Even with a pastel universe of computer tricks at their disposal, the story is what really pushes a Pixar movie over the top -- what made the Toy Story movies so grand, and what left A Bug's Life short of greatness. Monsters, Inc. may burst at the seams with visual stimulants, but it's the delightful premise, fleshed out through a superior script, that helped scare up one of the largest opening weekends ever, paving the way for a monster-sized hit. That creatures of all shapes and textures live harmoniously in a candy-colored neighboring dimension called Monstropolis, scaring children for a living to harness the vital energy in their screams, is the jumping off point for an odyssey of jokes, thrills, and sentiment. Of course the monsters look great -- mostly cuddly types, in keeping things appropriately Disney -- but it's the factory where they work that really tests the animators' boundaries. Reminiscent of the alien-run Men In Black headquarters, the airy building full of blinking contraptions really comes to life in the jaw-dropping finale, which features a chase conducted on an assembly line of whizzing closet doors. Even while dragging just a tad in the second act, Monsters, Inc. never stops delving deeper into the giddy logic of its world. The vocal talent is all good, but the infant chosen to voice Boo (Mary Gibbs), the toddler who crosses over, trumps them all, emitting such tickling gurgles that she's even cuter than the monsters. Monsters, Inc. boasts an unexpected fringe benefit to parents: Once their children come to consider those shapes lurking in the shadows as fuzzy and lovable, a lot more of them may sleep through the night.
by Derek Armstrong review