Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Put that thing back where it came from or so help me...so help me, so help me AND CUT!"

Film: "Monsters Inc."

Release Date: 2 November 2001

Director: Pete Doctor, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich

"Monsters Inc." continued to show the progress of Pixar Animation by being the first film not directed by John Lasseter. It also pushed the technologies to make these kinds of films with how life like the fur on Sulley's body is. Nearing the completion of their first film, 'Toy Story," Pixar's John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Doctor, and the late Joe Ranft held a lunch in 1994 to decide what their next films would be about. From that lunch they came up with what would be a number of their now classic films. The first of these ideas to reach the screen was 1998's "A Bug's Life." "Monsters Inc." became the second to see life on the screen.

Once again scored and with a new song written by Randy Newman, the song "If I didn't Have You" would go on to win the Oscar for best song, which would be Newman first Academy Award. Once again winning critical and box office success, "monsters Inc." continued Pixar's slow dominance of the animation landscape.

But it did have it's controversies. It faced a few lawsuits, the first from Lori Madrid who claimed it ripped off of her 1999 story, There's a Boy in My Closet. The second one was from Stanley Mouse, who claimed the characters of Mike and Sulley were rips from drawings he tried to sell to Hollywood back in 1998. Both lawsuits would be thrown out, but almost delayed the release of the film.

My Reaction: My uncle once told me a few weeks after "Monsters Inc." was released that he felt the only reason it did well was because of 9/11 and the issues of fear the movie deals with. While I some how doubt that was the main reason why it did well, he may have had something there. "Monsters Inc." came out at an interesting time in American history. It was released less then two months after 9/11. The terrorist attacks were still VERY fresh in everyone's minds and fear was very much in the air. It could very well be that with it's story steeped in conquering fear, there was some connection with that statement my uncle made. I could see there being some connection.

Regardless of why it did well, this was a great film with great messages and possibly the BEST and most exciting climax for any Pixar film to date. I remember seeing the doors segment when I saw this movie on the big screen opening day (which started the tradition for me of seeing every Pixar film since on opening day) and thinking they had the making for an amazing ride at a Disney park on their hands. Watching it again reminded me of how cool it was, and also how perfect the ending was.

Based on news feeds, it seems that Pixar is making a sequal to this film. After watching the original again, I'm cautious at best for a follow up. Not because I would not love to re-visit these characters but because I fear it would ruin the ending of the original. I guess time will tell, it is still unknown as of now what Pixar has in mind.

My Wife's Reaction: She seemed to like it and thought Boo was really cute.

My Final Grade: (A-) This film was awesome and had possibly more warmth then the previous three films had. I enjoyed it for the most part and find myself still in amazement of the big final with the door room. The villains just didn't do it for me though. But I loved the Sulley, Mike and Boo, each of them were well developed in my mind.

All images copyright Disney/ Pixar. All rights reserved.


  1. I've been enjoying reading your blog. Keep up the good work!

  2. You and your uncle aren't the only ones that made the 9/11 connection. I remember a friend of mine saying in his review of the movie that the movie was released at a perfect time, when fear invaded everyone's minds. This movie is about conquering fears, to learn to live life despite adversity and find happiness.

    Not to mention that people wanted an escape from all the news, supposed terrorist threats, bombs and war. That same year we also got the first Harry Potter movie and Lord of the Rings, both which were also great hits.

    Despite what was actually happening it WAS a great time to go to the movies.

  3. I find it funny how ever so often movies come along at the right time. A more recent example is how the DisneyNature film "Oceans" came out right before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some have even made a connection to "Princes and the Frog" with Pres. Obama.

    The thing is these movies take a long time to make and the film makers could in no way know about the world they will be bringing their films into. It doesn't happen all the time, but it is interesting when it does.

    It's true, both "Potter" and "Lord of the Rings" dealt with fear as well. Just interesting timing all around.