Movie Review: Monsters, Inc.

by Lisa Oppenheimer
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Monsters Inc.

  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Recommended for ages 4+

Adorable to the bottom of its big, fuzzy heart, Pixar's 2001 fable defangs the bogeymen, revealing big softies who only scare because they have to. Turns out, the big guys are more WWE than Freddy Krueger, getting all menacing for the big show (in this case, popping out of closets to scare up electricity for their hometown of Monstropolis where scream = wattage) and then doffing fangs and claws to enjoy sushi by candlelight with the apples of their Cyclopsian eyes. But, scaring kids isn't as easy as it used to be (thank you Halo and Grand Theft Auto) causing a looming energy crisis and a plan by corporate honchos to mine the scarce resource by more nefarious means. The plot involves achingly cute human toddler Boo (Mary Gibbs), evil chameleon Randall (Steve Buscemi) and a diabolical contraption called "The Scream Extractor." Need we say more?

As lead scarer and hero James P. "Sully" Sullivan, John Goodman is all loveably goofy charm, a lout who scares by vocation rather than avocation (although, really, what else to do when one is nine-feet tall with horns?). It's no small bit of Pixar magic to find cuteness in this menagerie of fanged, tentacled oddballs, like Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), the green, one-eyed sidekick playing kvetchy George to Sully's Seinfeld, or Mr. Bile, a slothish creature who goes by the descriptive name of "Flem." But, cute they are, the kind of monsters kids would like to have in the bed rather than under it. Thanks to the magic of plush, they probably do. And, they might actually sleep with the light off.

Kids Will Like:
Kids won't be able to resist the sight gags, like the toilet overflowing after being stuffed with toys, a sight parents will no doubt find unfortunately familiar.

Parents Will Like:
There's no shortage of gags for grownups -- and the cuteness meter is off the charts.

Heads Up:
Menacing eyes under the bed plus the sight of the scream extractor heading toward Boo might prompt some through-the-fingers viewing—but only for a second.

Own It?
Yes. You'll want to watch it a billion times to catch all of the animators' clever and hidden sight gags.

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