A small note (which if you read my Bourne Legacy review, I’m sure this will surprise you.), I’d never seen Monsters, Inc. before. I know, it’s ridiculous; the movie came out over 10 years ago. It’s been on TV numerous times. How did I manage to avoid it?
The answer is a conglomeration of things. Number one, I was at that age where my mother no longer had to take me to the movies + animated movies were for “kids” (everyone goes through the stage, it just meant we waited for the home video release, and often in my case for my band director to have a personal day.) Number two, my family was getting ready to move/moving to another state around the time of DVD/VHS (they still existed!) release, so we were trying not to add too much more to the pile [we severely weeded our VHS collection (because we had maybe two DVDs) which consisted mostly of home recorded stuff that was tossed, but we still got rid of a few things.] Number three, by the time Monsters, Inc. showed up on TV, I’d lost interest. Number four, in the following decade, I had far more important films to see first like Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, WALL-E, Up, Tangled, numerous Ghibli films, and all those pesky live action films that caught my attention. In summary, I finally watched Monsters, Inc. because Monsters University came out this summer, and I am anal enough to want to consume media in the order it was produced. Why yes, I am one of those advocates for the publication order of Narnia. A belief that was strengthened when I found out that the “fourth” book of Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles was actually written first. I might’ve enjoyed it more had I read it before the other three.
First off, best THX title card (is that what it’s called?) ever! I don’t know if the newer releases have it or if it was part of the theatrical release, but … MOOOOOOOO!
Monsters, Inc., much like Toy Story, draws its story from childhood, specifically the childhood belief that there are monsters waiting to get you when you go to sleep. I don’t really remember if I had a monster in the closet or under the bed problem. My clearest memories have more to do with bugs crawling on me instead, based on it happening once with a palmetto bug. Since I had an actual experience with that situation, it may have driven off any perception of monsters for me. On the other hand, this is still an issue and one of the reasons I don’t like camping. Or bugs.
Since the film does bring back memories of childhood, I had to wonder how I would’ve reacted to Monsters, Inc. when I was a child. Knowing me, I would’ve been crying scared at the monsters that I was supposed to be enjoying. To understand where I’m coming from, know that the scene in Aladdin where Jafar turns into a snake scared me more than Jurassic Park, which still scared me, but I was desensitized to it a lot quicker. But I was the kid that was often freaked out way to easily. It’s probably why I don’t enjoy most horror films; I don’t find much pleasure in being scared.
As for the film, you can tell it’s early Pixar. It’s not quite as broad age-wise, though still enjoyable for adults, and it only tugs at the heart strings a little. I did not feel as if my eyes should be watering, and that’s okay. This is the film before Finding Nemo, and it’s allowed to have it dialed back a bit. I was surprised by the ending though; I didn’t think that Sully and Boo would be reunited. I must have missed that detail somewhere … (not that I was completely spoiled for the film, but something led me to believe the ending was more open?)
But I liked it. It’s a film I can watch again without needing to worry about emotional scarring. As opposed to Les Miserables, where even though I’d seen the musical twice before, I was balling with about an hour to go when I saw the film. Thankfully my “date” (My mother. It’s our Christmas tradition to see a film together on Christmas day. Sometimes my father and brother join us.) was also crying at the end. But it basically meant that I was never going to watch Les Miserables again. And there are some Pixar films that make me feel this way. Mainly Toy Story 3, because while it still has a happy ending, it makes an adult feel really guilty.
Now I just have to wait for Monsters University to come out so I can watch that.