Monsters, Inc. (VHS, 2002, Clam Shell)

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Monsters Inc. (Who is the Grinch again?)

Nov 10, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:I just don't know how animation could ever get better than this.

Cons:Nothing worth mentioning.

The Bottom Line: Sometimes you just "fall in love" with a movie. There's nothing not to love here.


Any much-needed respite from the world around you is no further than your local movie theater. Even if you have already witnessed the phenomenon that is Monsters Inc. once, don't hesitate to see it again! I actually enjoyed this movie even more the second time around.

Almost any child goes through his/her "monster" stage. I know I did! I remember hearing noises in my closet, and after one viewing of "Arachnophobia", I could hardly sleep on my own bed for a week. You can either spend the next two or three years making trips to your kid's bedroom every hour to assure them that there are no monsters in the closet. Or you could do both of yourselves the favor and take them to see this movie. The idea behind Monsters Inc. is to put a story behind those unexplained noises, to "show" the audience who's really on the other side of the door. And most of all, to assure the kids that, well, Monsters are people too.

Two monsters in particular, Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) take the center stage as the two goof-offs who do their job and they do it well. What kind of job does a monster do, though? Well, that's part of the whole explanation. Their job is making kids scream. Inside of a big warehouse of sorts, monsters line up as a door is brought down and set up in front of each one. When the red light above the door comes on, the door itself becomes a warp to the human world. So what real world doors do they correspond to? You guessed it... the closet doors in kids' bedrooms. Pretty nifty, 'eh? So they just go in, make the kid scream, come back and voila! Instant power to light up Monstropolis. Have we got it easy or what?

Sulley leads the pack of monsters as the one who has extracted the most energy, but of course you've got to have the competition. Thanks to the voicing of Steve Buscemi, we have a nice ugly purple lizard known as Randall, who is close behind in second place, and envious as all heck. So one night after the place has shut down, Sulley walks into the warehouse area and sees a door set up, come to find out Randall is staying over while no one else is around, trying to boost his numbers. Well, that's what it looks like anyway. (Shut UP, don't give it away now...)

It is during this little mishap that Monstropolis is graced with its first human inhabitant, a nameless girl Sulley refers to as "Boo". Of course this wouldn't be so bad, except that human children, or any items they have touched, are wrongly perceived as toxic to the entire city of Monstropolis. While trying to establish a balance between getting Boo back to her home and continuing on with their jobs as though nothing were wrong, Sulley & Mike run into quite a few hurdles along the way.

The action never stops in this movie. There is always something going on. Being that it's a kid's movie, obviously they want to keep the kids' attention rather than resort to long periods of conversation to further the plot. When the action does actually slow down, it's almost always for the purpose of inserting a more emotional scene, such as Sulley's reaction when he thinks that Boo has just been dumped into the trash compactor (It's so sweet!!!) or a humorous scene accompanied by dialogue, such as when Mike Wazowski puts in his contact. That was one of my favorites.

As for the animation, well I have to tell you I'm really out-of-touch with this whole "new wave" of technological advancement. I never saw either of the Toy Story movies straight through, never saw A Bug's Life, Chicken Run, The Spirits Within or Shrek. Yeah, I haven't seen Shrek, can you believe it? So this was really the first movie of the "type" that I have seen. Needless to say, I was blown away.

A lot of comments have been made about Sulley's blue and purple hairs on his body, and I can now stand by them and say that I have seen it myself. The first time you see Sulley, he is sleeping, and each time he exhales, the hairs on his arm glide across in this sweeping motion. It's incredible. But frankly, it's nothing compared to the scene in the snow, when all of his fur is blowing in the wind. That was just magic, that's all I can say.

A lot of the atmospheres looked unbelievably real, too. One shot in particular that showed a couple of folders on top of a desk. If you hadn't told me that was animated, I would not have known the difference. It just looked so real. The shots of the city outside while Sulley & Mike were walking to work were also really well done. Reminded me a lot of the opening digital animation on "You've Got Mail", if you remember that one. I would have liked to see more scenes outside, rather than cooped up inside the factory so much, but the Abominable Snowman scene was a more-than-welcome departure and a fantastic showcasing of the lighting and shading techniques.

On the close-up shots of Mike, you really get a good look at the texture of his skin; it's not just plain old green. Some spots are lighter than others; he seriously looks like a pear, just a more circular one, with an eye.

The thing that gets me most about this movie right now... with all the other movies I've ever seen, I can easily visualize any scene in my head and play it back over. It's sort of a habit of mine, really. Makes the workday go by faster. Even with animated films, say like a Bugs Bunny or Charlie Brown film, I could visualize certain scenes in my head and "watch" them. With Monsters Inc. I'm having the toughest time doing that, I guess because my mind is not used to ever seeing animation segue so closely with reality. When I try to picture it in my head, I don't know whether to picture an actual city or an animated one because it's both at the same time. It's very strange.

So, do animated characters have souls?

Absolutely! We don't exactly have proof that we ourselves have souls. It's just something that we believe. So when we create a character, as God did with us, it is a living breathing part of us. So I say yeah, these characters definitely have souls of their own. They are not only the product of our very underappreciated gift, the ability to create, but they are now a special part of every one who has seen this movie.

Sulley is your everyday teddy-bear kind of guy, huge and tough looking on the outside but kind and good-hearted on the inside. Amazing how much they actually managed to make Sulley look like John Goodman.

Even more amazing is how they still managed to make a one-eyed pear look like Billy Crystal. I mean, it does take quite a stretch of the imagination, but he does look like Billy Crystal. He's (of course) the sidekick, the one that just can't get the same fame as his partner, but sticks it out anyway because they're such good friends.

Boo is just the epitome of cute. She's at that age where she's learning how to speak, but she can be brought to tears or laughter in a matter of seconds, only making her seem all the more real. She's a good little girl though, and you gotta love her for that! And you gotta love Sulley that he takes such good care of her. Yeah, I had to wipe my eyes both times I watched, dog gone it.

I'd say if you're looking for a great movie to show your kids, one without any "bodily" humor, this would be the one for them. Older kids should enjoy it, if you can get them inside the theater! Adults may find it a little slow here and there, but overall, the last fifteen minutes are definitely worth it.

Oh yeah, and if you're a Star Wars fan, you might get lucky and catch the Episode 2 trailer. It's a real doozy.


Recommend this product? Yes

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