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Monsters, Inc

Pixar Fulfills Expectations In Latest CGI-Based Film

By Daniel S. Robey

Directed by Peter Doctor and David Silverman

Written by Dan Gerson and Andrew Stanton

Starring Billy Crystal, John Goodman

Rated PG

“Goodnight mom.” “Goodnight, dear.”

Across the world, these words are echoed night after night, and as the bedroom door closes and a lull falls over the darkened room, children everywhere know that in the darkness, monsters lurk. What they don't know is that for these monsters, it's just a way to make a living.

Monsters, Inc, the newest movie from Pixar, is a beautifully rendered film that is both charming and entertaining. An all-star cast provides the voices for beguiling characters that win the imagination and the heart.

The movie opens with a scene much like the classic bedroom scene. As the lights go down, a young boy lying in bed senses something in the room. Old shirts become tentacles, his imagination plays with his senses, until finally a huge beast appears from under the bed and leaps towards the boy. The child screams and the monster reels from the noise, confused. The tentacled creature jumps back, slips, and falls onto jacks strewn on the floor. The lights go up, and we discover that this is a training facility for new monsters.

Monstropolis is a huge city on the “other side of the closet.” Strange and magical creatures go about their daily routine, most without interacting with humans. One company, Monsters, Inc, powers all of Monstropolis. This colossal business converts the screams of children into energy, keeping the city well lit and functioning.

Workers at Monster, Inc. are trained to scare, and no one does it better than J. P. Sullivan (John Goodman), known to all as Sully, and his partner Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal). Using closet doors, the monsters can pass into the human world to collect the screams of young children.

When questionable circumstances involving a sinister coworker allow a child to pass into the Monstropolis, chaos ensues. Sully grows close to the little girl he names Boo, and Mike insists that they return her to the room she came from. They fall into a conspiracy that could destroy the scare collection industry and threaten the lives of human children everywhere, including little Boo.

As usual, Pixar pushes the limits of 3D graphics with their newest arrival. Goodman’s character is covered in blue hair with purple spots, and the fur is completely realistic in its movements and reactions to the environment. One of the best technical shots I have ever seen depicts Sully falling into a snow bank and his snow-covered fur blows in the wind as flakes drift from the sky. Another more humorous use of Pixar’s technical skill lies in the fluctuating skin tones of a monster that can shifts colors like a chameleon.

In addition, great comedians bring life to the well-animated characters. John Goodman is endearing as Sully, giving him a teddy bear-like quality. Billy Crystal is the perfect Mike, fussy and constantly worrying. The evil chameleon Randall is played by Steve Buscemi, and there is even a cameo by John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) as the abominable snowman.

Pixar and Disney deliver a carefree, enjoyable movie in Monsters, Inc. Subtle and well-crafted jokes provide a backdrop for a light-hearted story that leaves viewers satisfied.