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MONSTERS, INC.

Directed by Peter Doctor & David Silverman (2001, Pixar)
Featuring voices by John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, and Frank Oz

Two monsters from in the closet try to return a child to her own world after she enters their realm.

 

 

4 stars

July 7th, 2013 on DVD for the 4th time

 
    This movie keeps being fun. A nice refresher for the prequel. I think this movie is better, however, in that it had a happier ending, had sadder parts, a real villain (though that's not necessarily required). Mike here also says that they've known each other since 4th grade, but I suppose he could be exaggerating. The prequel was predicable, while this movie was not -and I think that's the best part.  

 

4 stars

August 29th, 2009 on DVD for the 3rd time

 
    Like with the Toy Story movies, I enjoyed watching this movie for the first time with my son. There is something about a 5 year old's opinion that's great, especially seeing a movie like this for the first time. It also made me think a little more about how things were working out, in order to answer he incessant questions. Things moved a little too fast for him, but he enjoyed it anyway. That's the great thing about Pixar movies- they cater to the young and old in different ways.  

 

4 stars

October 4th, 2002 on DVD for the second time

 
    I figured out most of the things that bothered me the first time around, and ended up changing my mind about most of them. Despite the ending, where laughs replace screams, the movie is really top-notch.

I had forgotten how funny the beginning of the movie was. From Mike's incessant talking, loving the fact that he was on TV even though he was blotted out, trying to take the car to work, and so on, it was a non-stop laugh.

But the funniest scenes, I think, come when Sulley is trying to get rid of Boo, after discovering how she tagged along with him through the closet door. The little ducks trailing him as he ran from the scare floor left me rolling in laughter. Back in the apartment, Mike sprays his eye with disinfectant after being sneezed on by Boo. That doesn't leave him any better-off, and his eye is red for the rest of that section!

Boo was as cute as can be, as well, even the second time around. It was also hilarious to watch her scream "Mike Wazowski" over and over again, and have the daycare group repeat the name over and over as well.

I really liked the way this DVD was made. Disney has great 2-disc cases with a little flap on the inside, with outstanding graphics on each disc. Even better, it has a guide to the inside of the discs in the liner notes. I think that's a terrific idea, especially when they even give the time for each feature!

The best moments are the two shorts. While "For the Birds" was just as hilarious the second time around, "Mike's New Car" is even better! For anybody who has ever been with a gadget person in a gadget-filled car... well, I had to watch it twice because I missed so much of it the first time. Also hilarious is the audio commentary to the second short, performed by the kids of the two directors!

The other bonus features have some really interesting stuff, as well. There is a wonderful tour of the Pixar home, divided up into several sections (or watch it as a whole and get a couple of Easter eggs at the end). There is also some interesting archival material of original treatments for the script, which are vastly different from what ended up being in the movie. Very interesting, though don't watch it all at once! There are commercials, and trailers (hilarious as well), and literally hundreds of still images. I am not a fan of still images on a DVD, but I flipped through some of these, and was very impressed.

This DVD is very much worth owning, for the shear volume of interesting and archival material on the disc. I have not finished viewing all of it, by a long shot, I think! Combine that with the very funny movie with outstanding animation, and it really is a must-have.
 

 

3+ stars+

November 13th, 2001 in the Theatre

 
    Very funny, and with a plot that borders on hilarious, as the two monsters try to avoid being caught by authorities.  But what really stood out was the superb animation, which almost goes without saying.  I wasn't really fond of the ending, though.

Billy Crystal is a comic genius.  Mike was Billy, even though he was short, round, and had only one eye.  Everything that came out of this guy's mouth was hilarious, even when he was getting hysterical!  John Goodman was more toned down, the "straight guy", and the monster who is more sensitive.  He takes a liking to Boo right away, even when he still thinks the girl is toxic.  He gets the more physical comedy, and is really funny to watch.

We actually get to see why monsters come out and scare kids at night: it's their job.  They work for the power company, supplying energy to their city by the screams of young children.  When the children get too old, their closet door is shredded.  After work, the monsters have real lives, going to the restaurant, having dates, and so on.  

The problem comes with a real scary monster who is going after the record number of scares. Sulley is the top scarer (especially when he hits a slumber party!), but the evil Randall goes to extreme methods to get scares.  After hours, he brings in a door to kidnap a girl, to place her on a scaring machine, which could torture scares out of her and fuel the city for hours.  

But Scully gets there first, accidentally, and the girl enters the realm of the monsters.  It is hilarious to watch the decontamination crews at work, to watch as Mike and Sulley try and keep Boo hidden.  I watched Joanne as she watched the little Toddler disappearing from view in the blink of an eye.  She had tears in her eyes, she was laughing so hard -working with a dozen of those all day gives one a certain perspective...

I loved the tour we inadvertently got of Monstropolis.  The different types of aliens, or monsters, would go to work every day, deal with the energy shortage (have to walk to work), pack lunches, and so on.  There were so many individual moments of hilarity, most of it slapstick, watching Mike and Sulley get out of trouble.

I didn't really enjoy the revelation that their boss was the one who created the scream machine, and I wonder about the feel-good ending, where it is discovered that laughs give ten times the energy that screams do.  I just don't think they should tinker with the classic monster methods.  Monsters have been scaring kids for generations.  Now they play tricks and tell jokes?  That felt like a strange way to end the movie.  

The visuals were spectacular, as usual.  Watching Boo maneuver around, smiling, crying, and having fits was worth the movie.  The various monsters, including the one who kept on falling over the toys (making him an expert when it came to gathering laughs), were very real, but only a few were really shady characters.  All around, the animation was excellent.

I would put this in the class with A Bug's Life.  It wasn't nearly as funny as Toy Story 2, but I wonder if they can ever beat that.  There was a scene, among the door assembly switchboard, that reminded me of the luggage chase scene in Toy Story 2, though it went on for much longer.  Chasing through the doors to move between bedrooms was a neat way to travel, but I wonder why all those doors were active.  On the shop floor, they needed a power supply.  But then they worked even when they were on the cables.  It was a really cool scene, but the logic was gone from it.  

The short that came before this movie, however, was absolutely hilarious, and deserving of five stars.  With no dialog, and no plot, it is impossible to even begin to describe it.  Birds on a telephone wire is the only way to put it.  The smaller birds avoid the larger, squawking one, and he tries to join them.  With the looks on the faces of these birds, from the very annoyed ones that roll their eyes, to the pathetic one that is trying to be popular and fails miserably, this short was an inspired work of art.  The large bird ends up as the only one with feathers after the others are shot off the wire as from a crossbow, then fall to the ground like lemmings!  And he gets the last word.

 
   

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