Directed by: Peter Doctor
Written by:Dan Gerson, Andrew Stanton
Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly
Released: December 26, 2001
Grade: B+

Pixar Animation Studios are profiting again with their latest computer generated smash-hit, Monsters Inc.  It’s their fourth full-length feature following Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2.  The appealing humour of all these films gives them 100% public approval but the novelty and creativity of the genre is slipping.

There exists a fictitious world where monsters live happily together.  Fearful of humans, they don’t dare enter their world but do rely upon them to survive.  To generate electricity, leading power company Monsters Incorporated needs to harness children’s screams.  So, special doorways have been created that take the scariest monsters into children’s bedrooms to give them quite a fright.

Sulley (Goodman) is the firm’s number one scary monster and with partner Mike (Crystal), they make a formidable team.  There’s newfound competition though with monster Randall Boggs (Buscemi) trying his best to steal Sulley’s top spot title.  Of late though, the energy supply has been drying up because children aren’t as scared as they used to be. 

One evening, a door is left open on the factory floor and Sulley inadvertently lets a small child into the monster world.  Both he and Mike try to sneak her back through the door but it’s too late as the Child Detection Authority has been alerted.  Keeping the child at his house while waiting for the dust to settle, Sully develops an attachment and calls her Boo.  He’s left thinking why monsters are forced to fear humans seeing this little girl couldn’t be any cuter or more innocent.

Trouble is afoot when Sully realises Boo’s arrival at Monsters Incorporated was no accident.  Randall plans on using her as a guinea pig in his new scream extracting machine to revolutionise the industry and seize control of the company.

The quality of animation matches the high benchmark set by this year’s other animated hit, Shrek.  Both films share a great sense of humour which will be adored by both children and adults (kind of like The Simpsons).  But I do wonder if we’re becoming too easy to please in the animated market.  The plot shares many similarities with both Toy Story films - it’s about what goes on in your bedroom when you’re not looking.  Shrek took a bigger gamble with a more creative script and deserves more acclaim.

I still had fun in Monsters Inc. and kids are going to flock in masses to see it.  My “adult” criticisms will mean nothing to children who will adore the cute monsters and be entertained by the silly story.  It’s good value for money (especially if you’re paying kids prices).