Welcome to the Pixar Rewind! Over the next couple of weeks, we at Rotoscopers will be analyzing every Pixar film ever, and what makes each one so great. At the end of the series, and after the release of ‘Inside Out’ we will have a fan vote to determine which film is the best of them all!
*Please note: for the sake of this article I am only focusing on Monsters, Inc. and not Monsters University. We will cover the prequel, but I wanted to focus on Monsters, Inc. first.
It had been two years. Two years since the success of the latest Toy Story film. Pixar was making a name for itself, and its new, original film had to be a good one.
Luckily, Monsters, Inc. continued to prove Pixar’s strong capabilities.
The idea for Monsters, Inc. was first conceived in 1994 by Pixar legends John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Standon, and Joe Ranft during the production of Toy Story. The idea was inspired in part, by Toy Story. Just as children believed that their toys came to life when they left the room, so did they believe that monsters would come out of their closets when they went to sleep.
The story evolved radically throughout the next several years. Originally, the story was about a 30-year-old terrified by monsters that represented fears that he had, and conquering his fears made the monsters disappear.
Thank God that didn’t end up happening.
Pixar played around with Boo’s character- her gender, age, and nationality constantly changing. Sulley had tentacles and glasses and wasn’t even the top scarer, and Mike Wazowski didn’t even exist.
After much work, we finally had the gem of a movie that we see today.
In many ways, Pixar used this film to further cement their magical formula that we are all so familiar with today.
Creativity & Imagination
Yes, we all know there are monsters in your closet, waiting to scare you. Pixar, however, takes this idea to a completely new level. They built an entire world based on the notion that screams of children actually power Monstropolis (you see the monsters aren’t mean; they just need your screams!). Who could’ve possibly come up with that notion?
And it wasn’t just the extremely imaginative concept that helped for Monsters, Inc. to continue Pixar’s precedent. Every moment in the film was filled with innovations, large and small, to show just how creative this whole world is. The billboards are all monster-themed [stalk/don’t stalk signs]. There are tons of miniscule jokes occurring at every moment of the film, all to further prove Pixar’s creativity down to the very last detail.
This movie, like any other Pixar film, had a very strong plot. It begins with a solid foundation, showing commercials and simulations for Monsters, Inc. in order to help assimilate the audience to this world. If Pixar had done this incorrectly, the film could’ve looked completely different. The monsters could have become much more devious and a lot less lovable. Only Pixar could have made us understand why the monsters in our closet do what they do, without alienating the audience from these monsters.
The film is hysterical. There are so many quips, quotes, and visuals that can always have the viewer laughing. And then, Pixar does what Pixar does best, and makes the viewer want to cry when Sulley takes Boo back to the human world. And then in the end? When Mike makes the door for Sulley to see Boo one more time? We don’t even see Boo- we only see Sulley’s expression of sheer joy. He is so happy, and Pixar proves, once again, just how good they are at making the audience laugh and cry in equal measure, all bundled up within a 90-minute film.
Monstropolis was a world that mimicked our own in many ways, except every last detail was made monster-themed in extremely clever ways. Pixar did a fantastic job helping us understand this fantastical world and how it relates to our own world. (So that’s where the Abominable Snowman came from!)
Sulley and Mike were the ultimate pair. Sulley was obviously the one with all of the popularity as being the top scarer, but Mike never seemed to resent this. He seemed an equal within their relationship, often being the one to schedule and come up with plans. Mike even set up Sulley’s training routine. This formula may not have worked well. Mike could have begrudged Sulley’s popularity, or Sulley could have treated Mike as an inferior. Instead, they are equals, respecting one another and helping each other out in order to break the scare record and become the best scaring duo.
And then there is Boo. She is precocious and brave. The only monster that she truly fears is Randall, but she would even stand up to him in order to save her “Kitty.” Boo brings out the soft side in both Mike and Sulley, and while the introduction of her character creates complications for our duo, in the end, she helps to strengthen their relationship, and make them better monsters in the end.
The animation in this film continues to hold up to this day. With all of the monsters and their fur, ooze, and scales, the animation may not have looked very good. The main concern while creating the film was Sulley, who had over 2 million hairs on his body. So, the company created Fizt to simulate the fur. Even though this film came out over a decade ago, the animation still looks high-quality, detailed, and beautiful.
Finally, Pixar has always been able to prove itself as strong writers- with wonderful moments that are always remembered when one thinks of this movie. Here are a few of such moments:
Is ‘Monsters, Inc.’ your favorite Pixar film? What are some memorable moments or characters for you?
Previous Pixar Rewinds:
Edited by: Kelly Conley