Movie Review - Monsters, Inc.
by Michael Elliott
Comments: There's nothing scary about these monsters.
Fun for the whole family.
Directed By: Pete Docter
Starring: John Goodman
Written By: Andrew Stanton & Daniel Gerson
Running Time: 1 hr: 32 min.
Scripture Ref.: 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 John 4:18, Proverbs 3:24
We know that most every child has been frightened by things that go bump in the night. What we didn't know was that those things are just as frightened of us. That's the premise behind Monsters, Inc., the newest animated offering from the makers of Toy Story 1 & 2.
In a monster world powered by the energy contained in the screams of children, the scream-collecting factory operation of Monsters, Inc. fills a vital role. Top scream getter is James P. (Sully) Sullivan (John Goodman, The Emperor's New Groove), a kind and gentle eight-foot bear-like creature who only scares kids because its his job.
No scarer worth his scream is without an able-bodied assistant. In Sully's case, it is his friend and roommate, the wisecracking Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal, America's Sweethearts), whose "able body" consists entirely of an eyeball.
It takes a special breed to be a scarer, for the job is not without risk. Every monster knows that kids are toxic and mere contact with them can prove fatal. This is why, when a young girl (nicknamed Boo) follows Sully back to Monstropolis, thinking him a giant furry "kitty," the entire monster world is thrown into turmoil. Sully and Mike must work together to send the terrifying toddler back to her world without being spotted by the SWAT-like decontamination squad. If they're caught, they'll be banished and cast into the human world forever (a fate shared by Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and the abominable snowman (John Ratzenberger, Toy Story).
During their wild and wooly adventure, Sully learns that kids aren't toxic... in fact they can be downright cuddly. He also learns, to his great surprise, that there is a far greater power source than a scream.
Computer animation continues to advance by giant strides. Sully's fur, which, according to the production notes, contains nearly 3 million individual hairs, appears soft and almost feathery. The scenery backgrounds are detailed and highly imaginative but no animated feature can get by on visual effects alone. As with the Toy Story series, Monsters, Inc. is driven and driven well by its story and the characters which tell it.
Along with Sully and Mike are Randall (Steve Buscemi, Ghost World), a chameleon-like lizard who is trying to break Sully's scream record using whatever means necessary; Boo (played by a 4 year old Mary Gibb, speaking predominantly childish gibberish), who precociously turns Monstropolis upside down by just showing her face; Celia (Jennifer Tilly, Stuart Little), the Medusa-headed girlfriend of Mike; Henry J. Waternoose (James Coburn, Affliction), the crab-like boss of Monster Inc. who bemoans the fact that children just don't scare like they used to.
As the monsters have long known, there is power to be found in fear. It is, however, a disabling power instead of the enabling kind. The negative energy of fear binds, restricts, and inhibits. There is a far greater power which has a positive energy that can unloose, free, and elevate. It is this power that God gives freely to all who are willing to receive it of Him.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
God has certainly given us much more than is listed here, but this triple combination of power, love, and a sound mind is particularly effective in eradicating fear from our lives. Of what monster should we fear when we know that there is no power greater than the power of our God? Since perfect love casteth out fear (1 John 4:18), we have the ammunition to live without fear. Some of the benefits of having a sound mind are the promises stated in Proverbs 3:24. (When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.)
Armed with power, love, and a sound mind, all of which comes from God, we are enabled to face any monster, be they real or imagined, with a genuinely fearless attitude, secure in the knowledge that they are likely to be more frightened of us.