Movie Reviews
2:50 pm
Thu December 6, 2001

Monsters, Inc.

Cleaning the environment of child contamination is a hilarious conceit that turns around the usual fears children have of monsters in closets.

You may admire the hair detail on Sully the Yeti?s arm, but you will be amazed at the warmth of characterization in "Monsters, Inc.," surpassing even the great "Shrek" earlier this year. Goodman and Crystal are a comedic team reminiscent of the zaniest Martin and Lewis days. Crystal's Borscht-belt routines brought smiles even to this jaded and admittedly tough-on-comedy critic. I thought Eddie Murphy?s donkey in "Shrek" was smart and funny; Crystal's one-eyed monster is even better with its wry and annoying wit.

Cleaning the environment of child contamination is a hilarious conceit that turns around the usual fears children have of monsters in closets. It is also a chilling parallel to the challenge of removing anthrax from today?s letters. Generally, the allegorical underpinnings of animation are natural for the medium, powerful like the images of the novel "Animal Farm" for political and sociological levels of meaning. For example, the endless-door motif in this film is an ingenious metaphor for the scary and glorious possibilities the present and future hold for kids.

Even before you see this feature, Pixar offers the short feature "For the Birds" -- a brilliant takeoff on Hitchcock?s memorable film besides being a great commentary on diversity. The expressions around the animated eyes, as the little birds deal with the big bird interloper, are more expressive than those of most contemporary film actors, with the exception of Brando, Pacino, Depp, and Streep.

The short trailer for "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones" may precede the showing as it did ours for an added delight.

"Monsters, Inc." is the best animated feature this year and one of the greatest of all time.