Media FX Review of
Pixar and Disney's Monsters, Inc.
by Joe Tracy, Publisher of Digital Media
seems to be the only animation company that can "do
no wrong" with its animated productions. From Toy
Story to Monsters, Inc. the company has done
an excellent job of entertaining children and adults with
cutting edge computer animation, good stories, and strong
humor. A lot of companies, including Disney, could learn
a lot from studying Pixar's techniques.
brings us to Pixar's latest offering - Monsters, Inc.
Like other Pixar movies, Monsters, Inc. is very
creative, entertaining, and evokes emotions. While it
doesn't reach the heights of Toy Story or Toy
Story 2, it still packs a huge entertaining punch.
writing this review, I watched Monsters, Inc. twice.
The first time was the opening Friday and the second time
was the next day, Saturday. Both showings ended up being
sold out (after I got my tickets, thankfully). What surprised
me, however, is that I spoke with several people waiting
in line on Saturday who had already seen the movie Friday.
Right there shows the replay value of this movie. Audiences
love Monsters, Inc. which is likely why exit surveys
on opening night (official and non-official) showed Monsters,
Inc. getting higher ratings than any other movie this
Inc. takes place in Pixar's imaginary town of Monstropolis
where monsters live much like humans, except with more
creativity. The problem with Monstropolis, however, is
that there is a shortage of power. Only one company has
a solution to the power crisis (and it isn't in California)
- Monsters, Inc. which is able to harness screams from
human children and turn those screams into power so that
the citizens of Monstropolis can continue to live in comfort.
Inc. is not directed by the visionary John Lasseter.
Taking the helm for Monsters, Inc. is longtime
Pixar guru Pete Docter. Docter is no stranger to the mega-success
of Pixar's animated movies. He was supervising animator
of Toy Story, which he worked on for over four
Inc. - The Great
Here are some of the things that makes Monsters, Inc.
a great movie:
The creativity. The imagination that went into the
film shines throughout from the running gags (Mike's
"appearance" in the TV commercial and magazine
cover) to the concept of how the doors work in the
Monsters, Inc. factory.
Boo. It is amazing how you can take a human child,
Boo, and give her a vocabulary that consists only of
baby babble (no coherent human words) and form such
an effective communication and emotional aura with her.
Because all kids go through the "baby babble"
phase both parents and kids gain a lot of fun from this
The animation. Need I really mention this? Pixar's
computer animation, as always, is top notch. From the
character models to the movements, everything in this
fantasy adventure/comedy is convincing. The animation
of Scully's fur is particularly impressive, especially
in one scene where he is lying still face down in the
snow with the wind blowing his fur in near blizzard
The action. The action scenes in Monsters, Inc.
- particularly the "door chase" scene - are
executed with excellent precision. As the doors race
along the tracks, you get the feeling that you are almost
there on this strange, yet fun, fantasy ride...
Inc. - The Average
Toy Story and Toy Story 2 packed an emotional
punch with songs ("You've Got a Friend in Me"
and "When She Loved Me") that really added a
strong dimension to the films. This is lacking in Monsters,
Inc.. The song that plays during the credits - "If
I Didn't Have You" - is missing the magic that the
songs from the Toy Story series contain.
there's just something magical missing from Monsters,
Inc. in the way the characters react to each other
and are developed. Toy Story and Toy Story 2
were perfect in executing this magical formula and Monsters,
Inc. comes close, but still misses. Perhaps one of
the problems is that the villains aren't likable in Monsters,
Inc. where they were likable in the Toy Story
series (in a "Darth Vader" sort of way).
there is some slowdown during the movie's main plot point
and the solutions to the predicaments they get in are
way too easy. There are also some story problems that
you don't think about when viewing the movie, but may
pick up on later. For example, it's obvious that more
than a day has gone by (and Monstropolis time seems to
be matched with real Earth time) with Boo in Monstropolis.
In reality, her parents would have found her missing the
next morning and called the police, etc.. Then there's
the snail Monster that leaves a trail of slime the first
time you see it, but never again in the movie.
are, of course, minor quibbles and for the most part audiences
will never think of them because the movie is strong overall
with a high entertainment value and the right rating for
families - "G".
of "G" Ratings
Pixar seems to have a long term public relations strategy
that is winning it larger audiences every time it puts
out films - people trust Pixar. People know that
if the Pixar name is attached to it then it is safe to
take the whole family. Disney lost a lot of this trust
and DreamWorks never had it because it aims more at the
PG crowd. Pixar is putting itself in a branded position
of excellence that will carry the company well into the
future as a premiere provider of safe animated movies
that both adults and children can enjoy.
The Pixar and Disney alliance is a perfect match (for
Disney at least) as you get the powerful stories and animation
from Pixar to go with the mega marketing, distribution,
and promotional power of Disney. The result is movies
that consistently make over $150 million nationally and
hundreds of millions more overseas. Then there's DVD sales,
merchandising, tie-ins... you get the picture.
Inc. is an excellent family film that continues to
make Pixar (which won an Animatasia Award last year for
"Best Animation Studio") a mega force in the
animation industry that is well respected.
Media FX Magazine gives Monsters, Inc. an 8.5 rating
on a scale of 1 to 10.
to Reviews Main Page
to dFX Monsters, Inc. Main Page
to Digital Media FX Front Page