- This article is about Monsters, Inc., the first installment of the Monsters, Inc. series. For other uses, see Monsters, Inc. (disambiguation)
November 2, 2001
- "We Scare Because We Care"
Monsters, Inc. is the first film of the Monsters, Inc. series, released in 2001. The film was re-released in 3D on December 19, 2012. A prequel to the film, Monsters University, was released on June 21, 2013.
Monstropolis, a city inhabited by monsters in the monster world is powered by energy from the screams of human children. At the Monsters, Inc. factory, skilled monsters employed as "scarers" venture into the human world to scare children and harvest their screams, through doors that activate portals to children's bedroom closets. It is considered dangerous work, as human children are believed to be toxic. Energy production is falling because children are becoming less easily scared, and the company's crab or spider-like Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Henry J. Waternoose III, is determined to find a solution to the problem.
One evening after work, the organization's top employee, James P. Sullivan, aka "Sulley", a blue-furred giant, discovers that a strange door was activated on the scare floor and a small girl has entered the factory. After several failed attempts by Sulley to put her back, The door is sent back into the factory's door vault and Sulley conceals her and takes her out of the factory. He inadvertently decides to warn his green, one-eyed best friend and assistant, Mike Wazowski, and interrupts his date with his girlfriend, the Medusa-like Celia Mae, at a sushi restaurant, and chaos erupts when the child is discovered. Sulley and Mike manage to escape with the child before the Child Detection Agency quarantines the restaurant. They soon discover that she is not toxic after all; Sulley grows attached to her and calls her Boo (for her habit of saying "Boo!" all the time), while Mike is just anxious to be rid of her.
The duo smuggle her back into the factory disguised as a baby monster and attempt to send her home and suspect that their rival, the chameleon-like Randall Boggs, was the one who brought the door in the scare floor. Meanwhile, Randall discovers Boo and tries to kidnap her, but accidentally kidnaps Mike instead of Boo. He straps Mike to a large machine called "The Scream Extractor", which he intends to use to revolutionize the scaring industry and solve the monster world's energy problems by forcefully extracting screams from kidnapped human children. Before Randall can use the machine on Mike, Sulley intervenes and reports Randall to Waternoose. But Waternoose, who is secretly in league with Randall, exiles Sulley and Mike to the Himalayas instead. The two meet the Abominable Snowman, who tells them about a nearby village, which Sulley realizes he can use to return to the factory. Sulley prepares to return, but Mike refuses to go with him. Meanwhile, Randall is preparing to use the Scream Extractor on Boo, but Sulley suddenly arrives and saves her, destroying the machine in the process. Randall and Sulley battle, and after Mike returns and helps Sulley overpower Randall, the two reconcile, take Boo, and flee.
Randall pursues them to the door vault, and a wild chase ensues among the millions of doors as they move in and out of the storage vault on rails to the factory floor. Boo's laughter causes all the doors to activate at once, allowing the monsters to freely pass in and out of the human world. Randall attempts to kill Sulley, but Boo overcomes her fear of Randall and attacks him, enabling Sulley to catch him. Sulley and Mike then trap Randall in the human world, where two residents at a trailer park mistake him for an alligator and beat him with a shovel.
Sulley and Mike take Boo and her door to the training room, and trick Waternoose into revealing his plot with Randall, with help from the CDA and Roz, the scare floor secretary, who is revealed to be the CDA's leader. Mike secretly records the entire conversation for the CDA to review and Waternoose is arrested. Roz thanks Sulley and Mike for their help, orders them to return Boo home, and has Boo's door demolished to prevent any monsters from making further contact with her.
With the factory temporarily shut down, Sulley is named the new CEO of Monsters, Inc. Under his leadership, the energy crisis is solved by harvesting children's laughter instead of screams, as laughter has been found to be ten times more potent. Mike takes Sulley aside, revealing he has rebuilt Boo's door. It needs one final piece, which Sulley took as a memento, in order to work. Sulley puts the door chip into place, enters and joyfully reunites with Boo.
