A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Monsters, Inc.

August 31, 2010

Monsters, Inc.

When this movie came out I was concerned about Pixar. I had been disappointed by Bug’s Life, and I thought that Pixar was descending into a lesser level of Disney-style film making. For all I knew at the time Toy Story was a fluke, and from here on out the films of Pixar would be technically fun to look at but wouldn’t have any of the emotional clout or creative spark that made Toy Story so much fun. This movie, therefore, surprised and delighted me and reassured me that Pixar really was something special.

Monsters, Inc. is one of the most original stories I can think of for a feature length animated film. It tells of a universe near ours where all the monsters who live in our childhood closets come from. These monsters aren’t bad folks. They need to scare children because the screams of kids are used to power everything in the monster world. So there are highly trained professional “scarers” who burst through closet doors and terrify children. The most successful and driven of all these monsters is Sully, a big furry purple teddy bear with horns. With his partner Mike (a round green creature who is mostly a single huge eyeball) Sully is on the verge of breaking the all time scream record.

The irony is that the monsters of Monstropolis are terrified of children. They think that children are toxic and can kill a monster with a single touch. So the action of the movie really gets going when a little girl is accidentally let into the monster world one evening. Sully ends up trying to conceal her and the first half of the movie involves his and Mike’s attempts to get her back through her closet door to her own bedroom. But there’s more going on than just a lost girl. There’s a nefarious plot, an evil monster, and a scream shortage brought on by the jaded and unflappable kids of today.

Really this movie is a showpiece for what Pixar does best. It’s full of technical wizardry and impressive computer graphics, and it has a creative and at times touching plot. It tugs at the heart-strings in a very Pixar way (such as when Sully begins to realize just how his profession makes him appear to the children he scares.) It also has one of the greatest chase scenes in a film with the fantastic door-room scene near the end of the film.

I love the performances from John Goodman and Billy Crystal. I love that the film makes got Frank Oz and Steve Buscemi involved in the project. I love that the animators were able to rise to the challenge of making these strange monsters seem so human. Especially impressive is the performance they get from Mike – it must have been really hard to get an emotional performance out of a giant green eyeball. They “cheat” a little with his extremely expressive brow, but it’s a fantastic feat of animation nonetheless.

Pixar showed me once and for all with this movie that as a company they had more up their sleeve than just Toy Story. They proved that they were the modern masters of CGI and that they could create entire worlds in the name of entertainment. I won’t say that this film changed my life or anything, but it’s a good movie with a kind heart and a creative premise. It was enough to cement the name of Pixar as a film studio to be watched, and as I look back on it they have only gotten better as the years have gone by. I look forward to seeing what else they have in store.

August 31, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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