Monsters Inc

Monsters Inc

*****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

If the aliens had taken over the building in Men In Black, the big guys with big guns would have been out of a job. What is happening here elaborates on that theme. Not only do nightmare creatures live in Monstropolis, they work in the factory. It's a company town.

Monsters come in every colour and size. There is no shape prejudice, nor class system, except that scarers are treated like celebrities because they contribute so much to the well-being of their fellow weird things.

Copy picture

Monstropolis exists on scream power. Scarers enter children's bedrooms at night through closet doors. When the children scream, the fright energy is stored in canisters, which provides heat and light for the entire city. Naturally, the monsters with the scariest techniques contribute more to the national grid than scaly galumphs that stand there grinning.

This is the story of Sully, the leading scare-scorer, and Mike Wazowski, his best pal, and Boo, a little girl who follows Sully back into the factory. "There is nothing more toxic than a human child," the boss declares. Even the hint of one, such as a baby's sock stuck to the fur of a yellow bear, causes panic. The ever vigilant security squad arrives in seconds after an alarm goes off to disinfect the carrier and annihilate the foreign body.

The creators of Toy Story and A Bug's Life have surpassed themselves once more. The computer-generated animation goes beyond Shrek to a level where the expression on a creature's face indicates its degree of paranoia. Repeating a successful formula, without reproducing sight gags and personality flaws, seems only sensible. And so Monsters, Inc. concentrates on the basics of popular cinema - a witty script, a heart-warming story, loveable characters.

Walt Disney built an empire on such simple ingredients. Pixar takes chances with imagination and insists on the best voice players. Where would the Toy Story be without Tom Hanks and Tim Allen? Sully is blue/green and furry, with eggshell eyes and a fang-filled mouth. John Goodman provides the vocals. Mike is a bladder on legs, with one whopping eye in the middle of a round face. Billy Crystal does the honours. Boo is tiny and bouncy and irrepressible. The four-year-old daughter of one of the film crew contributes her sounds. Randall is a mini dragon that can make itself invisible and is Sully's rival in the Best Scarer Stakes. Who better to talk the talk than Steve Buscemi?

The plot is always inventive, but there is one problem that seems to have been overlooked. Certain monsters, such as the Loch Ness variety and the Yeti, were banished from Monstropolis ages ago and have to live in the human world. When Sully and Mike find themselves out there, they discover a way back. How?

Picky picky picky!

There is a sign above the factory door that reads: WE SCARE BECAUSE WE CARE. Pixar cares enough to choose the best scriptwriters, the best voice talent, the most innovative animators. Who can ask for anything more?

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2001
Share this with others on...
Monsters Inc packshot
Disney animation where Zany monsters must deal with the unexpected intrusion of a little girl into their universe.
Amazon link

Director: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich

Writer: Dan Gerson, Andrew Stanton

Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger, Frank Oz, Dan Gerson, Steve Susskind

Year: 2001

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: USA

Festivals:


Search database:


If you like this, try:

Monsters University