One of my favorite things that I own is a “Boo” doll. It was given to me many years ago by my son, Aaron, soon after the movie MONSTERS, INC. premiered in 2001. I had fallen head over heels in love with this film. It touched my heart, soul, and tickle bone all at the same time. The sound of Boo’s laughter and singing always put a smile on my face. I made sure Boo was placed right next to my bed on my nightstand. I would play her recorded adorable sayings every single night before I went to sleep and then again first thing every morning. She is still right beside my bed to this day, 22 years later. Boo has helped me get through the loss of my parents, my daughter, and my sight. Her gales of giggles blanket me with positive energy. She gave me strength and even a bit of courage daily to lead with love. Listening to Boo’s gleeful joy of life and all its wonderment gave me the impetus to not be afraid of dark, scary times. She was the light that drew me back from my darkness. I am grateful beyond words for Boo, and she will always be next to me for all my days. Then I hope she will remain with Aaron until the end of time.
MONSTERS, INC. was created by Disney and Pixar studios. It grossed over $550,000,000 worldwide. It was nominated for many awards, and it did win an Oscar for Best Original Song, IF I DIDN’T HAVE YOU written by Randy Newman. Billy Crystal was the number one choice as the one-eyed monster, Michael (Mike) Wazowski, after he didn’t get the leading role in TOY STORY. John Goodman played Sulley (James P. Sullivan), his best friend, who is a huge blue, hairy monster. It took animators 10 to 12 hours to create each animated frame of Sulley to make sure every one of the over 2 million hairs on his body was perfectly drawn.
The story of MONSTERS, INC. is beyond creative. It takes place in the imaginary city of Metropolis where only monsters of all sizes, shapes, and colors dwell. Powering the city was accomplished by collecting the screams of frightened children around the globe after the elite monster “scarers” snuck inside their door frames. This worked well until one small child named Boo got through to the monster’s world. Then all hell broke loose trying to get Boo back where she belonged. Mary Gibb played Boo, the sweetest, cutest three-year-old there ever was. It was impossible to get little Mary to say her correct lines on cue, so the director and a sound man just followed Mary around, recording whatever she said when she said it. Later, the editors pieced it all together. Genius. It worked perfectly.
Mike and Sulley are heroes for Boo. They are determined to get her home safely. This is no easy feat since there are several “villains” along the way who tried to thwart their endeavors. Steve Buscemi is amazing as a slithering, sometimes invisible, monster. Also featured are James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberg, Frank Oz, and Bonnie Hunt. Bob is an animator at Pixar who happened to say the lines for the character, Roz, during a read-through one day. Everyone loved his interpretation, and his voice made it to the final cutting. There
There were so many magical moments of jokes, sarcasm, and outright guffaws throughout this film. The warm-up exercises, (scary feet) crosswalk signs, (stalk or don’t stalk) “googly” bear, scarers walking into the factory like the astronauts in THE RIGHT STUFF,” wet dog deodorant, singing while peeing, “I fell in love with you when I laid my eye on you,” yellow snow cones, and Boo dressed as a little monster. Billy and John recorded their scenes together in one booth, which is not usually done during voice-over work. It paid off with hilarious, impromptu moments.
The characters of Mike and Sulley were so in-sync. Each beat, pause, intonation, or expression was chosen for maximum effect throughout the film. They fed off each other, building moments with outrageous, hilarious results. Billy and John are consummate actors who know comedy inside and out. The pacing is fast and fun. The entire movie is less than 90 minutes. And to top it all off, Pixar included a bloopers reel at the end. A first and a hoot.
MONSTERS, INC. is a witty, colorful, timeless film that gets better with age. Audiences know they are in for a treat upon hearing the jazzy opening number. Then the madcap, gag-filled story continues the roller coaster ride that ends with a funny recap about true friendship. Family-friendly, with brilliant casting and with inventive, highly entertaining characters, MONSTERS, INC. is an animated, highly polished gem of a classic tale. I always have my Kleenex and Boo doll in hand when she joyfully calls out “kitty.” Ahhh…the “puzzle door frame” is at last complete. Bravo.
MONSTERS, INC. is available to stream on Disney+.