In a parallel world to our own, the city of Monstropolis is populated by monsters and powered by the fear of young kids. At the Monsters, Inc. factory, monsters venture into children’s bedrooms – via closet door portals – and scare them to collect the screams. But just as top buddy scare team Sulley (Goodman) and Mike (Crystal) are about to break the all-time record, they stumble upon a conspiracy involving a human girl and their rival, Randall (Buscemi)…
It might seem harsh to criticise a ‘kid’s movie’ for not being ‘adult’ enough, but by skewing younger Monsters, Inc. falls closer towards the lower end of Disney-Pixar’s output than it does the top. While nippers will love the colourful creatures and their slapstick antics, grown-ups will find less humour and layers than in the likes of Toy Story, meaning less overall appeal as a result. With many of the key Pixar bods involved (Pete Docter directs, Lee Unkrich & David Silverman co-direct, John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton produce), there’s still wit, imagination and invention, though. Even if the central idea (monsters existing in a parallel world which is powered by the fear of the kiddie-winks they scare) is a touch under-developed. Plus, the climactic closet door chase ranks as one of the animation studio’s most inventive set pieces (if a touch overlong), while the voice casting of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi is all spot-on.
It might seem harsh to criticise a ‘kid’s movie’ for not being ‘adult’ enough, but by skewing younger Monsters, Inc. falls closer towards the lower end of Disney-Pixar’s output than it does the top. Even though there’s enough wit, imagination and voice work to keep us entertained.