I have two things to say before I delve into this article. Number one, I love Halloween. I love the spooky creatures, the crisp air, the jack-o-lanterns, the candy. Number two, I hate horror films. I really, really do. I was one of those kids that had nightmares from anything scarier than a Goosebumps book. Even in adulthood, the films are either too scary and the images haunt me for months, or too cheesy which just bores me. I’m the weirdo watching the History Channel specials about werewolves or reading Dracula for the 254,235th time. (A brief side note: if they ever decide to make a decent film adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel, I would most likely love it.)
That being said, Dr. K allowed me to review one of my favorite non-scary movies this Halloween – Monsters, Inc. And if you say this movie has nothing to do with Halloween, then you are kidding yourselves. It has the word “monsters” right in the title.
Released in 2001 by Disney/Pixar, this animated feature film contained such highly respected voice talent as Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Bonnie Hunt, Frank Oz, Jennifer Tilly, James Coburn, and Steve Buscemi. Plus, of course, Pixar regular John Ratzenberger. Also, it got great reviews and made an obscene amount of money, which is par for the course for Pixar.
Synopsis: Monstropolis is powered by scaring children, which is done by a group of monsters working in Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley are working on the scare floor when a child is let in from the door of one of the bedrooms where this scaring takes place. Sulley and Mike must hide the child from everyone because there are those who would wish her harm. Sulley becomes attached to the child and in the end they find a way to beat the bad guy, save the company, and still find a way to be together.
The brilliance of almost any Pixar movie that you could see is its ability to appeal to all ages. A child enjoys the movie because of the colors, the characters, and the slapstick; while the adult can enjoy the subtle humor, the heartwarming plot, and a wholesome moral. This is a blurred line that Pixar has down pat, which is so reminiscent of Disney in its prime, before Michael Eisner pissed all over everything like an out of control puppy.
I remember when the film was first released how amazing the graphics were. It was really the ultimate in animation for its time. Ten years later, its starting to show its age; but watching a film like Monsters, Inc never really loses its flavor because of everything else it has going on for it. Animation techniques will constantly improve, but a great story with loveable characters lives on.
Look at Snow White. It looks like it was animated with crayons by a nine-year-old, but I’ll still watch it.
While the film itself has no themes tying itself to Halloween, I hope you can appreciate it with me anyway. Excellent film, 4.5/5 Great Pumpkins, easy.