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|November 3, 20001||
Monster Inc expected to down Shrek
Arthur J Pais
Harry Potter might hex all opponents in about 10 days and grab the box-office crown this year. Some box-office pundits are even prepared to bet that Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone will make more money than the $1.8 billion grabbed by Titanic.
But, for now at least, Monsters, Inc is expected to hit huge numbers, even though Americans are still deeply worried over the the war in Afghanistan and the Anthrax scare. Under these circumstances, if one is looking for heartfelt entertainment, there is nothing better than Monsters, Inc, which offers delightful fun for the entire family. It has enough jokes and digs at the contemporary world to keep even the adults fully engaged. Some experts speculate it will make $50 million in the opening weekend and make more money than the other animated hit, Shrek, which is ending its American run with a solid $ 265 million. They also expect Monsters to hold its own against Harry Potter.
The 92-minute long Monsters, Inc, which is at once funny and sweet, is essentially a film about the triumph of good over evil. The computer-animated movie is Pixar’s fourth for Walt Disney’s Pictures, after the two Toy Story movies and A Bug's Life. The three films have grossed about $1.2 billion in movie houses and produced an astounding $1 billion in video sales and tie-in merchandise.
Though the film does not boast of big names like Tom Hanks and Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal and John Goodman have done a terrific job in lending their voices to the film’s heroes.
So welcome to the world populated by monsters. Here you will meet James P ‘Sulley’ Sullivan (with Goodman’s voice), a horned behemoth with green and purple fur. His friend Mike Wazowski (sounding a lot like Billy Crystal) is a green, one-eyed creature who looks like a hard-boiled egg.
Sulley is the mainstay at Monsters Inc, a firm that collects children's screams and transforms them into fuel for the city of Monstropolis. Mike helps Sulley at the factory, where conveyor cables aid the monsters in sneaking out of children’s closets at night and scaring them so much that they rush to their parents, screaming their lungs out.
But things are not going on smoothly at Monstropolis. Children, like their parents, are now not cooperating with the monsters, leading to an energy crisis.
“Kids these days, they just don’t get scared like they used to,” complains the crab-like tycoon (using the voice of James Coburn) who runs the factory.
Only Sulley and his sidekick have some luck in making the kids scream.
Things become more complicated when Sulley’s rival, Randall Bogs, a giant chameleon with a malicious grin, is hatching plots to get the children to scream more. Thanks to Boggs’s plotting, Sulley accidentally brings a small girl into Monstropolis.
Sulley is now in deep trouble. He knows that his fellow monsters believe children from Earth are toxic. He has to return the girl to her world, but he is developing feelings for her. Yet, he dare not keep her back.
He seeks Mike’s help return her to the human world. By the time the movie ends, all’s well with the world as the good guys and gal triumph.
Some of the funniest scenes in the movie involve Sulley’s efforts to shield the little girl from Randall Boggs and his henchmen.
Sulley is one of the most interesting characters in the movie. At first he appears to be the last thing any human child would want to know, but there is plenty of gentility and warmth beneath his intimidating exterior. Equally interesting are Mike and the baby girl, Boo. Mike doesn't always agree with Sulley, but he emerges as a caring and loyal friend. Boo, the brave toddler, joins them to create an intriguing, fun-creating trio.
Co-director Pete Doctor, who supervised the 1995 computer animated Toy Story, says one of the ideas that fascinated him was a story about monsters and things that go bump in the night.
“The intriguing thing to me about this subject matter is the idea that, as kids, we have these unnamed, unconscious fears and we create monsters as a way to make them tangible,” he says. “We began thinking: if monsters represent fears, what then are the monsters themselves afraid of? The obvious answer: children. Our own fears are afraid of us!”
This premise is now one of the most entertaining movies in a very long time.
The fast-paced movie is such a riot that, when it ends, you feel you have watched an hour-long film. The 92 minutes seem to be very short. It won’t be surprising if one sees many people return to the box-office for a repeat viewing.
Pixar animators have created many stunning visuals – take, for example, the believable Monstropolis. The fur coat created for the Goodman character has come in for a lot of admiration too. As has the superb chase along the conveyor belts!
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