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Monsters, Inc. (2001) Movie Review

As a kid growing up, when we hear about monsters we think of them to be like as an entity that is the embodiment of fear. They may come out under our beds, inside our closets, or even in our dreams to scare us. But what if that's their job and maybe they do that because they are also scared of us as well?

In 2001, Pixar Animation Studios brought us one of its monumental films, Monsters, Inc. which is packed not with fear but with absolute enjoyment and fun.

In the fictional city of Monstropolis, the screams of human children are the source of their energy. To harvest them, several monsters employed in the Monsters Incorporated go to the human world to extract their screams. However, it also presents several risks as they believe that direct physical interaction with humans would be disastrous and toxic. The production of energy is now declining due to the children becoming less and less scared resulting in rotational power interruption in the city. James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) is a blue large monster and also one of the top scarers in the city. His partner, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), a green one-eyed monster serves as his assistant. One evening, when Mike entrusts Sulley with some documents that he needs to file, he noticed an abandoned door in the working ground. It was left by another top competitor Randall (Steve Buscemi). Sulley inspects the door and accidentally lets a toddler girl in. He tries to return the girl but is unsuccessful. He asks for the help of Mike who was on a date in a sushi restaurant. Chaos erupted when other monsters discovered the girl. Mike, Sulley, and the girl were able to escape and went back to their apartment. They soon realize that she is not toxic and all they believe in was fake. They also discovered that laughter generates more power than screams. The next morning, they disguised the girl and Sulley called her "Boo". Randall kidnaps Mike and told him about his plan to forcefully extract screams from children. Sulley rescues Mike and delivered Boo to their boss, Henry Waternoose, who surprisingly works with Randall. He then exiled both Mike and Sulley out of the Monster world. In a fit of desperation, Sulley was able to find a way to return to their world and saved Boo from the extraction procedure. Mike returns on time and rescued Sulley after being attacked by Randall. The two search for Boo's door and at the same time they were able to outsmart Randall. Waternoose ordered to arrest of the two of them but they both tricked him to reveal his true intentions to the people. Waternoose got arrested and Boo was sent home. To leave no evidence behind, the true door of Boo was destroyed. Sulley devised a plan that instead of screams, they use children's laughter instead. The movie ends with Mike fixing Boo's door with his bare hands and Sulley reuniting with her one last time.

Sulley walking

Right off the bat, this film is an absolute classic. Imagine if you are a kid and were able to watch this film back in 2001 in movie theaters. You will instantly be amazed by the animation quality. Even today, it still is better than some cartoons on TV.

The story as well packs a lot. It is fun, charming, and really delightful to look at. If you are into very lighthearted and non-typical hero then I guess the characters of Sulley and Mike suits your taste. But seriously, who will not fall on Boo's cuteness and charm. She is very adorable and really depicts the innocence that children have. Of course, Disney's characters are not popular just because of the heroes and heroines but also the villains. Both Randall and Waternoose were your typical villains that are controlling and will do everything to outlast the protagonists.

Boo looking at Sulley

A huge round of applause to the voice actors of all the characters in the film. It made it more enjoyable because of how good they are at voice acting.

What I really appreciate about this film is that it suits any audience. It is like your typical Sunday family wherein you can just sit back on the couch, rest your feet, grab your popcorn, and just enjoy it. No twists, no hard-to-watch scenes, just simplicity at its finest.

The animation here really is top-notch. Especially in the scene where Sulley and Mike were being chased by Randall in a huge warehouse full of doors. It is absolutely stunning and beautiful. I wonder what is the inspiration for that setting. Maybe they went into a real door factory and got amazed.

Door factory

Fun facts about this film, the voice actress of Boo, Mary Gibbs was too young at that time and the production team was having difficulty letting her focus on her lines. So instead, they followed her around with a microphone to capture her voice. So basically all her voice acting was sort of natural. It also took around 11 or 12 hours for a single frame to animate Sulley because of his appearance consisting of 2.3 million hairs. Now that's what you call dedication and hard work.

Considering I have no background in animation nor do I know the technicalities of it, I know if something is good or not just by looking at it. And I must say Monsers, Inc. is well animated and very well drawn. It lived up to its name and may be considered as one of Disney and Pixar's monumental feats.

For the first of many Disney films on my list, I will give this a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

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