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Have You Really Seen Monsters, Inc.?

Updated on October 1, 2015

Have you really seen Monsters, Inc.? Silly question, you might think. However, there's more to the movie than meets the eye. I know, it's a Pixar Disney animated film aimed at children. The key is "aimed" at children. Though that is the case much of the humor is written for adults. As in other children's animated movies so many of the jokes and comments are way over a child's head and truly meant for adults. The Boston Herald raved that MONSTERS, INC. is "visually dazzling, action-packed and hilarious." I don't think they meant hilarious for kids.

First, the premise of Monsters,Inc. I don't think children today believe in or are afraid of monsters under their bed or monsters in their closet but there was a time when children were and that is the premise that started Monsters, Inc. Monsters, Inc. revolves around monsters in the closet. These monsters are in the closet - though really they're on their own planet and working through their door into the child's closet, trying to generate screams from children to use as power on their own 'planet' Monstropolis. All of the doors are distributed to the monsters on the 'scare floor'. There is currently a power shortage on Monstropolis and they need more screams. They all work at Monsters Incorporated and Mr. Waternoose is their boss. He is driven and will go to any lengths to preserve the company and keep a good record at the company. At one point he says about the shortage: "Kids these days. They just don't get scared like the used to." Monsters are trained at MI to do their job before they are sent through a door. They are given a different door each time that leads to a child's bedroom and it is their job to scare the child to generate enough screams to fill at least one canister. Not exactly something a child would be interested in and not a particularly interesting set up as read here. Their fear of touching a child is really exacerbated when a little girl named Boo comes through her door to Monstropolis. However, this is so bare bones.

The characters themselves are what make the movie. First there is James P. Sullivan, played by John Goodman and known as Sulley. A big blue monster with big teeth, a quick smile and a heart of gold, but also the scare champion of MI. His best friend and co-worker is Mike Wazowski, a little green cyclops with short hair. Mike is not only Sulley's best friend but a lot of the comic relief of the movie as played by Billy Crystal. As they arrive at work Mike asks Sulley if he has any "odorant" Mike can borrow.

Sulley: Yeah, I got, uh, Smelly Garbage or Old Dumpster.
Mike: You got, uh, Low Tide?
Sulley: No.
Mike: How about Wet Dog?
Sulley: Yep. Stink it up.

Mike has a 'thing' for a monster named Celia who has snakes for hair and is played by Jennifer Tilly. Her nickname for Mike is Googlie Bear. On her birthday Mike is taking her to the best restaurant in town thanks to Sulley getting them reservations.

Rozz is the secretary/administrative assistant at MI. Though she isn't in a lot of scenes the ones she is in are noteworthy. She gives Mike a hard time for not handing in his paperwork another issue kids wouldn't really understand.

No one is allowed contact with the children. Mr. Waternoose played by James Coburn has trained everyone to believe any contact with a child would contaminate them and their world.

The scare floor at Monsters, Inc.

Boo in her monster disguise
Boo in her monster disguise | Source

Once Boo enters the movie things center around her, the human child that has infiltrated Monstropolis. Sulley of course finds Boo and tries to keep her secret. As he tries to hide Boo he starts to realize she won't hurt the monsters and starts to form an attachment to her. She calls Sulley "Kitty." As Sulley tries to return Boo to her door another monster, Randall played by Steve Buscemi, finds out that Sulley has Boo and tries to get her back. Randall is responsible for Boo being in Monstropolis as par of an evil plot to extract every scream from a child. Little Boo (a two year old girl) isn't the least bit afraid of any monsters, except Randall. Sulley soon finds out that Randall was her monster. What follows Boos arrivals are major public problems, Sulley and Mike trying to hide Boo, and Sulley beginning to realize a human child is really harmless. He tries to talk to Mr. Waternoose about it only to find out Mr. Waternoose is in cahoots with Randall. Waternoose pushes Sulley and Mike through a door that lands them in the Himilayas with the Abominable Snowman. They continue to attempt to return to Monstropolis. Sulley's goal is to save Boo at any cost. Mike becomes totally disenchanted with Sulley's devotion to Boo. They go through several escapades trying to return to Monstropolis and when they do they manage to set up a ploy that exposes Waternoose. After they expose Waternoose the CDA (Child Detection Agency) shows up and tells them Number One wants a word. Number One turns out to be Roz, the secretary/Administrative Assistant who asked Mike for his paperwork in two earlier scenes. She allows Sulley to return Boo to her world then destroys Boo's door so she can never return. Her door is shredded but Mike manages to save one piece.

