Monsters Inc

One of the coolest movies of the year.

You grow up believing there are monsters beneath your bed and behind your closet doors, and you know they’re waiting for the lights to go out before they slip in a nasty claw. "Monsters Inc." takes you behind that dreaded door, giving you the lowdown on the mechanics of securing screams. 

Monstropolis is Monster metropolis, where one-eyed cretons mingle with jellied sludge and multiple-tentacled somethings and unclassifiable eye-popping (literally) otherthings. It’s no better than your bustling metro (with a sneaky resemblance to downtown New York), and the guys that live here have jobs to go to, too.

James P. Sullivan, also known as Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) work at Monsters Inc, a power company that keeps Monstropolis wired. Electricity generated here through processed screams and bawls of human kids keeps the lights on. So while the monsters work at scaring the knickers off little girls and boys the world over, they’re actually only doing their job...which, by monster standards, is quite a fearsome feat in itself, because - and here's the twist - monsters are actually scared of children!

Sulley, a Gorilla-like purple and green monster, and Mike, his lime-green eyeball of a buddy, are the best scare-team at the factory, with the highest scare record - they’re managed to extract the greatest ration of shrieks, and Sulley is the monster equivalent to Superman.

Every night, a monster slips through a door, which acts as a portal into the bedroom of a human child, and after raising claw and cry, retreats into the factory, to repeat the routine through another door. A state-of-the-art operation, this, there are around 5.7 million closet doors in the door vault, which ensures plenty of scary nights. However, the company is in fear of ruin, and Henry J. Waternoose (James Coburn), the CEO, wrings his multiple claws in despair, trying to come up with a saving solution.

And if that wasn’t bad enough in freaksville, a little kid slips through the forbidden door and wrecks havoc, allowing for adventure in the routine lives of the two main monsters. There’s obvious adventure, and even a short trip into the Himalayas, where the abominable snowman offers lime ice cones to Sulley and Mike, the dispelled duo. It culminates in a hair-raising chase down the door vault, where the evil chameleon-like Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), Sulley’s sole competitor, tries to capture the kid (christened "Boo" by a now affectionate Sulley).      

Directed by Pete Doctor and animated by the award-winning team of "Toy Story", "A Bug’s Life" and "Toy Story 2", "Monster’s Inc." takes the reality of regular life (well, for the most part of it), and pumps it with the colour, texture and imagery that could only be expected from Pixar. They’ve gone through a more detailed process this time, trying to approximate emotion and physicality as close to the real thing. The script is witty, eliciting more than a few occasional laughs, and the animatronics, right from the range of emotions displayed by the one-eyed Mike (how expressive can you expect a guy with one huge eye for a body be?) to the life-like city setting are top-quality. The score provided by Randy Newman promoted the right sentiment, never eclipsing the visual content, yet making a loud enough statement.

Have I said enough? Go watch it then!

This article was first published on 28 Apr 2002.