#241 Monsters, Inc. (2001)

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92 Minutes

Director: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich

Writer: Pete Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, Ralph Eggleston

Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi

Storyline: “Monsters generate their city’s power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.” IMDB

Disposition

American Girl:

Brit Boy and I have 7 children between us, so we have both seen Monsters, Inc. on many occasions.  I cannot remember the first time I saw it, but I remember always loving it.  This is one of those movies that was watched over and over again in my house.   I feel like I have this movie memorized because I have seen it so many times, so I wouldn’t say I am excited to watch it again (especially now that most of my kids are older and passed this level of film).  However, I am not dreading it either.  

Brit Boy:

Indeed you are correct American Girl this has been watched many a time with the kids, but I haven’t seen it for a long time in its entirety, in fact maybe not since the first time. It is by far one of my favorite Pixar films and always has a place in my heart as it has one of the cutest characters ever to grace a Disney film in that of “Boo”.

Set the Scene

Brit Boy and I finally decided to watch this movie one mellow Friday night when we had nothing much else going on.  Our baby was in bed, and we invited three of our other kids to watch it with us (the remaining children were not at home).  None of the kids seem interested, until we decided to try out the 3D for the first time on our new big screen TV.  Suddenly, we are all sat around wearing our 3D glasses, probably more excited to try out this latest technology than to actually watch the movie.

Final Cut

First, of all, WOW! This movie is AMAZING in 3D. I would highly recommend anyone with a 3D TV to watch this movie as soon as possible. Seeing it in 3D brought a whole new meaning to this movie for me. I literally felt like I was walking down the street with Sully and Mike Wazowski. Disney definitely has the animated market nailed in this aspect. The details throughout the movie are incredible, especially considering this came out over a decade ago! The animation still looks cutting edge and does not feel dated in the slightest.

I totally agree, to use an English expression I did feel like “a kid in a sweetshop” when watching this, staring wide-eyed at the unfolding adventures of Sully and Mike. I caught myself a couple of times almost reaching into the screen or taking my 3D glasses off in order to revel in the technology. 3D viewing in the case of this movie is certainly not a gimmick, it serves as a complete immersion into Monstropolis, the living breathing city where our protagonists live, its real after all isn’t it??

The imagination that went into the making of this movie is mind-boggling. The creators did a phenomenal job taking into consideration every single detail for the town of Monstropolis. Watching the movie in 3D really amplifies every detail, things that I easily overlooked the first 25 times I watched the movie. For example, the menu at a restaurant includes “monster” type dishes, complete with prices in an unknown “monster” currency. Disney could have easily just typed gibberish onto the menu, and the audience may have never noticed. Brit Boy and I had to pause the movie, in high definition, to notice what it actually said. At that point it was easy to get lost in the detail of the movie, trying to find all of the little things that may otherwise go unnoticed.

American Girl the detail is indeed incredible, it does make me wonder how long something like this takes to produce from the initial script to final release (ok after a bit of googling it turns out it was first conceived in 1994…) I loved the comedic takes and surreptitious nods to real life throughout the film. The restaurant where Mike and Celia had their date was called Harryhausens for example which is paying homage to the late, great Ray Harryhausen an American visual effects creator, writer, and producer who created a form of stop-motion model animation known as “Dynamation”, and is arguably the Godfather of the monster film genre.

Harryhausens

The plot is also great, it never gets too slow, and unlike a lot of Disney movies you aren’t beaten over the head with songs. In fact, I remember very little music in this movie. Years later the characters in this movie are still some of my favorite Disney characters. Boo is down right adorable, and any parent could probably relate to her character in some way. Brit Boy and I reminisced of our own kids and how we both compared Boo to our young children at the time this movie had first come out. Now we found ourselves talking about how our 7-month-old daughter will probably be like Boo at some point as well. In fact, we both want to track down a monster costume like the one Boo wears throughout the majority of the movie for our daughter’s first Halloween.

Monsters-Inc-Boo

As well as the superb plot I think the characterization is also excellent, I found myself mentally cheering for our heroes and booing (pardon the pun) the baddies whenever they came on screen like an old school British pantomime (one day I will have to take you to see one American Girl). The casting was a key part in this, Billy Crystal and John Goodman were excellent and very believable as Mike and Sully respectively.

Even after all these years I was completely sucked back into this “Monstropolis” world. I still found myself laughing, feeling sad, and feeling tense all at the intended moments. Never once feeling bored or wishing the movie to be over. If anything, watching this movie again has reminded me how great it is!

I definitely think this movie deserves a spot on this list. In my opinion, it is a true classic and one of the best Disney movies ever made. I am excited to share it with our baby daughter when she is a bit older, and I imagine it will be a movie shared through the generations.

I wholeheartedly agree, in fact with the 3D experience I am sure we will end up watching this a lot sooner than most Disney films. I genuinely enjoyed our family movie night, with this film thoroughly deserving a place on our list, my only complaint being I think it should probably be a lot higher. In fact at the very least, I am sure I will be comparing the other Disney films to this one, in order to see if they are more deserving of a higher place on the list.

Footnote – Six Degrees of Sir Richard Attenborough

Billy Crystal appeared in the 1996 film adaption of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with Sir Richard Attenborough.

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This entry was posted in IMDB Top 250, IMDB Top 250 Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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