Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #16: Monsters, Inc.

If there’s one thing Roland Emerich taught us with his horrendous 1998 remake of Godzilla, any idiot can (and did) make a blockbuster monster movie.

Sure, some are better than others, but the conventional formula is simple: [(lizard / insect / alien) x (special effects)] + (general screaming and fleeing) + [(protagonist stupidity) x (multiple close calls)] ≥ $50,000,000.

But leave it to Disney/Pixar to make a monster movie that’s cleverly fun, funnily clever, endearingly delightful and most importantly, doesn’t involve Matthew Broderick. At all. (Not even a little bit.) Ladies and gentlemen of the moviegoing jury, I give you Exhibit M: 2001’s ninety-two most entertaining monster-movie minutes, Monsters, Inc.

What I like most about Monsters, Inc. is not necessarily its star-studded vocal cast or top-notch computer animation, but the clever social commentary carried out by its premise. When an energy shortage (sound familiar?) hits Monstropolis, energy company Monsters, Inc. takes action (sound familiar?) by scaring those who naturally possess the monsters’ coveted source of energy (sound familiar?).

The source, of course, is the screams of frightened children, which the monsters extract by wandering nightly through their closet doors and scaring the bejesus out of them. It’s not until one of the kids emerges from the other side of the closet that the scare-ers become the scare-ees, and as with any other Disney/Pixar feature, hilarity ensues.

Monsters, Inc. is full of humour that appeals to young and old, but it also has a valuable educational quality.

For example, the goofy and loveable monsters in the film can assist your child, teenager or spouse get over their fear of monstrous closet dwellers.

Plus, the monsters’ reaction to the feared little-ones reminds us that it’s OK to be afraid of children.

And I guess there’s something to be said for the monsters’ socially-minded observation that ‘kids just don’t scare like they used ‘ta.’ But whether this is a sign of the times or a warning of the potential effect that ‘TV, Wii and PS3’ are having on our youngin’s is safely left up to the viewer.

Truly, Monsters, Inc. is a frequently overlooked member of both the Disney/Pixar catalogue, and the monster-movie genre. And with great bonus features like outtakes and animated shorts, it’s the film that keeps on giving alllll night long.

Much the way Matthew Broderick doesn’t.

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