“Monsters, Inc.”, the newest film from Pixar, is a brilliant addition to their library. Directed by newcomer, Peter Docter, a John Lassiter protégé, the film starts with a brilliant concept, adds a delightful screenplay and tops it off with some of the best computer animation yet.
Much like the previous Pixar films, the attention to detail in “Monsters, Inc.” is simply staggering. Monstropolis is basically any large American city, down to the power crisis and potential rolling blackouts. The only difference is that it is populated by monsters of all shapes and sizes. The buildings are given brick detail, the cars are given grills, the interior of Monsters, Inc. has a large lobby. It makes it seem very real. The attention given to the characters is actually even more impressive. Sulley’s fur coat seems to be very real and life-like. Every strand of fur seems to move individually. In a couple of scenes, his coat is buffeted by wind and seems to ripple like waves. His facial expressions are also very good and exhibit a whole range of emotions. Mike, the little round assistant, is given more of a goofball comic look, fitting the voice that Billy Crystal uses. His eye and mouth movements are very expressive and help to create an impressive character. Every monster has a different look; Celia (Jennifer Tilly), the girl Mike has a crush on, looks like a sort of Medusa slug, Mr. Waternoose (James Coburn), the head of Monsters, Inc. looks like a crab. This level of inventiveness never fails to amaze the viewer.
The story is very involving, providing amusement for the adults while the kiddies are amused by the animation. The story opens with a little boy going to bed, as his parents close the bedroom door. Immediately, his eyes widen as he imagines the closet door open a crack and a shadow flowing from it. It turns out to be pajama sleepers, hanging on the inside. Then, a monster appears, ready to frighten the child, only to get frightened by the child instead. But all of this is actually happening in a simulator in Monsters, Inc., to train the monsters about frightening the children. The method used for getting into the children’s bedrooms is very inventive. The story involving Boo, the human child is also very amusing. A chase through various children’s doors is also an amusing highlight. Just these few elements represent more thought and inventiveness than that which is invested in most other Hollywood films.
There are also a lot of jokes aimed at keeping adults occupied. First of all, the entire film is basically a tribute to baby boomers. Everything in Monstropolis is growing old and weathered. It is the children of today, harder to scare because they are desensitized, that are the problem. The children of the baby boomers are the problem, inferring that the baby boomer period was just fine for Monstropolis.
Ultimately, “Monsters, Inc.” has a message or moral and it is presented in such a way that all viewers can get the message and retain it. The message isn’t rammed down our throats and forced upon us.
“Monsters, Inc.” is an enjoyable film for everyone in the family. The characters, animation and story will surely win over everyone who watches it. 4 ½ stars.