Each of PIXARs previous films had an element of friendship in them, be it Woody and Buzz in Toy Story or Flick and the Circus Troupe in A Bug’s Life. Monsters Inc takes that element and turns it into a defining factor of the story. It also focuses on themes of fear and, to an extent, control. To top it all off, it has one of the saddest endings to any of the PIXAR films that came before or since, yet one of the best.
We follow Mike and Sully, 2 monsters who work for a company that turns human children’s screams into power for the city of Monstropolis. Their world is catapulted upside down when a human child finds her way into their world with Monster Protection Services in hot pursuit. Slowly but surely, Mike and Sully find themselves caring for this girl, who they name Boo, and embark on a mission to get her home. So far, this is the most unique project that PIXAR has given us, shifting away from the inhabitants of our world- toys and insects- to the inhabitants of another. Yes, I believe that there may be a reality in which monsters exist, if not this one, because I live in perpetual hope. Our universe is vast and incredible and full of surprises. Monsters Inc is so unique that Sullys fur required an entirely new method of rendering for each of his 2,320,413 hairs. It allowed each hair to react independently to the environment around it, including casting shadows, and would be dubbed Fitz- short for physics tool. This went along with their brand new simulations department at their brand new studio in Emmeryville, California where they have been ever since. It would also be the first PIXAR film to be directed by Pete Docter instead of John Lasseter. His following films included the hard-hitting Up and the even harder-hitting Inside Out as well as the upcoming feature film Soul. Docter manages to give us one of the most iconic children’s films of all time in his first attempt. Randall is a wonderful villain as was my introduction to the beautifully manic acting skills of Steve Buscemi. Mike and Sully bounce of each other perfectly while still accepting each others differences and grievences. Mr Waternoose is cool and calculated until he isn’t, proving him to perhaps be the scariest monster of them all. Then there is the delightful Roz, whose dry delivery may have been part of the inspiration for my own sarcastic nature. There is a final charcter hidden within th foundation of Monsters Inc and that is the excellent score from Randy Newman. There are hints of jazz and blues and makes for a truely one of a kind symphony.
Each moment of this film is worth praising, be it the settings, characters, motivations, music or designs but what sticks most is the relationship between Boo and Sully. They each get a friend they never knew they wanted and care about each other more than they could ever have expected to. It’s so pure and wholesome and seeing them be ripped from each other at the films climax is heartbreaking. It teaches us to value our loved ones while we still can, which is a really important message that bares repeating. Even from the beginning, it’s clear that PIXAR wanted to convey messages that matter.
Until Next Time…