Addition of 3D doesn’t improve ‘Monsters Inc.’

By Christopher K. Conner

“Monsters Inc.” is the latest animated feature to get a 3D re-release. Originally very successful in its 2001 incarnation, this time around its success will be dependent on how many parents are willing to pay the extra three dollars a ticket on behalf of their kids. The majority of those kids have already seen the film, even if only on the small screen.

Monstropolis is a thriving monster city on the verge of a disaster. Their main source of fuel is refined from the collected screams of children. Monsters most skilled at inspiring screams work as “scarers” at the Monsters Inc. power plant, but even the best are having a hard time keeping up with the growing power demands of the populace.

While children scream at the sight of the various monsters that can appear to them from their closets, some start to lose their fear. What;s worse for the monsters is they believe the touch of a child is fatal to them. For that reason, any child that fails to scream at the sight of their assigned monster has their door permanently taken out of service. As the number of doors dwindles, the monsters are facing a power crisis.

One of, if not the single best scarer is James P. Sullivan, or “Sully” to his friends (voiced by John Goodman). Sully is teamed up with his best friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) on one of Monsters Inc.‘s many scare floors. As one of the best teams, Sully is hoping to break the monthly productivity record.

Mike operates the machinery that brings doors to Sully. Those doors somehow lead to children’s closets around the world. As children fall asleep, the doors open and Sully does his job, eliciting the screams that are collected by Mike and sent off for processing.

What Mike doesn’t do well is keep up his paperwork, leading Sully to volunteer to cover for him so Mike can take his belle out for her birthday. When Sully gets back to the scare floor, he finds an unattended door. He checks to make sure no monsters are stuck inside the door and inadvertently lets a little girl come through to Monstropolis.

Mike and Sully make a number of attempts to hide the child from the authorities. Hoping to avoid the repercussions of allowing a child through, the pair hope to get her back to her door before anyone notices. Instead they discover that one of the other scarers, Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), is plotting to capture children and use a machine to extract more screams from them.

Sully has started to develop affection for the child he calls “Boo”. Now fearing for her safety, he decides to take Randall’s plan to the company’s CEO. Instead of being supported, Mike and Sully find themselves banished to the snowy home of another banished monster: the Abominable Snowman.

To save Boo from Randall’s plot, Sully strikes out on his own to find a way back to Monstropolis at all costs, leading to a final confrontation with Randall and the monster he is working for.

“Monsters Inc.” retains all of the charm of its original release. The monsters are more odd than scary, even when they’re supposed to be. Given the number of times my own children have seen the film, there were no secrets. Not even the “outtakes” shown at the end were new, to them. Still they enjoyed it. Like most films, the addition of 3D doesn’t significantly improve the viewing experience, though the kids do like to wear the glasses, if nothing else.

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