During the movie Sulley had realized the children's laughter generates more electricity than their screams. After Waternoose is exposed Sulley winds up running MI as the monsters extract laughs. Mike approaches Sulley one day saying he has a surprise and blindfolds Sulley. He leads him to Boo's door and explains it will only work if it is all together. Sulley had taped the piece of Boo's door together with a drawing Boo did, to the back of his clipboard. He places the remaining piece in the door, opens it, says "Boo" and you hear her say Kitty.

Boo showing Sulley a drawing of Randall, her monster
Boo showing Sulley a drawing of Randall, her monster | Source

Okay, so you've read through this whole thing and seen a quote or two but aren't convinced an adult would appreciate the film. Well, first of all the animation is incredible. Sulley has 2, 320,413 hairs on his body - specially generated to give it the real look you see in the movie. No detail has been overlooked to make this animation look real. The opening scene shows toys on a shelf that look so real you almost think you can touch them.

Then, there's Boo. Any adult woman would immediately fall in love with Boo and most men would think she's cute if they really admit it. Boo likes the name Mike Wazowski and walks around saying it to the point when she catches up with a school group of monster children and teacher asks her name she says "Mike Wazowski."

Mike tells Sculley at one point that Sculley's been jealous of his looks since fourth grade. In another scene Mike tells Sculley he's going to let Sculley teach Randall a lesson!

When Sulley discovers Boo he brings her to the restaurant where Mike and Celia are dining to get Mike's help. Boo gets loose and runs around the restaurant wreaking havoc before Sulley and Mike can get her out. She just laughs at the monster, they make the mess. The next day the news report goes as follows:

TV Anchorman: If witnesses are to be believed, there has been a child security breach for the first time in monster history.
CDA Agent: We can neither confirm nor deny the presence of a human child here tonight.
Witness #1: Well the kid flew right over me and blasted a car with its laser vision.
Witness #2: I tried to get away from it, but he picked me up with his mind powers and shook me like a doll.
Witness #3: [has many eyes] It's true! I saw the whole thing!
Professor on TV: It is my professional opinion that now it's the time to *panic*!

Of course a child wouldn't notice but an adult would. This is a perfect example of mob hysteria. No one picked the monster up so it follows no one saw it with his own eyes.

When Sculley tells Mike he needs to walk to work because he needs the exercise, Mike replies that Scully has his own climate, how would he know about Mike needing exercise?

When Sculley is trying to get Boo to sleep in his bed, she points to the closet because she's afraid Randall may come out. Sculley stands in the closet and tells her there's no monster there, then says that well there is a monster (meaning himself) but no one will hurt you.

[Randall is threatening Mike while holding him prisoner and mispronounces cretin]

Mike: First of all, it's cretin. If you're going to threaten me do it properly!

The point is you really have to watch this movie and pay attention. The quotes and innuendos make it fun to watch!


Have you seen Monsters University? If you've seen Monsters Inc. don't miss Monsters University. We saw it in the theater and my four year old grandson was mesmerized. This prequel has Sculley and Mike attending college. Again, their antics are relate-able to children and adults alike.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Loveofnight I certainly share your thoughts and guess what? Their idea to keep us interested is working ;)

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 3 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      You are so right in that the jokes in the movie are not only over a child's head but written for adults. It's almost as if they wanted to keep us interested as our grand-kids watched. Thanks for the info.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Patty, great choices! Up was so charming! Haven't seen Free Birds yet. Glad you find these cartoons as intriguing as I do.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from North America

      Reviewing both films, I found them both quite good and went on to see them more than once -- I had to see them without taking notes! They are great for mental escape, but also give us some things to consider as we watch - monsters and children becoming friends ala Sesame Street, and who are the real monsters in society, and a few more I think.

      Besides "Monsters" et. al., I've loved Puss In Boots, UP, Coraline, Free Birds 3D, Hotel Transyvania, and the Madagascar films, along with the Madagascar Penguins TV cartoons - some things just strike you funny and charming as well as intriguing!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Molometer, you picked my absolute favorite part of the movie! I was mesmerized by the hair on Sully...each individual strand, it was amazing. The only other movie that caught my attention like that was Polar Express!

