Flashback Review: Monster’s Inc

After “Toy Story 2” was released in 1999, Pixar’s next project is “Monster’s Inc.” Back in 1996, Pete Docter conceived a high concept (what if scenario) described in one sentence. “What if monsters are just white collar workers at a nuclear power plant doing their job to scare kids by extracting their screams into a canister?” It took five years of crafting a cohesive narrative, characters, world building, finding the right people suited for the job, animating complex aspects in computer animation etc. After Pete Docter and many others worked hard, Monster’s Inc was officially distributed worldwide.

Monster’s Inc was released in 2001. (same year Atlantis: The Lost Empire came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to praise, it also made enough money at the box office. Monster’s Inc became an eligible nominee at “The Academy Awards” for “Best Animated Feature,” “Best Original Song (If I Didn’t Have You) “Best Original Score.” Randy Newman ultimately won Best Original Song. “Shrek” took home “Best Animated Feature.” In 2013, a prequel titled, “Monster University” earned positive reviews and made money at the box office. Monster’s Inc is featured as a playable world in “Kingdom Hearts III.” A short film called, “Mike’s New Car” was released in 2002 alongside Monster’s Inc on DVD.

A follow up to Monster’s Inc titled, “Monsters At Work” will stream Disney Plus. Before the upcoming series is out on July 2nd, I want to share my thoughts on Monster’s Inc. An upcoming Pixar movie titled, “Lightyear” starring Chris Evans in a spin-off origin story of Buzz Lightyear set outside the main series with Tim Allen, will be released in 2022.

This review contains no SPOILERS. I’m giving some of you a chance to see Monster’s Inc & Monster University before the upcoming Disney Plus series streams.

Positive & Negative Aspects

Positive: John Goodman & Billy Crystal both did an excellent job for their respective performances as Sully & Mike.

Other Cast Members such as Steve Buscemi, Frank Oz, Jennifer Tilly & James Coburn all did a great job for their respective voiceover performances.

Fun Fact: Both John & Steve often collaborate with The Coen Brothers. As you know, they were in several Coen Brothers films including “Barton Fink,” “The Hudsucker Proxy“ and last but not least, “The Big Lebowski.”

Pete Docter did a decent job directing his first film. He also wrote the story.

Andrew Stanton & Dan Gerson co-wrote the script together. Making sure all story came into fruition.

Animation still looks pretty darn good since 2001. Doesn’t look ugly. You can tell Pixar is very passionate on their projects. Monster designs match Pixar’s adorable schtick. Not saying it’s a bad thing. They don’t look frightening like the Razzing winning film “Cats.”

Humor contains visual gags, witty dialogue and a good amount of slapstick. My favorite running gag is none other than 23-19. The joke gets Bonus Points for making me laugh hysterically it never gets old.

Randy Newman orchestrated the soundtrack and penned the Oscar winning song If I Didn’t Have You. It’s played during The End Credits.

Chemistry between Mike & Sully serves as the main highlight. Their friendship moves the story forward.

Character Development involving Sully. As the story progresses, he forms a special bond with Boo. Mike also earns himself Character Development.

Randall Boggs is my favorite Pixar villain. If you’ve seen Monster University, there’s a legit reason he’s hostile towards Sully & Mike.

Mike isn’t the only green monster in a computer animated film. Shrek made a name for himself and earned DreamWorks Animation its first Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Disney and DreamWorks have a bitter rivalry since former Disney CEO Jeffery Katzenberg left the company in favor of DreamWorks. He made a big boo boo losing a billion dollars due to his disastrous streaming short lived service known as “Quibi.” Karma bites him in the butt for turning against Disney.

Sully isn’t the only blue heroic character in an animated movie. “Osmosis Jones” came out in 2001.

Without giving too much away, Waternoose has a justified motivation to keep his company in good shape.

Pixar’s good luck charm John Ratzenberger has a role as The Abominable Snowman. Not the one from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Opening Scene establishes what you’re about to see will make you laugh so hard.

The Door Vault is my favorite set piece. No wonder the animators had to work overtime. Will somebody give each one a Christmas Bonus for working their butts off?

The Monster World is a unique take on monsters working at a nuclear power plant-esque building. There job is to place a canister on a nearby door. A monster enters a kid’s room via closet. Use their scare tactics in a non-lethal way. Once a kid screams, its scream is transferred inside the canister. Basically the equivalent of gathering nuclear energy.

Not a 100% fact, but I think The Coen Brothers did some uncredited rewrites. For example, whenever I see Sully & Randall interacting together, I can automatically picture their scenes from The Big Lebowski. Another example is Randall threatens his henchman he’ll put him in the shredder. A reference to the wood chipper scene from “Fargo.”

Whenever you see Mike getting his face covered by something, it became a meme.

Pause your TV, Boo owns a squeaky toy of Nemo. Two years before “Finding Nemo” came out. Boo also own a Jessie doll from Toy Story 2.

Andy’s cloudy wallpaper from “Toy Story” appears in one scene. Pixar is known to give movie goers a wink.

The CDA is a parody of The DEA.

Remember that one scene from “Reservoir Dogs” when Joe Cabot gives the thieves codenames? Steve’s character Mr. Pink wants to change his name to Mr. Purple. He’s literally playing a purple character. I see what you did there Pixar. Somebody’s been watching Quentin Tarantino movies.

If you have a sensitive side, this movie will make you cry as in a bowl of chopped onions near your face. I on the other hand never shed a few tears. Sorry folks, I never cried watching a Disney/Pixar film. Last movie that made me cry was “Avengers: Endgame.”

The End Credits contains hilarious outtakes and a musical led by Mike. Gosh darn it I miss Pixar’s outtakes! To put the icing on the cake, a cast member from Toy Story makes a cameo appearance.

Negative: I know this is an animated film for kids, but how in the world is Boo able to teleport move from Point A to Point B? Did she take teleporting lessons from Goku (off of Dragon Ball Z) on how to master “Instant Transmission?” Doesn’t make any logical sense.

The Final Verdict: A-

From my perspective, Monster’s Inc is a timeless classic. It’s still one of my favorite Pixar movies alongside Toy Story 1-3, & “The Incredibles.” If you’re eager to watch Monsters At Work, don’t forget to refresh your memory by rewatching Monster’s Inc & Monster University.

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