Cast and Characters
- John Goodman as James P. Sullivan
- Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski
- Mary Gibbs as Boo
- Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs
- James Coburn as Henry J. Waternoose III
- Jennifer Tilly as Celia Mae
- Bob Peterson as Roz
- John Ratzenberger as Abominable Snowman
- Frank Oz as Fungus
- Daniel Gerson as Needleman and Smitty
- Steve Susskind as Jerry
- Bonnie Hunt as Ms. Flint
- Jeff Pidgeon as Thaddeus Bile
- Sam Black as George Sanderson
- Phil Proctor as Charlie
- Guido Quaroni as Tony
Other characters in the film include:
The idea for Monsters, Inc. started with a lunch in 1994. At this lunch was John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft. One of the ideas that came out of the brainstorming session was a movie about monsters. Docter started working on the script in 1996 and with Harley Jessup, Jill Culton and Jeff Pidgeon completed a draft treatment in February, 1997. The initial story did not have the character of Mike Wazowski. He wasn't added until a story review meeting between Pixar and Disney in April of 1998. The movie went into production in 2000.
The film stands at 96% on the Rotten Tomatoes review site, with critics saying it's not as sophisticated as the Toy Story series but a fun film for children of all ages.
- Monsters, Inc.
- Scare Floor F
- Roz's Office
- Men's Locker Room
- Stimulation Room
- Trash Compactor Room
- Boiler Room
- Door Vault
- Mail Room
- Mike and Sulley's Apartment
- Hidden City Café
- Tony's Grossery
- Fine Art Gallery
- Boo's Room
- Paris, France
The film's soundtrack was released around the same time as the film's theatrical release, and included twenty-five songs and scores, including "If I Didn't Have You", performed by Billy Crystal and John Goodman. The score was written by Randy Newman, who wrote the score to many other Pixar films, including the Toy Story trilogy, A Bug's Life, Monsters University, and Cars 3.
- There are several references to other Pixar works; the Pizza Planet is parked next to the trailer from A Bug's Life where Randall ends up at the end of the door chase scene, the toy plane from Toy Story appears on the stimulation room's shelf, Ms. Nesbitt's name is a reference to Toy Story, Roly Poly Clown appears at the end, Randall turns the same color as Andy's bedroom walls from Toy Story at one point, Marlin appears on a wall in Harryhausen's behind the chef, Rex appears during the outtakes of the film, and Boo has a Nemo toy and a Pixar ball in her room. Nemo also appears on the door of the Trailer Folk's trailer.
- There are many "firsts" for Pixar that Monsters, Inc. includes: it is the first film to feature animated fur, the first film to feature skirts on female characters (due to previous hardware limitations), and the first film to mute the Disney and Pixar openings. It is also the only Pixar film to not feature any permanent character deaths, not feature the A113 gag, and the only VHS release without a slip cover.
- This is the only Pixar film to shorten the opening logos.
- The letters "FIZT" on the door machine come from an application developed to control the movement of Sulley's fur based on his actions and other factors such as wind.
- This is the first Pixar film not to be directed by John Lasseter.
- In one of the children's bedrooms at the end of the film, posters for Disneyland's Sailing Ship Columbia and Tomorrowland are seen.
- Randall, voiced by Steve Buscemi, at one point says to Fungus, "If I don't see a new door in my station in five seconds, I will personally put you THROUGH THE SHREDDER!" Buscemi starred in Fargo, a movie in which his character gets put through a wood chipper/shredder by his murderous accomplice.
- All of the Scarers' last names except for Sulley, Randall, George Sanderson and Ricky Plesuski are also those of actual Pixar staff members.
- This is the last Pixar film to have outtakes at the end of the credits.
- The Hidden City Café is seen in the opening scene, which, according to a teaser trailer for WALL-E, is where they thought up the idea for Monsters, Inc.
- This was the only Pixar film that had a blue VHS tape instead of black.
- The scene where Sulley thinks that Boo has been crushed to death in a trash compactor references the Looney Tunes short Feed the Kitty, right down to Sulley even mimicking Marc Anthony the bulldog's reactions to "Boo"/"Pussyfoot" being "shredded alive" by the compactor/"cooked alive" in an oven and subsequently lamenting her "death" after retrieving a garbage cube containing one of Boo's costume's "eyes"/cookie shaped like a cat.
- This is the only Pixar film whose original VHS and DVD releases lacked a paperboard slipcover.
- The Blu-ray re-release version of the film's closing credits lacked the outtakes as in the original theatrical and home releases as such has been relegated to a bonus feature, instead it features stylized monster body parts (like in the opening credits) and closet doors surrounding the credits.
