Directed by Pete Docter.
Written by eight different people, for crying out loud.
Starring the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 11/4/01
So, was the movie as intriguing as the
You see, you have probably heard already,
but a certain big-budget science fiction adventure filmmaker decided
to make "Monsters, Inc." the first film to get to show the trailer
to his next movie. So, almost upstaging the film itself is the
trailer to the next "Star Wars" film.
And, much like the preview to "Episode I:
The Phantom Menace", the applause comes before they even show you
what movie is being previewed! This is really funny to me. The
only two times I have ever seen people applaud before even seeing
anything is for the last two "Star Wars" films. Why would you
applaud just seeing the unmistakable dark green logo of Lucasfilm?
I have no friggin' idea.
So, the preview: pretty good. The best
parts about it (without giving much of it away) are the voiceover
work...and the fact that George Lucas doesn't really show you
anything. This is more teaser than trailer, so in that respect, it
works. I will say this one thing about the preview: the prominent
shot of a character that must be intergalactic bounty hunter Boba
Fett got the kids in my theater howling. Gotta love jet packs.
Finally, the movie started. And, the folks
at locally-based Pixar (based across the Bay Bridge in Emeryville,
California) have done it again. While not as deep as the work they
completed on the superior
"Toy Story 2", the studio's fourth feature
film is pretty good and its one-trick pony runs away with the
victory. The hook is a good one: in an alternate universe, those
creepy monsters that hide under your bed and in your closet are
actually...just doing their day job! Working for a company called
Monsters, Inc., best friends Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) and Sully
(John Goodman) form the most devastating monster tandem in the
company. Why? Sully is leading the company in scare quotient, and
that is a good thing for everybody because the entire city where
these monsters live runs on scares instead of electricity for its
main source of power.
But, is it ever that easy? Unlike the
monsters you and I read about as children, the monsters in
"Monsters, Inc." only scare to earn their keep--because away from
their jobs, all of the monsters are actually *scared* of the
children they spend all day scaring. One night, mistakes made by
one of Sully's scare rivals (Steve Buscemi) leads to a breach in
security--a child climbs out of bed and through the portal the
monsters use to enter the human world. Sully takes the child under
his wing--and out of the eyes of the other co-workers, who are
scared blind of children—and starts to learn that these human folk
ain't so bad after all.
After the hilarious first half-hour, I was
worried that the filmmakers would run out of story after the
child--animated to be the world's most adorable little girl, which
leads to an unprecedented amount of "Oh!"s in the theater (be
forewarned)--gets into Sully's hands. But, I was impressed at the
number of subtle layers the movie rolled out in showing us the
relationship between Sully and "Boo" (his name for the kid), Sully
and Mike, and how the three of them will get Boo back to her human
home. And, there are pretty funny supporting characters, much like
there was in the other Pixar pictures. Of course, the film only
lasts about 85 minutes, so it is a pretty quick ride anyway.
Overall, a strong film. The only problem I
had with the film was the script's negligence in mentioning (even
once!) that Boo must have parents or someone to watch over her, and
even though she is gone for a full day, no one seems to notice! In
"Toy Story", at least they mention the parents a couple of times!
In "Monsters, Inc." (and this becomes more clear when you have seen
the ending to this film), some heartstrings are pulled in ways that
didn't quite work for me, given that this girl should have some
parents that miss her.
You might think that is picky, but I thought
it was noticeable. Also, the short that appears before "Monsters,
Inc." is really funny, too. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard