Time passed so quickly while I was watching Monsters, Inc. I was transported to such an odd world, and I wanted to spend more time with the characters I was exposed to while visiting. Unfortunately, this film is only 90 minutes long, as it’s an animated adventure aimed at adolescents. So is using alliteration so overtly, but you know, such aims can be enjoyed by everyone, assuming you’re in the right mindset.
Monsters, Inc. wants to tell you what many young children already know: Monsters exist, you dummy! And bring me more cookies! In this film, they live in a place called Monstropolis. They act very similar to humans, except that they look different. They’re almost all of various colors, the number of extremities and facial features they have can vary depending on which one you talk to, and many resemble creatures from our world. Many of them work normal jobs, and they mostly act just like a human being would.
Apart from their appearance, there are two distinct, closely-linked, differences. First, they don’t use electricity, gasoline, or any other type of energy source that we use. Instead, they run everything on the screams of little children. Secondly, the biggest workplace in the city is a factory where monsters go to work in order to generate these scares. It appears that only human screams work, but it’s certainly a more reliable and cheap energy source than humans currently utilize.
It proves unfortunate, then, that children are getting harder to scare. Maybe it’s all of these darned horror films that they’re getting their hands on, but the monsters are having difficulty meeting their quota of scares. As a result, the city is running out of energy. Two best friends working at the factory, Mike and Sully (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman respectively), have to walk to work because they can’t afford to use energy using the car. They work trying to scare the screams out of children; Sully does the actual scaring, while Mike does all of the organizational work that’s required (and there’s more than you’d think).
The monsters only have one major rule when trying to scare these children: Never leave the closet door open. If you do, a child could enter the monster world and start causing trouble. Humans, we are told, can kill a monster with a single touch. Even a sock is deadly, and an entire bio-hazard team has to be called in to quarantine the area if a human object enters the monster’s.
Of course, that’s exactly what happens one night when Sully accidentally brings a human child back with him after entering her room. She’s only approximately three years old, and only says a handful of words, but she terrifies the entirety of Monstropolis. After word of her escape (and “she” is eventually named “Boo,” for future reference) gets out, the entire city is locked down, and the hunt is on. Mike and Sully just want to get her back to her room and get things back to normal.
What starts out as a simple plan quickly becomes a thrill-a-minute race against practically everyone else in town. That is, everyone except Boo, who quickly endears herself to Sully. Soon he begins questioning if he even wants to return her to her room, and also wondering why people claimed that humans are deadly. Boo just seems cute to him. She can’t hurt him. She can’t even try to hurt him.
Monsters, Inc. plays out in a very thrilling and compelling way. There are several sequences that will enthrall and engage you. This is a film that puts many “adult” action movies to shame in terms of pure adrenaline. Maybe it’s the genuine emotional attachment that you feel to these characters, or maybe the animated style just means that anything is possible, but Monsters, Inc. is a very exciting film, regardless of the age of the person watching it.
Being a Pixar film, you expect the animation to be really good. Monsters, Inc. doesn’t disappoint here. In fact, there are some parts of the film that I would have considered nearly impossible if I didn’t see them in the film. The most impressive is the way that Sully’s hair all appears to move individually (Pixar actually had a program developed to render this). The characters are also so expressive that it’s so easy to know what they’re thinking. Yeah, they’re cartoon characters, but look at the format we’re dealing with. That works well here.
Voice acting is also quite good. I liked the two lead voice actors in the role they were given, but I haven’t even mentioned the third big-name actor in the film. Steve Buscemi has a role as a chameleon-type creature, who works as Sully’s main rival at the scare factory. He has the type of sinister voice that works great for this role, and he arguably brings the character more to life than anyone else.
Monsters, Inc. is a very good film, animated or live-action, aimed at children or adults. It simply doesn’t matter when you have this type of quality production. I had fun, I was excited by some of the action scenes, I was genuinely attached to many of the characters, and I laughed quite a lot. And laughter, my friends, is much more important than fear. Don’t forget that.