- To date, this is the only Pixar film directed by Pete Docter to be rated G by the MPAA since Up, Inside Out and Soul were all rated PG.
- All of the digital displays (such as the clock radio, the "Days since the last accident" counter, etc), are all made up of Nixie tubes. Nixie tubes were digital displays made up of digits formed from light bulbs with wiring shaped like letters or numbers, much like neon signs.
- 90% of all the monsters in the film have Mike's tongue.
- In the Door Vault, all of the bedroom doors were created from combinations of 26 paint colors, 12 styles, 8 wood colors, 10 decals, 6 door knobs and 3 hardware types, which can create a total of 449,280 possible combinations.
- This is the first (and to date only) time that Randy Newman has worked with Pete Docter as a director for a Pixar film, with Up and Inside Out being scored by Michael Giacchino, as well as Soul being scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
- In the film, Sulley has 2,320,413 strands of hair, 25,336 of which are "key" hairs used to guide the motion and shape of the other 2,295,077 strands. For the goodbye scene near the end, a Pixar technical director had to hand animate the hairs on Sulley's fingers in order to make them react to Boo's touch.
- This is the first Pixar film to be directed by Pete Doctor followed by Up, Inside Out and Soul.
- In the international version of the video/DVD, several instances of written English text have been replaced with universal symbols. However, on several occasions, they switch back to the original appearance. For instance: The "Standby/Scare" sign in the factory, the "Contamination alert" on the video wall during the first 2319 and the joke on the video wall in the final scene.
- When Boo laughs repeatedly while playing hide-and-seek with Sulley in the men's room, nothing happens to the electricity -- no surges as with all other times she laughs (in the audio commentary by the directors, they explained that it would've been distracting if an energy surge occurred every time Boo laughed, so they simply didn't address the issue. A reasonable course of action, but still a mistake).
- After the Scare Floor shuts down at 6:00 and Sulley goes back to the Scare Floor to do Mike's paperwork, the clock reads 5:48. After he returns again to put Boo back, it clearly shows 5:48. Finally, after Randall leaves and Sulley leaves the Scare Floor for the restaurant, the clock reads 6:48.
- In the opening scene, on the floor, there is a toy train on circular tracks when the monster sneaks in. When the monster (Bile) trips backwards over the ball and skateboard then falls onto the jacks, the train and tracks are gone.
- When Mike is bringing Sulley to the fixed door, he has no slivers or Band-Aids on his hands. Then, when he says, "It was a lot of wood to go through," you see that he does.
- During the opening scene, where Bile is looking under the bed, you can see the soccer ball just beside the bed and in front of the dresser. As Bile moves backward, he suddenly trips over that same soccer ball that suddenly moved from the side of the bed, to the back.
- At the beginning, when the mailman drops the newspaper on Mike and Sulley's door, Mike opens the door and the newspaper vanishes from sight before it would have gone behind the door.
- During the door chase sequence, there are a couple frames where neither Mike and Sulley or Randall has Boo.
- On the Scarer's Leaderboard, Randall is listed by his first name, unlike every one of the other scarers featured on the leaderboard.
- Mike: Can I borrow your odorant?
- 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: Okay, first of all, it's "creetin". If you're gonna threaten me, do it properly. Second of all, you're nuts if you think kidnapping ME is gonna help YOU cheat your way to the top.
- Randall: [chuckles evilly] You still think this is about that stupid scare record?
- Mike: Well... I did. Right up until you... chuckled... like that... And now I'm thinking I should just get out of here.
- Sulley: Hey, Ted! Good morning!
- [Ted clucks; light changes and they cross]
- Sulley: See that, Mikey? Ted's walking to work.
- Mike: Big deal. Guy takes five steps and he's there.
Awards and nominations
- Monsters, Inc. won the Academy Award for Best Song (Randy Newman for "If I Didn't Have You"). The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature, Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing and Best Music, Original Score.
- Monsters, Inc. and Shrek are the first pair of CG animated movies to win Academy Awards in the same year (Monsters, Inc. for Best Song of 2001, and Shrek for Best Animated Feature of 2001).
- For this subject's image gallery, see Monsters, Inc. (film)/Gallery.
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