Monsters, Inc. Scares Up Laughs
- Sunday, November 18, 2001
Rating - G
Best for: This is a kid-friendly movie for kids who can handle a few scary monsters.
What it's about: Sulley (John Goodman) is the top "scarer" at Monsters, Inc., where a factory of monsters (in all shapes and sizes) works to keep kids screaming to provide their power supply. Mike (Billy Crystal) is a one-eyed green monster who teams up with Sulley to expose their greedy rival Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), a scheming, eight-legged creature who can turn invisible. The monster world is turned upside down when a little girl is inadvertently transported there and all of the monsters are terrified of her touch (since they think it is poisonous). It's up to Mike and Sulley to prove them wrong and get the girl back to her home.
The good: Pixar (the group behind Toy Story) has once again come through with special effects that give us an alternate world where mostly benign, goofy-looking monsters look so real they're almost cuddly. These are the monsters that kids think they see at night in their room and in dark places, but none of them would ever harm a child. From the beginning we see sketches of monsters with large jaws and teeth and long arms with claws hiding in and popping out of closets, but it's soon clear that the main message to the story is laughs are much more powerful than screams.
The not-so-good: The opening scene with its suspenseful music and relatable situation, might be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some younger children, but soon they will see the likable side to these monsters.
Offensive language: Verbal jabs at each other with slang comments that some kids aren't allowed to say ("You idiot," "Jerk," "Stupid," "Shut up")
Sexual situations: None
Violence: Mostly adventure action where Mike and Sulley hang onto and jump from various doors zipping along on a suspended, factory-style assembly line.
Parental advisory: I'm not a fan of making monsters attractive to kids and luring them to "accept" dark themes, but in this case, the reverse psychology of monsters being afraid of kids just might work. Still, there may be a few kids (depending on their age and level of maturity) who find the opening scenes a little scary and "bad dream" material. At least the theme is a positive one that in the end has kids laughing.
Entertainment value: A-
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