Some grownups will enjoy Disney-Pixars latest venture, Monsters, Inc., since the film is pretty entertaining on a few levels.
But there is a certain warmth thats missing. It lacks the charm and heart that made Pixars Toy Story films so special. But, the important news for parents is that yes, this is definitely watch-able. You wont pull out your hair like you did during Pokemon.
The concept is weaker than usual for an Apple Computers-owned, Pixar film. The premise could drive a short, but stretched out to feature length, the weak story becomes noticeable.
In the city of Monstropolis (a town completely made up of bright-colored, not-very-threatening monsters), James Sullivan (a purple bigfoot voiced by John Goodman) and his partner Mike Wazowski (a wise-cracking Granny Smith apple voiced by Billy Crystal) work to power the city with childrens screams. No kidding, honest. Every day they show up at a factory which matches a scarer (one who scares children) up with a door to a childs bedroom. The monster pops through the door, terrifies the kid, the screams are collected and, I guess, refined into electricity.
Even though theyre essential in the monster world, human children are dangerous. If a monster comes in contact with anything that could have child germs, an elite detox team, The Child Detection Agency, swoops in, shaves and disinfects the unfortunate monster in under a minutes time.
So its no surprise that when a human child wanders into monster town, all hell breaks loose. Not only is the C.D.A. on the lookout but devilish lizard Randall (voiced by Steve Buscemi) has a slimy interest. The kid is, of course, hiding out with Goodman and Crystal, who now have to figure out how to get her home without being arrested, or worse, banished (like the Abominable Snowman and The Loch Ness Monster before them).
In a kids film you can get away with just about anything. But a more important problem is with the characters, which are either underdeveloped or underutilized.
Billy Crystal is wonderful, stealing the scenes that hes in, but hes just a sidekick. Goodman is also first-rate, but is given little opportunity since he is confined to playing the straight man. When hes paired with Billy Crystal the film can be excellent, but as the story progresses, Crystal takes a back seat to the kid (who cant speak and relies on cutesy physical gags) and the film loses much of its humor.
Despite the huge box office numbers the film is sure to generate, I dont think kids will fall in love with this one like they did with Toy Story 1 and 2. The film just needs some monster soul.
Reach Qguide reviewer Glenn ferrara by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.
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