Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Rating: ***
Music: Randy Newman
Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, John Ratzenberger

More fun from Pixar, this time set in the world of Monstropolis, which is where all the monsters that scare little kids live. Monstropolis is powered by children's screams, and James Sullivan (John Goodman) scares children like no other. That is, until he meets a little girl who mistakes him for a giant kitty. Pandemonium breaks loose in Monstropolis with a little girl on the loose, and Sulley and Mike (Billy Crystal) have to find a way to return the girl back to her bedroom before any more disasters befall them. But it won't be easy.

As you would expect from Pixar, the animation is superb, the characters are endearing, and the acting is great. The look and feel is reminiscent of Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993), only more cuddly. Pixar's fur shading techniques are stunning and revolutionary, and give the film a rich texture. The action and pacing is swift, as Boo is always getting Sulley and Mike into trouble, and the climax is an over-the-top spectacle on par with "Toy Story 2" (1999). While "Monsters, Inc." is a lot of fun, it didn't grab me in the same way that "Toy Story" (1995) did. Thankfully, it's considerably less mean spirited than Pixar's other outings, but it still pulls at the heart strings.