Every child knows there’s a monster in their closet or under their bed, waiting to scare them at night. It’s nothing personal though, it’s only their job. Monstropolis, their home, is powered by screams from the scared children. The twist? All the Monstropolitans are petrified of children and think they are toxic. This is the ingenuity of the premise of Monsters Inc.
Monsters University has been released recently so I thought that maybe I should check out this inventive story. Yes, that’s right, I sadly had never been formally introduced to Sulley, Mike Wazowski and co until Christmas 2013. I know, shocker. But somehow this seemed to have passed me by.
Monstropolis excellently mirrors our own world, with sales quotas, company slogans, public service announcements and more. It suffers rolling blackouts because of the shortage of screams – you see, children aren’t as easy to frighten any more. They have become desensitised and some yawn when the monsters attempt to scare them. This makes it that much harder for all monsters to meet their daily scare quota. The dream scare team in the lead is big, furry giant Sulley (John Goodman) and his friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), who is essentially a green eyeball with arms and legs. Their success, despite the energy crisis, is much to the chagrin of shifty chameleon Randall (a fantastically malevolent Steve Buscemi). On a routine scare, Sulley inadvertently lets an unbelievably sweet, fearless 2-year-old girl Boo (Mary Gibbs) cross into Monstropolis and chaos ensues.
With Pixar savant John Lasseter on board as executive producer in this feature co-directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich, we are taken on an exceptional adventure that unfolds on the brink of imagination. We enter a dazzling world with amicable monsters of all shapes and sizes. The animation is beyond compare particularly when you consider that they somehow made an eyeball have facial expressions with his eyelid.
The witty repartee between the citizens of Monstropolis, particularly Wazowski and Sulley (brilliantly improvised by Goodman and Crystal) has your focus, so you almost don’t notice the absence of songs. The voice cast are ingeniously matched to their respective cartoon selves, bringing life and laughter to Monstropolis and your living room. A sharp, intelligent script and a rich premise in a story about love, fear, imagination and not believing everything you hear. It has depth, it has suspense and it has action. Something for everyone. The adults will find themselves just as immersed as their mini-versions, with some clever references and inferences the younger ones might miss.
In only its fourth picture, Pixar was creating a buzz and proving that imagination pays with such classics as Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. This is Pixar in its heyday with the fresh plots, brilliantly unique approach and outstanding animation we’ve come to expect.
What did you think? Would you rather see Monsters Inc go into liquidation or is it like a familiar friend you’re looking forward to hanging out with over and over? Your turn on the soapbox in 3, 2, 1.