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In what (only now since they did it) seems like an obvious inversion Monsters Inc. depicts the city of Monstropolis, where monsters are the norm and the fuel that powers the city is made from the screams of children. To obtain this, the ‘scarers’, at companies like Monsters Inc. use special doors that act as portals into the human world, in order to go into kids rooms at night and extract their screams. The rub is that monsters think that children are highly toxic and are actually a lot more scared of kids than kids are of monsters. Top scarer James P. ‘Sulley’ Sullivan (John Goodman), and his best friend and partner Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) are keenly aware that kids these days just don’t scare as easily as they used to and that this could lead to a serious power shortage. One day they discover that an un-scareable two-year-old girl, Boo – whom, it turns out is not only totally safe and un-toxic, but actually quite adorable and nice – has escaped from the ‘Scarefloor’ and into Monstropolis. While attempting to get her back to her home, Mike and Sulley discover a secret plot by the generally unlikeable Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi) to kidnap kids and put them in his ‘Scream Extractor’ torture machine. Naturally, Mike, Sulley and Boo foil Randall’s plan, get Boo home safely and save the entire city.

I’m not sure how well you remember this period in Pixar’s development, but back then each film had the added bonus of usually showcasing some sort of digital imaging development, and for Monsters Inc. Pixar did all sorts of really cool stuff with fur and the way fur moved with motion and so on. Other films had breakthroughs with fire, water, shading, etc. up until these days where it seems as though they can do anything they want and make it look completely real…ish.

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Much like the way Disney totally pwned the animation game from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [1937] to Robin Hood [1973] then[1] The Little Mermaid [1989] (not counting Who Framed Roger Rabbit [1989] as it wasn’t really a Disney film even though it did directly lead to the Disney rebirth) to Pocahontas [1995], Pixar have been the boss since their first outing Toy Story [1995], and given that they tend to release about a film a year, it shouldn’t be very hard to keep up with. In other words, if there are any that you haven’t seen, you should. And if you haven’t seen Monsters Inc. and its sequel Monsters University, you should put those at the top of your Pixar-watching list.

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[1] It’s widely accepted that from the mid ’70s to the late ‘80s Disney was total suck. Ex-Disney guy Don Bluth totally shonked it in over that period with his production company, the totally uninspiredly named Don Bluth Productions. With films like The Secret of NIMH [1982], An American Tail [1986], The Land Before Time [1988], All Dogs Go to Heaven [1987], Anastasia [1997], the critically underrated Titan AE [2000] and his involvement in the laserdisc games Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace.