Hank: Gather around, frightened children of all ages, as we open the multi-colored door into the Land of Pixar once again! This time, it’s “Monsters, Inc.” directed by Lee Unkrich, David Silverman, and Pete Docter, from a horrilarious script by Andrew Stanton and Daniel Gerson. Did you know that every child’s fear of their closet door leading to monstrous nightmares is at least half-true? See, all closet doors DO open into Monstropolis, and monsters leap out of them and into our worlds. But they’re more afraid of us than we could ever be of them. The lovable monsters are simply using our children’s screams as an energy source, kind of like we use the screams of Iraqi children to make our oil. James P. Sullivan (John Goodman, a fuzzy bear-ish giant) and his roomie Mike Wasowski (Billy Crystal, a walking green eyeball), transgress against the Monstropolis rules by letting a human girl, Boo, enter their eco-system. Humans are an infestation in the eyes of the monsters! What follows is a reverse “Alien,” as Sully and Mike try to cope with this unwanted creature they’ve been told to fear. “Monsters, Inc.” asks the important question: why is it that we react to the unknown with fear, and a desire to murder it, without first granting it a right to live? Are there other alternatives? “Monsters, Inc.” suggests there might be, and that fear is never a substitute for love.
Trent: Ha! I love all the “freeze-the-frame-or-you’ll-miss-them” gags. Like the way the “Hidden City” cafe has a “Predator” lunch special, which shows how much deepdom the makers of “Monsters, Inc.” put into this. Also, I love how the fanciest dinner hole in town is named after Ray Harryhausen, the genius behind those badly-made claymation-monster movies from the 50s.
Most of all, I love how the Pixar team honors the greatest “Pokemon” rip-off ever made, “Monster Rancher.” Suezo, you were the best monster eyeball ever.
Of course, all those little gags are there to distract us from the intellectual commentary, which is REALLY about how the Irish-Catholic (as represented by Sullivan) and the Polish-Catholic (as represented by Wasowski) must learn to co-operate in the big diverse world of Chicago, illinoIS (represented by MonstropolIS; notice how they both end in “IS”.) Am I doing this right, Tracey?
Tracey: No, you’re not. What “Monsters, Inc.” is REALLY about, as any fool can see, is about a gay couple dealing with the surprises of parenthood. The love affair between Mike and Sully goes even deeper than the one between Buzz and Woody in the “Toy Story” series. They’re not tentatively learning to care for each other; they are already way deep into cohabitation; when Mike calls Sully his “Big Daddy,” we sense the true bond that has united this “Odd Couple” for years.
Grandpa Felicius: What “Monsters, Inc.” is REALLY about, like every other inane Pixar movie, is about providing a delivery system for the music of one Randy Newman, a smug, sardonic, cynical, incorporated monster who still owes me 100 bucks at Acey Deucey. When I attempted to collect, I was snubbed by the “composer” of such “classics” as “Doo Doo I’m Your Buddy Forever Doo Doo,” “I’m Better than Southerners Because I’m from L.A., but I’m Better than L.A. Residents Too, Because I’m Randy Newman,” and Tony Shalhoub’s theme song.
Incidentally, he has a new album out, called “Dark Matter,” in which he once more aims at targets both obvious ( climate change deniers! Vladimir Putin!) and hopelessly out-of-date ( Celia Cruz? Sonny Boy Williamson, for daring to steal the OTHER Sonny Boy Williamson’s name?)
Oh, but how can I persist on my berating of Randy Newman! It was him, after all, who did the most for bringing awareness to the cause against the most abominable of mutations: the under-sized. All is forgiven, Randy. But seriously, I need those hundred bucks pronto.
Cousin Franz: Clearly, what “Monsters, Inc.” is REALLY about is how CORPORATIONS feed on fear. It’s Pixar’s aware dig at the parent company, Disney. Disney, the money-maker. Disney, the soul-killer. Disney, the fear-spreader.
The fear they spread is: “Imagine a world without Disney there to ensure that your kids will learn values. You don’t want them to get those from religion, or from their schools, or from inferior animation studios? You don’t want your little girl to go to school and then be bullied and terrorized because she failed to keep up with whatever Princess nonsense we foisted upon the public that year? BUY DISNEY TOYS. Oh we also own Marvel and Star Wars. What else? Glad you asked. ABC, ESPN, A&E, the History Channel, ANCIENT ALIENS, Lifetime Networks, VICE, and “PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.” We’ve even infected Square/ Enix Final Fantasy games with the “Kingdom Hearts” series. We DARE you to not give us your money, your attention, your ESSENCE, and still show your face in public. YOU CAN’T. They will LAUGH AT YOU. Bow to Disney or BE NOTHING.”
Tracey: But… I love Disney!
Trent: I love Disney!
Hank: I love Disney!
Grandpa Felicius: I love Disney, but he’s another one who owes me 100 bucks at Acey Deucey. I just hate bringing it up because his frozen head is so intimidating.
Beatricia: What “Monsters, Inc.” is REALLY about is no importance because there are no such things as monsters.
Blurbarella: “Disney– Owns– Me.”
4 out of 6 Cherries.