Wednesday, March 12, 2014


(November 2001, U.S.)

By the time MONSTERS, INC. had been released in 2001, I felt that these family computer-animated films were already becoming too abundant, and I was still about four years away from becoming a father. Because as we all know, when you become a parent in the 21st Century, you're doomed to have your brains turned to mush on this stuff just to keep your kids happy. So, it's safe to say that when my wife of only two months insisted that we (and my best buddy, too) accompany her to see this film, we went into the theater kicking and screaming! Well, clearly, my initial instincts were wrong and I was laughing my ass off or I wouldn't be writing about this now.

The film centers around two monsters employed at the titular Monsters, Inc. We have top scarer James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman), and his one-eyed partner and best friend, Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal). Monsters, Inc. employees generate their city's power by targeting and scaring children in the "real" world. You see, the powerful the child's scream, the more power can be stored for the city's use. However, the monsters themselves live in constant fear that the human children may enter their own world and contaminate them. The plot point occurs when one child accidentally enters the city of "Monstropolis" and Mike and Sulley must return her to where she came from without detection from the company's powers-that-be, as well as a particularly sly, corrupt and competitive slithering monster named Randall (voiced by Steve Buscemi). As Mike and Sulley race against time to return the little girl, they (naturally!) grow quite fond of her. I mean, why not? She's real cute (she rather resembles my own wife when she was at about that age with short hair - love you, Beth!) and let's face it, no matter how scary a monster is meant to come off as on screen (Mike Wazowski is NOT scary, though!), they're pretty damn cute, too. In the end, when the film climaxes to not only saving the little girl and defeating the bad guys (sorry...monsters!), an alternate means of energy is discovered through children's laughter as opposed to screams, which perhaps suggests some version of a real life message in our own human abilities to discover new means of energy for our own planet. It's an idea, anyway.

If you've seen enough movies as I have, every once in a while you can't help but shake the feeling that you could have written a particular scene or moment better than what was actually done on screen. Come on, you know you've done it! You're sitting there watching the movie and you may actually say to yourself, "Man, I could have done that better myself!". Well, for myself, it's the final concluding moment at the end of MONSTERS, INC. when Sulley is apparently reunited with the little girl he's come to known as "Boo". He opens her closet door after a considerable amount of time has passed and we hear her sweet, little voice say, "Kitty!" (that's what she calls him). Well, maybe it's just me, but wouldn't it have been more poignant and meaningful if so much time had passed and "Boo" had grown into a teenager and still remembered her friendship with her favorite, beloved monster. Now that's a reunion of child and monster that might have actually extracted an "Awwwwwww!" out of me in that movie theater sitting next to my wife and best buddy.

As for the 2013 sequel, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, I watched it with my son when it was released on DVD. My reaction was less-than-enthusiastic. My son asked me in a rather puzzled manner why I didn't like it. My response was painfully simple, "It wasn't funny."

Favorite line or dialogue:

Randall Boggs: "Wazowski! Where is the kid, you little one-eyed cretin?"
Mike Wazowski: "Okay, first of all, it's "creetin". If you're gonna threaten me, do it properly. Second of all, you're nuts if you think kidnapping ME is gonna help YOU cheat your way to the top!"
Randall (chuckles evilly): "You still think this is about that stupid scare record?"
Mike: "Well...I did. Right up until that...and now I'm thinking I should just get out of here."

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