It's been more than a decade since the Pixar animated film “Monsters, Inc.” first arrived in theaters. And like many of its fellow Pixar classics, this idealistic family film remains as wonderful today as it was back in 2001.
This week, a 3D version of the film hits theaters just in time for the holidays. If you’re willing to part with the extra cost, this version is definitely worth your time -- even if your intent is only to see this fun film on the big screen again.
The story revolves around two monsters who work for a company that celebrates frightening children. Its motto—“We scare because we care”—is self-explanatory. Sulley (voiced by John Goodman) is a large monster who is able to scare children by walking into their bedroom late at night and exposing his vicious teeth and frightening scream. His best buddy Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) enables the behavior by filing all of the necessary paperwork and making sure that Sulley works in a timely fashion. On the factory floor where they work, doors from all over the world appear offering select monsters the chance to enter in the dark bedroom of unsuspecting children for a scare or two.
The monsters enter, scare and then escape, and the factory counts each monster's scare to keep the employees excited about the job.
From its inventive beginning, this film stands out as one of Pixar’s best. The story—easy to understand and beautiful to watch—provides viewers with an inside look at what happens behind the scenes in the world of monsters. Children will likely be enchanted by this story showing where the monsters in their bedroom actually come from. In that way, this movie—like the “Toy Story” trilogy—takes an aspect of a person’s childhood and seeks to fill in the blanks around the idea.
What do toys do when children aren’t playing with them was the question asked in “Toy Story?” They play by themselves, the film answered. In the same way, “Monsters Inc.” poses the question of where monsters that scare little children come from? A factory floor, of course. That makes it easier for them to visit so many children on each night. Pixar films have a way of opening the imagination of children and adults alike that few films do these days.
Of course, as the story in “Monsters Inc.” continues, a child from the outside world escapes into the world of the monsters. This child—who ironically scares the monsters as much as they scare little kids—poses a dilemma for Sulley and Mike. “Boo,” the name that Sulley gives the little girl, is sweet and innocent and makes some of the characters re-evaluate their factory mission.
Thoughtful and imaginative, the film is full of intricate and subtle details that children and adults will enjoy. Laughs are earned throughout this heart-warming story that never speaks down to its audience and never engages in the potty humor that so often undercuts these family-friendly films.
“Monsters Inc.” was and remains a classic animated film that is made a little bit more enjoyable by the subtle but solid 3D effects that have been added in this version. Still, the movie remains a must-see for families of all ages.