Making the Grades
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.
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.
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. 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
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Monsters, Inc..
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?
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.