-going audience has come to expect …
review by . February 02, 2004
"Monsters, Inc." is a funny addition to anyone's Pixar library. It's funnier than "A Bug's Life" and has a storyline that holds up better than "Toy Story." Sully and Mike are a great duo in this tale and it's fun to watch them interact with each other and Boo. The opening sequence in the test "Scare" room is funny, and the following sequence at Sully's house is hilarious. Steve Buscemi is a standout as Randall, the conniving culprit of the movie. He's devilishly funny and Mr. Waternoose isn't so …
review by . February 09, 2003
If you have small children, movies such as this are worth their weight in gold: the kids love it (our two year old can barely start the day without at least seeing scare trainee Mr. Vile whose friends call him "Phlegm" and his ill-fated run through the bedroom simulation), and since the kids love it, you'd better get used to the idea of YOU watching it OVER AND OVER AGAIN.   And here Monsters, Inc. (along with the Toy Story movies and the outstanding Shrek) really shows its mettle: even …
review by . November 01, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great FX and funny.     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: A fun adventure from the folks that brought you the "Toy Story" series. This is not to be missed.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. The ritual of putting children to bed has been something that parents and adults have had to deal with since the start of time. Who can ever forget the requests for a glass of water, a nightlight, or a story …
About the reviewer

Ranked #14
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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About this movie


Intelligent, funny, adorable, and beautifully animated, MONSTERS, INC. will delight fans of SHREK and TOY STORY, while drawing a new audience of curious, kid-friendly viewers. Billy Crystal and John Goodman make a fiercely funny comedic team as job partners and best friends, Mike (Crystal)--a little green guy with one huge eyeball, and Sulley (Goodman)--a big purple and blue fuzzy guy with dinosaur spikes down his back. Mike and Sully work at MONSTERS, INC., a gigantic corporation that captures the screams of little children and turns them into energy. To make the children scream, the monsters must enter each child's bedroom through the closet door, then deliver a frightening affront. The only problem is, kids aren't scared anymore. And because of this problem, Monsters, Inc. is in a jam. But when one little girl, Boo (Mary Gibbs), follows Sully through her closet door and into the factory, she brings an even more dire issue to the fore: the monsters are actually terrified of children. From Pixar Animati...
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Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 2001, November 2, 2001
MPAA Rating: G
Screen Writer: Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson
DVD Release Date: September 17, 2002
Runtime: 93 minutes
Studio: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios
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