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While monsters in the closet may seem to be a scary reality for some
children, `Monsters, Inc.' makes it light hearted by showing them it's all
in a night's work. The characters are as charming as the cast that speaks
It's a learning experience children get to see how an industry works. Monsters, Inc. is an in-genius corporation that has scientifically learned how to channel children's screams into energy that is used for electrical power. It has monster employees, an assembly line of doors (which give monsters access to children's bedrooms), a top-flight training program and some of the top Monsters in the scaring business.
There's a colorful Metropolis, filled with houses, buildings, businesses, cars and everything that makes a city run smoothly along with a population of colorful creatures. One of the colorful groups of creatures is the yellow swat team. Their job is to protect the Metropolis of Monsters, Inc. from human contamination.
But what happens when a human child mysteriously gets through the bedroom door and terrorizes the city with screams and boo's. It's wondrous and funny. In the mist of all this is industrial crime, brought on by greed. But, the story ends on a very happy note.
John Goodman is the voice of `Sulley' a colorful large blue-green ape like monster who's the star Monsters, Inc. employee. He's some type of monster, cut, cuddly, and he has a conscience that leads him to feelings of regret about scarring children. He becomes attached to Boo (voice of Mary Gibbs) a cute, little big-eyed girl who is mysteriously brought to Monsters, Inc. and in his quest to return her home becomes very attached to her.
Sulley's best friend is Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) who's a funny looking green ball with stick legs and one huge eye. His comedy is seen through out the movie. Mike is Sulley's driving force, acting as his agent. Mike's job is to make sure Sulley remains the top Monsters, Inc. employee. But when it comes to laughter Mike proves he's on top.
Mike's girl friend Celia (voice of Jennifer Tilley) is the stylish employee who has Mike's best interest at heart. Her job is to keep him out of trouble.
I give Monsters, Inc. a ten. It is an animated movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It makes for great family fun.
We were all, at one time, scared of monsters under the bed. Shadows of clothes in the closet. Weird sounds outside in the trees. I remember thinking there were all kinds of monsters in my room - not as much under my bed as in the closet. And once again, Pixar, who brought us "Toy Story" 1 & 2, plays on both adults' memories and children's dreams, making it equally enjoyable for both children and adults.
John Goodman voices James P. Sullivan, known as "Sulley" to friends. He is a big, blue, hairy monster with horns on his head and hands the size of a watermelon. Billy Crystal is Mike Wazowski, his wisecracking, one-eyed best friend. Both of these monsters live in Monstropolis, a world where monsters roam freely. Their city is powered by a rare source of power - children's screams. That is where Monsters, Incorporated comes in. At Monsters, Inc., monsters like Sulley and Mike open portals into children's rooms - through closet doors - and scare the children, capturing their scream in a little yellow bottle. Sulley is the top-scarer, bringing in the most scares. But Randall (the always enjoyable - even when animated - Steve Buscemi), a wormy, multiple-armed lizard-monster with the ability to change appearances to its surroundings, is jealous of Sulley, and will attempt anything to get more scares...even if it means taking a child from the real world and bringing it into Monstropolis. But after the child escapes, Sulley and Mike reluctantly look after it, all the while trying to get it back to the real world before Mr. Waternoose (the late James Coburn) and others find out about the incident...
"Monsters, Inc." does for monsters what "Toy Story" did for toys. Pixar once again not only expands our mind, but our very worlds. I respect their company and commitment values very much, as you can read in my "Toy Story" review. They stick to the values that made Disney films so family-friendly back in the fifties and sixties: Respect for the audience, respect for quality, and respect for the audience's INTELLIGENCE, something Disney, who has recently coughed up a bunch of lousy, thoughtless sequels, has forgotten. Now, I know that LEGALLY Disney is co-creator of "Toy Story" and "Monsters, Inc.," but they really are not. They just give Pixar the money and get their name branded on the front box of the film. And even then, I have heard multiple claims that Disney is very mean-spirited towards Pixar (read into sequel trouble for "Toy Story 3") and gives them the bare minimum.
But that is straying off the subject. "Monsters, Inc." is one of the most enjoyable animated films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. I didn't enjoy it as much the first time, but I then bought it, and have since watched it many times. It is an instant classic. I will be watching it years from now, when I am old and frail and in a rocking chair. It ranks right up there with "Toy Story" 1 & 2, and all the OLDER Disney films from the 50's-70's. It has all the elements of a sweet, charming, emotional and pleasurably good-natured animated film. And, more coudos to Pixar: Thank you for not packing it full of the language and inappropriate content that Disney shoves into the dark recesses of their films nowadays.
