Coming out of the closet

Monsters, Inc.

Directed by Peter Docter and David Silverman

(John Goodman, Billy Crystal, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly)




Since 1995, the counterbalance to a trend of miserable Hollywood blockbusters has been animation. Led by Pixar Animation, it is a genre that consistently amazes with technological improvements, yet always keeps entertainment and imagination as a top priority.

Monsters, Inc. follows Pixar’s greatest success, Toy Story, in venturing into the world of childhood imagination. In Toy Story, a child’s toys came to life. In Monsters, Inc., Pixar’s animators explore that dreaded nighttime closet.

Behind these feared closet doors is an elaborate monster world, in which all energy is derived from children’s screams. Each night, the workforce of Monsters, Inc. enters children’s closets in an attempt to elicit those screams. James P. Sullivan (John Goodman), a large, horned, blue wooly creature, is the company’s leading scarer, partnering with his best friend, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), a one-eyed green blob. All is great in Sullivan’s world until a little girl finds her way back through the closet.

Monsters, Inc. successfully replicates Pixar’s core ingredients. It has a delightful and amusing premise, creating a vast world behind a childhood memory. Sullivan and Wazowski, thanks to the hysterical chemistry of Goodman and Crystal, are loveable characters that elicit the audience’s attention and make this movie what it is.

Monsters, Inc. will never rise to the ranks of Toy Story, however, because its premise limits this world’s possibilities. While Monsters, Inc. starts amusingly in a child’s closet, its final segments seem out of place, wilting within office conspiracies and action sequences that seem more artificial than most of Pixar’s work.

Still, Pixar’s worst “mistakes” continue to sail far above the status quo. While Monsters, Inc. may seem twenty minutes too long, it is an undeniably entertaining success. For children, parents, babysitters and animation lovers, Pixar continues to be a godsend.

-S. S.




Monsters, Inc. opens today in theaters nationwide.