Pixar is seen as the once immaculate production company that has since lost its way in a sea of sequels and less-than-perfect output, but there is a slight sense of rose-tinted hindsight about them. Monsters Inc. was their fourth feature film, having directly followed sequel Toy Story 2 and the less-than-perfect A Bug’s Life, but it’s 3D re-release seems all the worse now as it’s following sequel Cars 2 and the less-than-perfect Brave as well as feeling like a money-grabbing cash-in before they release prequel Monsters University later this year.
But despite all this, it’s still impossible to have anything but love for Monsters Inc., which finds Pixar at the top of their game in terms of entertainment and originality. Two monstrous best friends – Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) – work at an energy plant, where they use magical doors to enter our world, frighten children and capture their screams. These screams are then transformed into energy back in the monster’s world, and all is going swimmingly until Sully unwittingly allows a very young child to enter their world, which kick-starts a series of events which will turn every monster’s life upside down.
Perfectly directed, fantastically scripted, beautifully animated, everything that was great about Monsters Inc. back in 2001 is still just as great today. Goodman and Crystal make for a wonderful double-act, and they’re superbly supported by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly and James Coburn. Plus, anyone who didn’t immediately fall in love with the two year old Boo has a heart of cement. As for its 3D re-release, to its benefit a lot of the scenes work fantastically with the added dimension, particularly the climactic chase through the warehouse of magical doors.
So if nothing else, Monsters Inc. remind us of how great Pixar used to be, and gives us hope that they will be that great again in the future.