Heroes of the Zeroes: Monsters, Inc.
Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.
Though 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.” relied more on spinning-plates plot than its Pixar peers, this light, tender romp retained the charm and heart of the animation juggernaut’s forte — adding extra to the ordinary.
Some months, public utility bills can be scary. Scares are the public utility in Monstropolis, a community powered by energy from the screams of scared children — collected by the creatures at Monsters Inc.
Its top employees are blue-collar (and furred, faced and horned) beast James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) and his sidekick, Mike Wazowski, a walking lime-green eyeball with Billy Crystal’s neurotic wail and an eyebrow that works overtime.
But Sulley and Mike’s spotless record is endangered after toddler Boo slips into Monstropolis — a no-no for fear of contamination. (Leave it to Pixar’s passel of writers to show the fate of socks lost to a laundry void.)
Marvel at “Monsters, Inc.’s” 1960s retro-chic, fantastical and fluttery monster design and the passive-aggressiveness of Mike’s monotone-voiced rival, Roz. But also prepare for unexpectedly walloping sadness: A factory conspiracy isn’t all that complicates Sulley and Mike’s dash to return Boo — it’s the cuddlier dimensions of their personalities she elicits. To her, Sulley is just a gigantic playmate and Mike a goof who’s funny when he falls down and goes boom (which is often).
Sulley’s big, furry eyes probably weren’t the only ones glistening during the film’s climax and resolution — one of Pixar’s most precious and conscientious of how we hope to leave great impressions on kids we love.