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      One of the technical challenges for this movie, was to get the movement of the hairs on Sully (the blue one). A Japanese chap cracked the problem and the movie came along a few years later.

      I agree with your assessment. The movie is primarily for adults and is also happens to be visually attractive to children.

      I like most of these movies but they are becoming a little formulaic.

      Technically brilliant but lacking something?

      Good and thorough review tillsontitan.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks unknown is one of my favorites.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      I've seen Monsters Inc. loved this movie review/.

    • light20 profile image

      Lanao G 4 years ago from Ozamiz City, Philippines

      yeah sure...


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You are most welcome light...glad you enjoyed my hub and hope you enjoy Monsters U.

    • light20 profile image

      Lanao G 4 years ago from Ozamiz City, Philippines

      Watched monsters inc. long time ago...back when i was just a kid...Yeah...certainly, it is one of my favorites as a kid...i hate to admit it....but even until now....hahaha...

      Have not seen monsters university...will definitely watch it sooner...

      by the way...nice hub!!! thank you for sharing...

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You're welcome Michelle, definitely worth watching!

      I was so amazed at the animation Carl8033. More films are doing it now but this one blew me away originally.

      IslandBites, thanks for stopping by and reading.

      Lesliebyars, if you love it you've got to see Monsters University. I would say Monsters Inc. was a tad better but Monsters U is good too.

    • profile image

      lesliebyars 4 years ago

      Great movie review and I love this film series.

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I love the movie.

    • Carl8033 profile image

      Alexander Okelo 4 years ago

      Wonderful review, I would agree that Pixar are really talented in this art of animations :). Thank you for sharing.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Give me a comical monster, any day! Thanks for sharing, Mary!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      If all goes well here, we're planning on seeing Monsters U on Sunday! Thanks for reading and I know what you mean about the bond...I LOVE going with my grandchildren...Sunday it will be my four year old grandson.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Great Review- I absolutely adore Monsters Inc. It will have a special place for me as it was the first movie My eldest son watched with me at the cinemas. The plot, the visuals and the humour all are A star. Can't wait for Monsters University- hope the Mike and sully magic is still there.... thanks Mary!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Cogerson you're the best. Who else would come back and read Monsters Inc.? I'm going to see Monsters University this coming weekend with my four year old grandson...having grandchildren is great!

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

      Wow 21 months since I read this hub the first time....where does the time go? With Monsters University opening this weekend this hub should get some increased traffic....voted up and across the board again.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Wow Peg, thanks for coming back. I can't tell you how many times we've watched it. Now I'm looking forward to the new one the end of this month. Might see it in the movies with my four year old grandson.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Funny how this one pulled me in again. I had forgotten that I already read this one so it was enjoyable for a second go round. We watch that movie whenever we need a bit of tawdry escapism. You're right, though about the humor being more directed at the adult level. If it weren't for the leading actors whose voices really made the movie, I'm not certain it would be as appealing.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      So true Millionaire. If we pay attention we really get to enjoy some 'hidden' moments.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed the movie Monsters, Inc. All of these animated films try to make it funny for adults as well as for kids.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I'm with you Peg, I laugh and cry every time I watch this movie. Glad you liked my hub.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is among my favorite animated movies. Since we're both adults (most of the time) and watch this one together I never considered the adult geared humor. But I laugh and cry all the same. Boo is adorable and her name for Sulley, "Kitty", cracks me up everytime. Sort of like calling a linebacker "Tiny". You did a great job of detailing the story.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Shane. I agree Pixar is amazing and has really set the standard.

    • profile image

      shane33y 6 years ago

      Awesome and well written Hub. Monsters, Inc. is a wonderful story and I think it's right there with Toy Story as far as the characters being so full of life. I cannot wait for Monsters University to come out. Pixar is great at what they do.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Cogerson. I wonder what they will come up with next. Toy Story was great but I think Monsters, Inc. tops it.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Very nicely done, Pixar is excellent at providing entertainment for kids and adults. Monsters, Inc does an excellent job of accomplishing the fine balance between keeping both parties happy. I agree with you that the visuals are stunning(I just recently upgraded to the Blu-Ray)and that there are lots of adult themes to pay attention. If you look at what the movie is really about....a company is trying to find resources that they can turn into a product that they can sell to their customers....and after years of success they are finding it harder to find the resource....and at the end of the alternative resource is found and says the day....sounds like our current oil crisis. Great hub that I really enjoyed reading.