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Still shot from the movie: Monsters, Inc..

Monsters, Inc.

Just when you've convinced your children it's safe to sleep in the dark, along comes Monsters Inc., an engaging animated film that's sure to confirm what every youngster suspects: the bedroom closet is a secret passage into a world where scary creatures thrive.

Overall Grade: A-
Violence: B
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A-
Drugs/Alcohol: A
Release Date: 02 Nov 2001
Run Time: 91
MPAA Rating: G

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In-Depth Review

Just when you've convinced your children it's safe to sleep in the dark, along comes Monsters Inc., an engaging animated film that's sure to boost the market value of nightlights. Despite what parents may say, this movie confirms what every youngster suspects: There really are scary creatures hiding in the shadows of the bedrooms. And in this specific case, the bedroom closet is a secret passage into the thriving city of Monstropolis.

Monsters, Inc. - Official site Employees at Monsters, Inc., the city's local utility company, supply the beasts' energy needs by sneaking through these hidden portals to frighten sleeping children. They capture the resulting screams in heavy, metal canisters and transform them into power. Big hairy James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) and his green one-eyed partner Mike Wazawski (voice of Billy Crystal) make up the company's top scoring scare team. As well as lining the employee-of-the-month wall, they are the featured spokesmen in the company's latest T.V. ad campaign. But Randall Boggs (voice of Steve Buscemi), a sneaky, disappearing lizard, is out to take the title from the well-liked pair.

Monsters, Inc. - Official site However, the competition goes on hold when a tiny human intruder innocently slips through an open closet door and into the monsters' world. Considered to be highly toxic, the pig-tailed toddler has the metropolis running scared and their Child Detection Agency on high alert. Fearing for their lives and jobs, Sulley and Mike bravely attempt to avoid contamination while tucking the giggling girl (voice of Mary Gibbs) safely back into her own bed. Unfortunately, their efforts are complicated when they uncover a sinister plot brewing in the power plant.

Monsters, Inc. - Official site Monsters, Inc. portrays the softer side of big scary monsters while showing that even they must solve life's problems and face their fears. Like its Toy Story predecessors, this film has enough savvy to engage most adult viewers while capturing the interest of the younger set. However, parents of young children will need to be sensitive to this movie's scare factor. (Some portrayals of growling monsters with bared teeth and loud explosions set by the detox unit were too much for the preschooler sitting behind me). Yet, for children who've overcome their qualms with the closet, this may be a perfect way to spend an evening.

Original Theatrical Release Date: 1 November 2001

3D Theatrical Release: December 19, 2012

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Overall: A-
Two power plant employees make an important discovery about facing their fears of the unknown in this animated and slightly scary film about monsters in the closet. A short film called For The Birds precedes the movie. (Content notes are at the end of the Grades list.)

Violence: B
Scary scene of monster hiding in child’s closet and under the bed. Child screams. Monster hit with ball trips on toys and falls on jacks. Characters discuss highly toxic substance. Characters engage in brief benign scuffle. Character tripped by jumping rope. Newspaper starts on fire. Character falls through sidewalk grate. Monster co-worker slaps partner on several occasions. Characters discuss their fears. Helicopters, paratrooper-like characters and detox unit descend on contaminated factory. Troopers use power pack guns to disintegrate toxic object. Character loses hair after going through decontamination process. Extended scene of character being scared by child. Nervous character tries to get rid of evidence by flushing it down toilet. Child spits at another character. Characters try to avoid toxic contamination and detection by authority figures. Character pushes over TV and breaks it. Disinfectant sprayed in character’s eye. Monster falls in garbage can and books fall on his head. Monsters hide from bad character. Character twists arms of another, causing pain. Character fears for safety of person caught in garbage disposal system. Character believed to be dead. Character bitten. Children scared by roaring characters on numerous occasions. Characters banished in blizzard. Characters threatened with and attacked by vacuum-like machine. Character slides down snow covered mountain and crashes. Character nearly strangled during fights with invisible foe. Extended scene of characters hanging high above ground includes doors slammed on body parts, characters falling, and character who tries to push another. Character attacked and hit with bat. Character falls and lands on behind. Characters discuss kidnapping of children, loss of employment, and serious energy shortage. Character taken into custody by authorities.

Sexual Content: A-
Character discusses plans for romantic birthday evening. Embarrassed hairless monster covers self. Character kisses his girlfriend on at least two occasions.

Language: A-
Some name calling.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A
None.

From the featured short film For The Birds: Birds mock newcomer and peck at his feet in attempt to make him fall. Birds catapulted into the air lose all their coverings. Featherless bird hits ground with some force. Denuded birds cover private areas with wings or leaves.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

Is it easy to be afraid of things we don’t understand? How did Sulley’s attitude change when he got to know Boo? How could you help someone who is afraid of the dark?

Can you find scenes in the movie that spoof other forms of film? What about the entry scene of the scare monsters or the power company’s T.V. commercial?

Special Note:

Recipe for Monster Repellant (a lifesaver I learned from some wise parent):

  • Put some warm water into a spray bottle and add 2-3 drops of perfume if desired. Do not let your child see you do this.
  • Set nozzle to the finest spray possible.
  • Mark outside of bottle with MONSTER REPELLANT in large letters.
  • Allow child to spray 1-2 squirts under bed and into closet before going to bed in order to keep monsters away.

Video alternatives

For other animated films from Pixar (that also include short films at the beginning), check out Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life. Also check our review of the Monsters DVD Read-Along.

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Monsters Inc. 3D

Release Date: 19 February 2013

Monsters Inc. 3D releases to home video (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) with the following extras:

- Audio Commentary

- Director’s Introduction

- Filmmaker Roundtable

-Featurettes

- Animated Shorts

- Galleries

Release Date: 10 November 2009

Monsters, Inc. releases to Blu-ray in a combo pack that includes a DVD copy and a DisneyFile digital copy of the feature film. Audio tracks are available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English) and Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish and French), with subtitles in English, Spanish and French. There are also a closet full of these bonus materials:

- Short films: Mike’s New Car and For the Birds (each with audio commentary by the director)

- Banished Concepts

- Storyboard To Film Comparison

- Monster file

- Animation Gag Reels: Sulley/Boo/Waternoose, Giraffe Gag and Sulley Bowling Boo

- Filmmakers Round Table (with Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, Darla Anderson, and Bob Peterson)

- Monsters, Inc Ride and Go Seek: Building Monstropolis in Tokyo (a new attraction at Tokyo’s Disneyland).

- Game: Roz’s 100 Door Challenge

- BD-Live Bonus Content

Monsters, Inc. is also being released as a Special Edition DVD. Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital EX 5.1 (English), with English subtitles. This package offers:

- Short Films: Mike’s New Car and For The Birds

- Filmmakers’ Audio Commentary

- Sneak Peek: Finding Nemo

- Outtakes

- Game: The Monsters, Inc. Company Play and Human World

- DVD-ROM Links and Game

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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