Monsters, Inc.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #moviemonday. Apologies that this discussion is late but it couldn’t be helped. In fact, it is almost fitting because after a stressful Sunday, I decided that I wanted to watch a Disney movie because I wanted to unwind so it’s been a bit of a busy week already but now it’s Tuesday and today was a much better day so it is onwards and upwards for the rest of this week.

Monsters, Inc. is a 2001 Pixar movie. It was directed by Pete Docter.

Let’s dive in.

Plot.

This movie takes audiences to a world of monsters, where all the power is fuelled by the screams of children. In order to get the screams, the monsters work at Monsters Incorporated. Sully is the best scarer in the company. The idea is that every night the monsters go through a door and scare a child and their screams are collected in order to give the city electricity. All is going very well until a child ends up in the monsters’ universe. Now Sully and his best friend Mike must get the child, who Sully has affectionately named Boo, home before anyone finds out she is there, but on their journey back to Boo’s door, Sully and Mike discover that there are some secret plots going on in the workplace and they must put a stop to them.

Characters.

James Sullivan, Sully, is the movie’s main protagonist. Sully is a good guy. He’s a hard worker, a great scarer, a good teammate, and a good friend. He’s got everything going for him and when this child ends up in his care, he is logical. He knows no one can find out and he knows that he needs to get her home safely and as the movie goes on, Sully begins to really care about this little girl and so he becomes very fatherly. This little girl teaches Sully a valuable lesson about himself but this is something I will cover in themes.

Mike is Sully’s best friend. He is the wise-cracking comedian of the duo and so some of his reactions to the situations they find themselves in are comedically over the time. At times he gets frustrated by Sully and his feelings get hurt, but at the end of the day he is a true friend and he knows that Sully is doing the right thing so he helps him do it. His comedic talents gain more appreciation at the end of the movie.

Boo is the little girl who finds herself in the world of Monsters Incorporated. She is very sweet and very adventurous and she melts Sully’s heart. She is not old enough to speak properly yet so she communicates through actions and little sounds and some words here and there, but despite her lack of talking, she does not fail to make an impact on Sully.

Randall is the movie’s antagonist. He is Sully’s rival scarer in the company. He is determined to beat Sully in the scaring record and there is a stark difference in Randall’s attitude compared to Sully’s. Sully scares children because it is his job, but he is a kind person when he is off the clock. Randall seems to take delight in the fact that he is terrifying and he is not kind to his fellow co-workers. It is important to note that monsters believe that children and things in the human world are “toxic” so they must never let a child touch them, and they must also avoid touching things like children’s toys.

Sully learns that Boo is harmless which is why he is determined to get her home safely before someone else tries to harm her.

Another key character is Henry J. Waternoose III. He is the CEO of the company and he is determined to never let the company fail and he is worried about the expected “scream shortage”. I think he is a great character because he seems so level headed and fair. He seems kind. We feel we can trust him, but this movie teaches us that the real monsters aren’t always who we think they are.

Themes.

The major theme in this movie is friendship. I also think that the idea of overcoming differences is a huge theme in this movie too. Sully and Mike are the best of friends, always there for each other no matter what. They may have ups and downs but when it comes down to it, they can count on each other. The friendship between Sully, Mike, and Boo is really important. Monsters have been taught that children are a danger to them so when Boo first appears in their world, Sully and Mike are afraid of getting too close to her. Sully is the one who sees she is a harmless little girl so he sets aside all he’s ever been taught and decides that he has to get her home safely. I know it is a children’s movie but I think that this movie really demonstrates how fear can come from ignorance, and I will always point out how children’s movies can be so much more nuanced than they get credit for. There is an idea of overcoming one’s fears that is explored in this movie. Sully and Mike must face their fear and see that Boo is not a threat to them, and Boo learns that she does not need to be afraid of the monsters in her wardrobe. It is funny because Boo is never scared of Sully and Mike, she is only scared of Randall because Randall is her monster. He is the one who goes through her door at night and scares her, so she sees him in that context. Sully is kind to her, he does not pose a threat despite very big and strong so she sees him in only a positive light and I think this demonstrates how very often children are so perceptive. There is a moment in this movie that I love, and it is when Sully is giving a “scare demonstration” upon the request of Mr. Waternoose. Sully demonstrates to new scarers how to scare a child and it is the first time that Boo sees him in a light she views as scary. After this moment, she won’t go near him, she cries, for the first time in this movie, she views him as a monster and Sully, who has seen himself on the monitor, is horrified by what he sees. He sees how scary he looks, he sees how much that would scare a child and he does not like it. He reflects on this. He asks “did you see the way she looked at me?”, and I just think that it is a very powerful moment. I love the classic Disney and Pixar movies for this exact reason. Yes they are created with the target audience being children, but that does not mean they are not good. It does not mean that they are silly. They are often filled with emotional moments, some that we may miss until we watch them again through adult eyes, but I was very impressed with this movie after watching it again because it is funny, I love the premise, I think the concept is clever, but it is also very heartfelt and heartwarming.

Structure.

This movie is 92 minutes long which is the perfect length in my opinion. Something that I like about Disney movies and Pixar movies is that they tend to be only an hour and a half long, most likely because a young child probably would not sit watching for much longer, but these movies prove that you don’t need hours and hours to tell a perfectly rounded out story, you simply need to do well with the time you have. The opening sets up how the monster world works, the incident where a monster is “decontaminated” because they touched a child’s sock shows how afraid of humans the monsters are, and so when Boo ends up in the company, the audience knows Sully has to get her home because she is not safe there. We know that he has to avoid Randall and everyone else, we know he has to get her to her door, we understand the stakes and so as the movie plays out and Sully tries to get Boo home, while bonding with her in the meantime, it means that the movie’s ending is all the more heartfelt. We can see how much he has come to love Boo. We know she has to go home, but we know that this is going to be sad and all the questions that the movie set up are answered, and it’s all done in an hour and a half. Nothing feels rushed, nothing feels half-done, the twists are compelling but they make sense, and so it just shows how a great story can be told in a shorter time frame.

Final Thoughts.

This movie was the perfect cure to a bad day. It was funny, it was really compelling. It had been a few years since I had seen it so I did not remember everything which made watching it again all the more enjoyable. I was fully invested in the story and I think that I would call it one of my favourite Pixar movies. I’d highly recommend it.

This has been #moviemonday.

Kate xo.

2 thoughts on “Monsters, Inc.

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