Not only has Pixar brought back the "Family Film" genre to what it should be, but it also redefines it. Pixar's animated films are some of the most thoughtful, imaginative and enjoyable animated films ever - not to mention 100 % family safe. Thank you, Pixar, for getting back on track.
You may admire the hair detail on Sully the Yeti's arm, but you will be
amazed at the warmth of characterization in `Monsters, Inc.,' surpassing
even the great `Shrek' earlier this year. Goodman and Crystal are a comedic
team reminiscent of the zaniest Martin and Lewis days. Crystal's
Borscht-belt routines brought smiles even to this jaded and admittedly
tough-on-comedy critic. I thought Eddie Murphy's donkey in `Shrek' was
smart and funny; Crystal's one-eyed monster is even better with its wry and
Cleaning the environment of child contamination is a hilarious conceit that turns around the usual fears children have of monsters in closets. It is also a chilling parallel to the challenge of removing anthrax from today's letters. Generally, the allegorical underpinnings of animation are natural for the medium, powerful like the images of the novel `Animal Farm' for political and sociological levels of meaning. For example, the endless-door motif in this film is an ingenious metaphor for the scary and glorious possibilities the present and future hold for kids.
Even before you see this feature, Pixar offers the short feature `For the Birds' -- a brilliant takeoff on Hitchcock's memorable film besides being a great commentary on diversity. The expressions around the animated eyes, as the little birds deal with the big bird interloper, are more expressive than those of most contemporary film actors, with the exception of Brando, Pacino, Depp, and Streep.
The short trailer for `Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones' may precede the showing as it did ours for an added delight.
`Monsters, Inc.' is the best animated feature this year and one of the greatest of all time.
MONSTERS, INC. (2001) **** (Voices of: Billy Crystal, John Goodman,
James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Buscemi, Mary Gibbs, Bonnie Hunt,
Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger, Frank Oz, Steve Susskind, Jeff
Pidgeon, Sam "Penguin" Black, Daniel R. Gerson. (Dir: Peter
Docter/Co-directors: David Silverman, Lee Unkrich)
There's something undeniably magical about a Disney movie that brings out your inner child and the streak continues to manifest itself in the latest with its fine track record with upstarts Pixar (the "Toy Story " films) in delighting children of all ages in one of the year's funniest (and most fun) films.
The childhood phenomena of imagining monsters lurking in one's bedroom closet or under the bed is in actuality a reality that exists solely for the world of the monsters to use all the energy extracted from a child's screams as their natural resource to power their communities and subsist in their parallel universe. Specifically Scream Heat ("We Scare Because We Care"), the corporate entity that harnesses the youngsters' reactions to its hard-working crew of creatures including our heroes James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (marvelously voiced by Goodman) and his best buddy Mike Wazowski (ditto Crystal). Sulley is a bear-like, blue and purple hairy and horned monster and Mike is a cyclopean lime green M&M clone. The two couldn't be more different yet both share their passion for their vocation and the only thing getting in their way is their rival colleague Randall Boggs (Buscemi, at his oiliest menacing), a reptilian nasty who wants to beat Sulley for the all-time factory record of most points racked up in a single day on the job at any cost. Watching the proceedings is Sulley's father-figure boss Henry J. Waternoose (Coburn) a cross between a crab and Edward G. Robinson whose main priority is avoiding any "rolling blackouts" (in one of the film's subtle jabs at the current climate in our nation). Mike is in love with cutie pie receptionist Celia (Tilly) who also sports one eye and is afoot taller than him, with a hairdo sporting a Medusa twist (snakes sit atop her head) who wants something from him besides excuses to their frequently put-upon dates together. One day after work Sulley accidentally lets into their world a tiny 4 year old girl a big no-no legend has it that one touch is toxic and fatal! which causes mass havoc wreaked upon the populace as the authorities attempt to corral the tyke while decontaminating the infected workshop's workers (a running gag has the SWAT like DEA agents popping in at a moment's notice whenever a sign of human contact i.e. a small cotton white sock attached to an unsuspecting monster makes its ugly presence known!) Mike is in a panicky sweat that they will lose their jobs and tells Sulley he can't hide Boo (the nickname the big guy dubs the adorable tot) and they must return her to her bedroom. Easier said than done when Randall gets wind of the partners abetting the unsuspecting crime and he too has his plans to use Boo for his own selfish endeavors at any cost! The film is a laugh a minute romp and an incredible mix of state-of-the-art computer generated dynamics that truly enhance the candy-colored world of