Jan 16 2013 Ellesmere Port Pioneer
Since the release of Toy Story 3, the Oscar-winning computer animation wizards at Disney Pixar have embraced the technological and creative might of 3D with gusto.
Re-issues of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 whetted our appetite for more digitally enhanced treats from the studio’s back catalogue.
A revamp of Finding Nemo was released across the Atlantic last year but hasn’t swum to these shores yet.
Thankfully, with Monsters University set for release in the summer, Pete Docter’s glorious 2002 fantasy, which taps into universal fears of creatures under the bed, enjoys another joyous moment in the spotlight.
Monsters, Inc. has lost none of its power to charm in the eye-popping format.
The climatic chase through rows of children’s doors is especially thrilling with the added depth of vision.
James P Sullivan, aka Sulley (voiced by John Goodman), and best friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) are top of their game in the child-scaring business.
Working out of Monsters Inc. (“We Scare Because We Care”), the largest scream-processing factory in Monstropolis, the fun-loving double-act scare countless unsuspecting moppets by leaping out of wardrobes.
Monstropolis is powered by human screams so it is imperative that Sulley and his colleagues meet their daily targets.
Alas, 21st century children are increasingly difficult to spook - must be the overexposure to violent television programmes and video games – so the city is in the grip of a fuel crisis.
Henry J Waternoose (James Coburn), big boss at Monsters, Inc., is acutely aware that the fate of thousands rests in the paws, tentacles and claws of his loyal employees.
Humans are forbidden in the monster world – they are considered a health risk – so when Sulley accidentally brings a human girl named Boo into Monstropolis, hell breaks loose.
Monsters, Inc. is pure, unabashed feel-good family entertainment, boasting dazzling visuals, lovable characters and a script crammed to bursting with gags.
Goodman and Crystal are on top form, lending their distinctive vocals to their unforgettable partners in crime.
The screenplay provides them with plenty of big laughs, but the ad-libs are equally hilarious.
Stay for the hilarious end-of-credits out-takes, complete with fluffed lines, misplaced props and collapsing scenery.
Steve Buscemi is delightfully loathsome as the villain of the piece, and Jennifer Tilly provides ample light relief as Mike’s medusa-like love interest.
The level of detail on the main characters, such as the realistic movement of Sulley’s fur, still dazzles 11 years after the film’s original release.
There are sly in-jokes aplenty for eagle-eyed fans – one of the restaurants is called Harryhausen’s, named after the pioneering stop-motion animator.
Ralph Eggleston’s Oscar-winning short For The Birds, which precedes the main feature, has also been loving converted into 3D.
His simple idea – birds of a feather bully together – is brilliantly executed.
STAR RATING: *****