Monsters, Inc. (2001) – Peter Docter

The next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of Toy Story is this Pixar classic starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman as two monsters trying to keep their world alive.

Those noises under your bed, the shadow in the closet, they’re all real. Monsters come through to our world each night to scare children. They use the energy of a child’s fear, from their screams to power  their whole universe.

And the best Scarers are Sully (Goodman) and his coach, assistant, and best pal, Mike (Crystal). Competing with them is Randall (Steve Buscemi), who is determined to be the best there is.

Things get interesting for the two friends when a child, Boo (Mary Gibbs), one of Randall’s regulars, ends up in the monsters’ world. As Sully and Mike try to keep the little girl safe and return her to her own world, the two pals learn that perhaps everything isn’t as it seems.

Featuring a great supporting cast including James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, and of course, John Ratzenberger the film puts a nice spin on monsters in the closet, scared kids, and why these creatures do what they do.

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Like all Pixar films, the story is enough to engage young and old, looks great, and is filled with in jokes galore. My personal fave is that the most exclusive restaurant is called Harryhausen’s, a great nod to a Hollywood legend.

The story moves ably from comedy to some truly heartfelt moments. The ending makes me tear up every time.

Pixar has an established history now of strong characters, solid stories, and family entertainment. This one was only the fifth one at the time, and they were still proving themselves to the world, and this one definitely did, cementing them once and for all as the best of the best.

One of the most enjoyable things apart from the story, and brilliant moments, is watching this film and seeing how far computer generated imagery has progressed. Watching a Pixar film you can see how the comuter has grown into an amazingly useful tool. The big thing that is constantly noticeable in each film is the improved look of textures, and attention to details.

For Monsters, Inc. it was Sully. Covered in hair. They had to develop programming that would let the hair on the monster behave naturally, and each year they have improved on these things, and countless others.

Monsters, Inc. is a Pixar classic, and is always worth another watch. Check it out!

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