Mike & Sulley with its picture perfect depictions of moveable hair (see how Sulley's locks sway to and fro so naturally! A first for CGI imagery!) and expressiveness given to the one-eyed Mike who works his brow into a real sweat. Never before has voice talent been so perfectly matched and acted to a t than in the comic team of Crystal and Goodman with their characteristics smartly enhanced into their characters with Crystal's liberal use of his "SNL" Willy the Masochist ("Oh I hate when that happens!") and Goodman's burly, awshucks demeanor fits his soft-hearted meanie like a golden glove. Sulley is the true star of the show with his emotional overload not unlike a kid learning to make a new life transition as he discovers there's more to his existence than meets the eye (same for Mike; pun intended). When he realizes that Boo (by the way, nice job by the producers to use real-life 4 year old Gibbs, in easily the cutest turn by a child performer ever without making an audience gag) is not threatened by his hulking presence. The laughs are largely thanks to Crystal's myopic M&M who is always one-step behind his behemoth buddy and slow on the uptake as the plot proceeds with his sly one-liners, sudden bursts of unrestrained anger and confusion, and slapstick antics leads the film into uncharted territories of hysterical laughter and a great breakneck roller-coaster ride with Mike & Sulley attempting to find Boo's bedroom door with Randall in hot pursuit gives the film a giddy headrush of adrenaline. The film is witty, bright, upbeat and has its shares of incisiveness (I loved the use of HarryHausen's as a local chic eatery that all the monsters are dying to get into; in case of those who don't know Harryhausen, Ray Harryhausen, is the premier stop-motion animator pioneer who gave life to scores of sci-fi creatures including the fabled "Sinbad" flicks of the 1960s and 1970s among others) that will undoubtedly have its constituents clamoring for a sequel pronto. Arguably one of the best films and funniest of the year; I loved it and so will you (and your kids if you have any; if not all the more to see it again) An instant classic.
Until now I couldn't bring myself to believe that computer animation was the
equal of either stop motion animation or hand-drawn animation. All computer
animated films looked a little (usually more than a little) too sterile,
many were animated poorly ("Antz", "Shrek", "Final Fantasy"), and even the
single unqualified success ("Toy Story 2") provided little evidence that a
computer animated film COULD reach the heights other kinds of animation
could. "Toy Story 2" had flawless character animation, but nothing as
inspired as the best in "Tarzan" (released the same year, although I could
have chosen almost any other Disney cartoon to make my point); effective art
direction, but nothing to match "Fantasia" or "The Nightmare Before
Christmas". And I thought that "Toy Story 2" was as good as the art was
ever going to get.
I was wrong. This is far better. And what's more, there's no sense whatever that the script (an unusually rich and uninhibited script) is bumping up against the limits of what the medium will allow. It's now been proven that computer animation CAN be just as good as any other kind. Whether it will be allowed to be in future is another question, but for now, I'm hopeful. What we have here is computer animation's first ENTIRELY unalloyed artistic delight, with every character gracefully and characteristically animated, every virtual set just right and pleasing to look at, and an eye-tickling mastery of colour, light and shade that I thought would forever elude CGI artists.
It's not fair to judge anything good as "Monsters, Inc." as though it were a children's movie, but I can't resist comparing it with "Shrek" - which emphatically IS a children's movie. "Monsters, inc." is admittedly ABOUT children, in a sort of a way. The inhabitants of Monstropolis rely on children's screams for their energy, and the central story is kicked off when one of the monsters accidentally brings a small child (which he calls "Boo") into the city. But we never see things from her point of view. We see things from the point of view of the monsters, who are all adults - and who, like most adults, see children as frightening, almost incomprehensible members of another species. And they ARE. To be sure, Wazowski comes to feel strong affection for Boo, but she never becomes more than a humanoid pet (which is not to demean the relationship). This is a story about adults looking at childhood from the outside.
"Shrek", of course, is a children's movie through and through. Its attention span is short, it has an unthinking mean streak, and children will have a whale of a time watching the central characters (the bigger they are, the more fun it is) act childishly and make poo-poo jokes. "Monsters, Inc." has too much genuine wit, characters too rich, a world with too much depth, and a story at once too coherent and too complicated, to be PRIMARILY a film for children. This is not to say children won't like it. Maybe they will. (Who can say?) Here's the bonus: if they DO like it, it will (unlike "Shrek") actually have a beneficial effect. It will make them less frightened of the dark.
