Monsters, Inc., of course, is one of the early hits from Pixar and stars John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, and Jennifer Tilly. It holds up really well, I found.
The monsters-in-the-closet are real, but they're just there to make kids scream, because scream is a potent source of energy. As such, the "scarers" employed by Monsters, Inc., zip into kids' rooms and frighten them, but then duck out, because, they believe, children are highly toxic to monsters. The number one scarer for the company is a great blue fuzzy thing called Sully (Goodman), assisted by his best friend Mike (Crystal). They're close to breaking an all-time scare record, but the company in general is in trouble - kids don't scare like they used to.
One evening, as Sully retrieves some paperwork, he chances across an active door (the monsters keep doors that lead directly into the human world when powered on). Checking it, he finds an adorable little human girl (Gibbs), who follows him into the monster world. Sully and Mike take charge of her and try to figure out what to do as the Child Detection Agency swarms around the company.
Turns out, of course, that Sully's rival Randall (Buscemi) and the seemingly benign head of the company Waternoose (Coburn) are desperately trying to save it - by kidnapping children and extracting their screams directly (that whole "kids are poison" thing obviously isn't true). Sully and Mike save the day, and in the process discover that laughter is much more powerful than scream, so now the company sends funny monsters (like Mike) into kids' rooms to make them laugh.
This is a really well done film. The voice casting is spot on; Crystal manages to be funny without being obnoxious, Goodman is perfect as the big-lug Sully, and if you need someone to sound vaguely slimy you could do a lot worse than Buscemi. Jennifer Tilly has a fun role as Mike's girlfriend Celia, though watching it this time, I did wonder why Mike and Sully don't immediately include Celia in on the predicament - to protect her is the obvious reason (and because it would undercut the bonding that Mike and Sully have to do), but you know me, I always think it's better to expand the cast out a bit.
Generally, though, the movie is really awesome, the animation is amazing (watch Sully's fur ripple in the wind), and the plot holds up pretty well.
My Grade: A
Rewatch value: High
Next up: Monsters vs. Aliens