In a land where screams are a source of energy, monsters must venture into the human world to scare children into giving up their cries. But things get complicated when a young girl makes the trip back.
Eleven years after its original release, Monsters, Inc
. is back in cinemas. The reasons are two fold – first there’s Disney’s
(and by extension Pixar’s
) new found interest in 3D re-releases in the wake of the success of The Lion King
and there’s also the not so small matter of a movie prequel on the way this summer.
Truth be told, I was never that taken with Monsters, Inc.
when it first arrived on the scene. After the triple threat of Toy Story
, its sequel and the underrated A Bug’s Life
it felt like a safe bet for the studio – some famous voices, a cute kid and a lot of technical wizardry thrown at the screen in place of a truly emotional story.
Over a decade later, my opinion hasn’t changed much. Despite being their most successful picture at the time, Monsters, Inc.
will always be a minor Pixar
effort – neither typified by the raw energy of Toy Story
nor the narrative depth of later efforts like The Incredibles
That said, it remains an entertaining film – buoyed up by a clever concepts like the use of children’s screams as energy and doors which give access to bedrooms all over the world. The relatively slow pace of the opening hour revs up a gear in the door-hopping finale, as the story twists all the way up to a finale which might blindside you its heartfelt moments.Monsters, Inc.
was always a technical marvel – particularly pushing the boundaries of fur animation after several Pixar
pictures with curiously smooth protagonists. John Goodman’s
Sully still looks spiffy on screen, with individual strands waving in the breeze and new rendering software allowed for the creation of the massive door storage area on a scale rarely seen in animation. Those human characters aren’t quite as successful, Boo looks more like a doll than a person, but for just their fourth feature Pixar
worked wonders here.
Of course the reason we’re revisiting the film is down to another piece of technology – 3D. Post conversion is a strange process, relying more than anything on the nature of the original film. For an inventively presented, often layered and impeccably composed film like The Lion’s King
, it makes a certain amount of sense. Monsters, Inc.
is typified by a flat presentation, evoking the white collar nature of the scaring business and it makes little impression in 3D bar some tinkering with the title sequence.Goodman
performances are still enjoyable (with the latter working hard to channel Woody Allen) and there’s support from a wonderfully gravelly James Coburn
and suitably slinky Steve Buscemi
. But the real star of the show is undoubtedly young Boo – voiced by Mary Gibbs
the daughter of a Pixar
employee. Just a toddler during recording, her babble is totally real and adds a fierce element of cuteness the film would lack otherwise.
If you’re a fan of the film you should certainly check out Monsters, Inc.
again in cinemas – its charming, attractive and more purposefully child oriented than some other Pixar
products and presented in 3D which doesn’t dull the picture too much. As an added bonus, you’ll even get to see the marvellous short ‘For the Birds’ on the big screen again.