The Real “Monsters”

Monsters Inc (2001)

We’re talking about monsters, not humans. If a child touches a monster, he or she is in fatal danger. The appeal of “Monsters Inc” is one that notably gives power to children as the audience. Whether it’s under our bed or hiding in the closet, this Pixar film takes that concept and hilariously turns it around on its own head to show that it is actually the monsters that are more terrified our “toxic” human touch.

*SPOILERS*

“Monsters Inc” introduces the lovable dynamic duo consisting of Sulley and Mike Wazowski. I included Mike’s last name because for some odd reason it’s always been a fun name to pronounce… Wazowski (ah that feel good). While these two have a heck of a day at work collecting children’s screams to help contribute to their world’s power supply, they unexpectedly get a surprise visit. Through a strange unknown pink door which serves as a portal to the human world, Sulley discovers that a little girl has entered the monster world.

This “serial killer” is eventually given the name, Boo, which showcases the progressive bond that Sulley and Mike eventually begin to form with the little girl. I’ve actually always wondered just how is it that monsters came up with this idea. First of all she turns out to be no toxic catalyst. She’s cute, she’s adorable, she’s charming, and best of all even she likes to say Mike’s last name…

Ah that felt great again… After a lucrative chase ensues with the film’s clear antagonist, Randall, Sulley and Mike must find a way to return Boo to the human world before she is discovered and apprehended by the CDA (I guess this is the monster’s version of the CIA).

The characters themselves are full of color and texture and enough emotion to make you fall in love with their uniqueness. Sulley is that horrific string monster that actually turns out to be the most emotional sweetheart, thanks to Boo’c complete purity and charm. Of course this is also displayed by Sulley’s complete concern for Boo’s safety in even the lightest of situations…

Now Mike is a little more close-minded but his bond with Boo eventually becomes a tight one shared by the actions he has taken at the end of the film where he reconstructs Boo’s entire pink door from scratch. Hugging is maybe the most prominent display of love that is shown in this amazing animated film.

And well of course there’s Boo whose lovable charm and limited set of vocabulary, make her the ultimate puppet master and clear bundle of joy.

The animation and motion with hair is a very noteworthy thing to mention about “Monsters Inc.” Almost all the characters in this film have a distinctive hairy feature and thus it’s no secret that the production team had a lot to handle when it came to putting together the finished product. But yes, as any animated film lover would say, it certainly is worth it. “Monsters Inc” is a lovable piece of emotion and storytelling that can even engage adults into the mixture of its audience.

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Happy Feet

Penguins are cute aren’t they? Especially when they’re not the conniving ones from the “Madagascar” franchise. Anyways for those of you that don’t live here in New York, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s started to feel a bit of a winter demo here in the last couple of days. That chilly climate somehow reminded me of 2006’s “Happy Feet” and how I kind of looked at the film when I was younger.

 *SPOILERS*

It is a bit of a musical, given the fact that our main “pro-penguinist” is one that can create a musical rhythm with his feet rather than his voice. The reason for this relevancy is because penguin mating in this film’s world, depends on a matching “heart song” between a male and a female. So to throw in a penguin with a foot-tapping ability, would mean to treat him as an outcast.

Like any other family film, it’s usually about that sense of being outcasted where the final moral of the story ends up being that your supposed weakness is in fact your greatest strength. “Happy Feet” delivers that kind of message in a unique kind of way, which is why I was a bit confused about what exactly was the film’s main message, when I first watched it. By this I’m referring to the ending with the governments deciding to take political matters into their own hands just because penguins were seen tap-dancing.

Fast-forward throughout the rest of the film and basically our main “pro-penguinist,” Mumble, succeeds in enthralling the penguin of his dreams, he travels throughout the rest of Antarctica’s “dangerous jungle,” and he becomes the hero of his home by convincing governments to stop Antarctic fishing, all thanks to his captivating tap-dancing talent.

If you’re looking for a film with beautiful animation, this is for you. If you’re looking for a family musical, this is definitely for you. If you’re looking for a positive film with high morals, both politically and ethically, this is also for you. Now if you’re looking for all of the above, you just happened to stumble by the right place. Everybody should check out this film at least once. It’s simple but it’s wonderfully endearing for any audience. Enough said.

Noble Steed Indeed

Shrek

If I didn’t write about “Shrek” before, I’d have to be crazy cuckoo. But I’m not, so here we go. Besides Pixar, DreamWorks has some of the best animated films that I love and this is the reason for one of them. Released in 2001, this one for some reason will have a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because I would always want to hit that replay button as a kid. Maybe it’s because of how alluring  and compelling it was with it’s animation. Or maybe it’s because of its high-end originality with its characters and the various ways that it alluded pop culture. Or maybe it was because of its catchy soundtrack.

*SPOILERS*

Before I watched “Shrek” I did NOT even know what an ogre was. I just thought it was another word for feces. But thank goodness, this film cleared that up for me. We have our titular character on a quest to save a princess, he makes some friends as well as some enemies, and becomes a hero destined for greatness altogether.

What I loved about this, was how “Shrek” basically took those elements and flipped it around on its own. An ogre for a hero goes completely against the norm of handsome prince. A donkey for a sidekick goes completely against the norm of noble steed. Throw in a female dragon, a midget king & a beautiful princess that actually turns into a polar opposite at night, and you’ve got something original and hilarious.

I also appreciated the effects and how every character’s design was handled perfectly to give them a realistic look. Even the inclusion of various fairy tale creatures is also something I’ll always remember about this series. They usually are thrown in for comic relief when everything seems too serious but they do a pretty decent job at mocking who these characters are. Out of all these characters, my favorite would have to be Donkey (for this first installment). A “useless, pathetic, annoying talking donkey” was the best idea they could’ve came up with.

You can’t help but love the voices of all the characters and I think that’s where the casting worked perfectly. Everyone fit their roles as well as their character’s personalities. Last but certainly not least, if there was one other thing that I loved about “Shrek,” it was the fact that EVERYONE could love it. Animated movies are typically focused on gaining children’s eyes, but if I were to watch this movie again now, at 19 years old (and I haven’t watched this in a long time), I’m pretty sure I would still be laughing my buttocks off. 10 years later I’m pretty sure I’ll still feel the same way.

Pixar’s Shining

The Incredibles (2004)
I’ve always been a fan of Pixar. Their films from the moment I was born have always been a memory for me to cherish and continue to enjoy as Pixar continues to give us an enjoyable spawn of CGI animated films yearly. It’s no secret either that Pixar has yet to spawn an unfavorable film in the general public. This one released in 2005, was no different from the rest. While “The Incredibles” seemed to have a cliched formula of superheroes, and obvious characters, I really enjoyed certain aspects of the film. The most notable for me would have to be its somewhat darker take on the lives of superheroes as well as the superhero genre in general, even while this is obviously a children’s film. Regardless Pixar made it work with more adult themes and comedy as opposed to just a fart-joke film.