Monsters Inc.: Pixar’s “Nightmare” Animated Film Turns 20 [critique]

In 2002, Pete Docter achieved “monstrous success” thanks to his work “both original and universal”.

Beware of cupboard doors, you never know what monster is hiding there. In Monstropolis, Sulli is an elite terror. Each week, he is at the top of the chart for his performance. His mission: to collect as many children’s cries as possible to supply the city with energy. He is assisted in his task by Bob Razowski, a little one-eyed monster. One day, it’s an accident: a little girl manages to infiltrate their world. Panic among monsters: Touching a child can be fatal. A race against time begins to send the little one back to humans.

Released following Toy Story 2 in 2001 in the United States, and on March 20, 2002 in France, Monsters and Co. just 20 years old. To wish a “happy Birthday” to Sulli, Bob, Bouh, Célia, Germaine, to the Adorable Snowman and to all the monsters that inhabit this rich universe, we republish below the review published by Christian Jauberty in First at the time, as well as some anecdotes about its manufacture.

Monsters at Work: Monsters and Cie metro version, work, sleep (review)

monsters and co. is one of the best examples of animated films “high concepts” which Pixar has the secret. The studio also coveted this long-time project: it was born from the work meetings of John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft during the production of the first Toy Storysince 1994. “Buddymovie” playing on the reversal of the fear of “monster in the closet”, Monsters Inc. is one of the most emblematic Pixar of the spirit of the studio, as explained First in his top of the best Pixar : “High concept film (what’s going on behind the closet door?), social satire (even with monsters, you can’t escape the Weberian work ethic), heartbreaking melody (the friendship between a little girl and her fears)…Monsters and Company is a bit of all that, but it is first and foremost a supreme comedy (Bob Razowski or the funniest character in the Pixar galaxy) and a film of a tightrope walker. of a door that opens, one wants to laugh, like with Lubitsch, and wants to cry, like with Chaplin.”

Nominated for the Oscar for best animated film (he was beaten by the first Shrek), Monsters and Co. allowed us to discover Pete Docter’s touch, then at the helm of up there (2009), by Vice versa (2015) and Drunk (2020). The filmmaker having recently become the boss of the creative branch of Pixar, he has however more project as director.

monsters and co.
Pixar

The review of Monsters and Co. in First :

Nightmare. If you’re in a bit of a rush, it should suffice to know that Monsters & Co. is the new film from the team that was responsible for both Toy Story and of 1001 Legs. This time, John Lasseter left the direction to Pete Docter, settling for an executive producer credit. But we find the same search for excellence in what advanced techniques in computer animation allow today, the same care given to the development of endearing and funny characters, and the same concern to put everything at the service of a good story, both original and universal. Or almost.

Because it is in the nature of the critic to split hairs and because all films are not created equal, this one must be measured against those which preceded it by revolutionizing the world in passing. animation. On a technical level, the progress made is spectacular, whether it’s the snowball effects in Sulli’s fur, the rendering of the human character or the scene of the sorting of the doors which recalls that of the sorting of the luggage in Toy Story 2. If we have to express reservations, it is rather on the side of the story, which runs out of steam a little in the middle before starting again with renewed vigor for the final pursuit; less successful secondary characters than in previous films; or nods to the adult audience, less sharp. Apart from these reservations, Monsters & Co. unleashes more creativity and offers more viewer enjoyment than 95% of the movies you’ll be able to see this year and should rightfully be a… monster hit.

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