Media FX Review of Pixar's Monsters, Inc.
by Joe Tracy, publisher of Digital Media FX Magazine
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.
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
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
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
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 years.
Inc. - The Great
Here are some of the things that makes Monsters, Inc. a
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.
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 character.
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
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
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
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
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
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
FX Magazine gives Monsters, Inc. an 8.5 rating on a scale
of 1 to 10.
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