Written by Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson
Directed by David Silverman, Pete Docter
C+

Running Time: 1:35

Rated G

Featuring the voices of
Billy Crystal
John Goodman
Mary Gibbs
James Coburn
Steve Buscemi
Jennifer Tilly
Bonnie Hunt

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The feature film computer animated genre has finally hit a point where visuals are taken for granted, and a story is much more important to whether or not the movie is enjoyable. Sadly, Monsters, Inc. wasn't nearly as an enjoyable as past Disney/Pixar collaborations.

This time the Mouse House and Pixar takes us to a world where monsters roam the planet. Not creepy, crawly monsters, but cute cuddly ones. Mike and Sully are two such monsters (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman). They work at Monsters, Inc. an electric company of sorts. See in this world, monster electricity is gathered by making children in our world scream. These monsters enter the kids bedroom at night, through their closet door. The more they can make the kids scream, the more electricity they make. Sully is the king of the scream makers. He's about to break some kind of record for screams when disaster strikes. Monsters believe that if a human child touches them, they will die or get some disease or something. When a rival monster accidentally unleashes a small child upon the monster world, Sully and Mike have to try and save her before they get banished to the human world, and join the likes of Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman. But Sully falls for the little girl (who he affectionately calls Boo, she calls him Kitty), and tries to save her from an underhanded plan to force screams from children by kidnapping them and attaching them to a machine. Of course in the end everything works out and everyone is happy, not too much surprise there.

I'll be honest, while computer animation is the current leader in animated offerings, the animation here didn't seem to be anything special, certainly not anything we haven't seen before. So as I say time and time again, it's the story that can make or break a film, and in this case, the story didn't hold up. The premise was interesting enough, entering a world of monsters who inhabit our closets is an intriguing idea. And the voices of Crystal and Goodman are perfect for the characters they play (Crystal's is a one-eyed short green creature, while Goodman's is a blue-ish furry large one). But the movie wasn't all that funny or entertaining. There were a few laughs, but for the most part, it seemed to be aimed more towards children who like cuddly-cutesy films, and not to a broader audience. While movies like the two Toy Story films were geared towards all ages with some cute and childish things for the kids, and inside jokes for the adults, Monsters, Inc. was mostly just for the younger kids.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of Shrek at least that movie had loads of comedy throughout the entire film. There were a few downtimes, but for the most part something was always happening, and very rarely did I feel it got too sentimental. Monsters, Inc. on the other hand frequently slowed down and got too touchy-feely for my liking, and I think a lot of younger viewers might also tire of the relationship between Boo and Sully. I found my mind wandering throughout the film, waiting for something exciting to happen. The best part of the film was the door sequence towards the end where they were in this massive hall of doors, all leading to different kids' bedrooms, all over the world. But the rest of the film was just sort of there.

So overall, Monsters, Inc. was an OK film, but not something that broke new grounds in animation, and certainly not something that captured the imagination like the Toy Story films did. There was an added treat at the beginning, where we got to see a Pixar short called For the Birds that was very entertaining, and pound-for-pound a bit better than Monsters, Inc. was. I'm still looking forward to the eminent release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.


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