For Reel

Monsters, Inc. (2001)
April 10, 2016, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

Director(s): Pete Docter, David Silverman & Lee Unkrich
4 Stars
Monsters, Inc.If Pixar’s output in the last decade has rapidly sent Monsters, Inc. down the list of the studio’s best films, it might be their effort most worthy of rediscovery, seeming all the more prescient in a world that’s seen an incredible recession since its release. Monstropolis faces an energy crisis­—”kids these days” aren’t scaring as easily, and as a result their world is on the brink of catastrophic blackouts and power failures. The way that cultural leaders fight this problem is not to recognize an alternative (that laughs are actually a more viable source of power), but to invest in fear-mongering and, in an extreme example, finding methods of extracting screams in a way that is more mechanical and efficient, but ultimately inhumane. What makes the picture really special is not just the way that it explores these serious global concerns in a world of colorful monsters, but how it discusses what it means to be a child. That Monstropolis is viewed as a world of production—the other side of the closet is a workplace, where a conveyor belt of endless doors resembles a grand factory—suggests that a child’s ultimate fear is that of the adult world, the greatest unknown of all. Monsters, Inc. imagines a world where kids don’t scare as easily (that is, their relationship with Monstropolis less distant), arguing that a child’s relationship to this world of mass production is becoming inseparable.

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