Movie Review: Monsters Inc 3D

Movie Review: Monsters Inc 3D

In 2D or 3D, this is a film that I’m more than happy for my growing boys to watch.

By Mark HadleyWednesday 16 Jan 2013MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Monsters Inc. the latest film to be brought back by 3D

Rating: PG
Distributor: Disney
RELEASE DATE: January 17

3D is likely to prove a fad when it comes to television sets – please don’t make it the basis for choosing a new one! – but cinemas have invested heavily in the new technology, and distributors like Disney continue to rework old releases to feed their appetite for content. Next on the menu this week is
Monsters Inc.

It’s a rare thing to see an animation constructed from anything but computer generated images (CGI). The Lion King was Disney’s last real success with traditional drawing techniques, becoming the highest grossing traditionally animated film of all time. However since then the Mouse has been producing increasing numbers of pure CGI and hybrid CGI-traditional animations or ‘tradigital animation’ as Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg describes them. The advantages for 3D are obvious because the CGI characters are actually modeled in a three dimensional environment, making their transition to the new format that much easier to achieve. So it’s not surprising that Pixar is digging back into its 2D catalogue to produce 3D offerings like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and of course Monsters Inc.

Monsters Inc. is still a staggeringly successful storyline for youngsters, even though it will be turning 12 this year. In it we’re introduced to the blue-haired terror Sulley, voiced by John Goodman, an employee of Monsters Inc. whose job involves scaring children. With his partner Mike (Billy Crystal), he nightly collects the screams that fuel their city’s power grid. He and the rest of Monstropolis have been taught to believe that children are highly contagious, and their fear overwhelms any guilt they feel. However when Sully meets a young girl and discovers she’s not actually dangerous, he begins to re-think his company’s entire approach.

Don’t let the ridiculous characters and crazy antics fool you, Monsters Inc. actually carries a serious message for growing minds. At its core Monstropolis is a city that subsists on the suffering of others. Granted, its likeable characters haven’t made the connection that children are anything more than dangerously mined resources. But once empathy is established between Sully and the little girl ‘Boo’, it’s hard to justify their behaviour any longer. The philosophy that the ends (power for the city) justify the means (extracting screams from children) collapses under the weight of their love for each other. 

In 2D or 3D, this is a film that I’m more than happy for my growing boys to watch. It poses the very Christian question, ‘Can good people continue to call themselves good, if they do bad things?’ Jesus phrased it this way:

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 

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Sully’s own convictions demand that he protect Boo, once he has realized that is the right thing to do. Otherwise he can’t really call himself good. It’s an essential link between believing and acting that as a parent I’d like to forge as early as possible. It also runs counter to the distressing western perspective that allows us to recognize our moral responsibilities, even recognize the existence of God, and do nothing about either. And note Jesus’ warning buried in the middle of His common sense observation. If you say you love God, but don’t bring forth the fruit that someone who loves him would, how can you expect to be treated like anything other than firewood?