"Monsters Inc" came out on DVD this week, and now I have my own copy!! It
is not very useful to try to evaluate this one against others since such an
evaluation is so subjective. But I put it in the same superb category that
such animated films as "Toy Story", "A Bug's Life", "Shrek", and "Disney's
Tarzan" are in.
First, the quality of the animation and the picture quality. Unbelievably good. I can categorically say it is the best picture quality I have seen on DVD, and the movement and facial expressions of the animated characters makes it almost feel like they are real.
Second, the story. How inventive! The only thing separating the monster world from the real world are the doors. The company, Monsters Inc, must have millions of them in inventory, computerized for quick call-up to send in a monster to get screams and charge up their energy cells.
The main characters are voiced by John Goodman (big, blue, hairy "kitty" with purple spots) and Billy Crystal (short, green, one-eyed monster) and their acting add so much. Plus the great music provided by Randy Newman. Overall and hour and a half of pure edge of your seat entertainment. And that doesn't even include the 3+ hours of extras on the second disk.
You can select either standard or widescreen format, and I watched mine widescreen on a 16:9 HDTV with 5-channel surround system with powered subwoofer. Almost like being in a theater!!
Pixar is the best! Of them all, Monsters, Inc. takes the cake. The realism of the characters' movements & feelings is perfect. The ending is a tear jerker on a happy note. At first I was concerned with the plot of monsters scaring children with a "business as usual" attitude, but right away you discover that the monsters are as terrified of the kids as the kids are of monsters.... wonderful juxtaposition throughout the film... a totally enjoyable, feel-good story. Buy it for the kids and let them watch it over and over. (adults may want to sit-in on more than one occasion themselves). Personal Note: For me, a mystery about this film was "Roz"; the voice reminded me so strongly of the grandmother in "Dinosaurs", and I thought the character drawing was similar as well; upon researching the two, I found they are definitely different actors.
The best way to describe this movie in one word is; fun! "Monsters,
Inc." is a movie you can easily fall in love with. It has some great
fun character, some awesome moments and some well placed comical
moments. "Monsters, Inc." is entertainment at its bests.
The voice cast is amazing. John Goodman and Billy Crystal form a great leading duo. Steve Buscemi is a great villain and James Coburn has a great voice that fits his character perfectly. John Ratzenberger as always is very entertaining this time in a role as banished Yeti.
The story itself is pretty simple but thats what makes it easy to follow and so much fun to watch. The movie not only knows how to entertaining but also knows how and when to emote. The combination of fun and emotional things is perfectly balanced and placed within the movie.
There is some great dialog but the true power of "Monsters, Inc." are the wonderful characters. Not is there only a wild variety of strange and weird characters but also some characters that are good for some serious laughs and Boo is simply adorable and a pretty fair representation of a kid in real life. Well done Pixar!
Pure entertainment for the entire family!
This is a very entertaining animated film. I've seen it twice and
enjoyed even more the second time. Billy Crystal said he enjoyed making
this film as much as any film he's ever done, so that's a good
testimony that you'll get some laughs and enjoy this movie as an adult,
Kids will love it, I am sure. The "monsters" in here are funny-looking and almost lovable, nothing that would scare your kids (or you). Crystal has a bunch of funny lines but overall I found this to be as much if not more of a human interest story than a comedy.
There is a lot of sentimentality to it, even overdone a bit at the end, but that's okay. There is absolutely nothing offensive in here, either. The colors look spectacular, too.
I thought Billy Crystal and John Goodman were great. I like them
anyway, but I can't imagine anyone else in their roles. John Goodman
comes across as a warm, fuzzy teddy bear type in so many of his roles,
and this time he was actually drawn that way. Crystal and Goodman were
great together, even when their characters showed signs of not getting
along. And Boo sounded so natural, so childlike. There's no way an
adult could have done her lines the way they were executed.
And the writing was so intelligent, this movie was not just for kids. There were a lot of clever jokes that kids might not get. Still, the warm and fuzzy qualities of so many of the monsters make this a perfect choice for kids as well as adults, and I really don't get why ABC couldn't give this a TV-G rating. It may have been a little violent or scary at times, but never all that intense. Kids see worse on Saturday morning.
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