Monday, April 04, 2005

Film Foren(sic) - Monster's Inc

State of body - looks real, but is computer generated.
Detail of inspection - Inspected repeatedly but with regular interruptions.
Forensic investigator - marco
Comments - I almost missed the vital flaw.

Having briefly discussed this movie in the comments of my blog, I decided to give it another once-over with my magnifying glass, and realised that something should have dawned on me somewhere along the line - It seems so obvious now! More on that later, but first, a general impression of the movie.
I can just imagine the scene at Pixar, everyone patting each other on the back as they work out how to model various monster fur, realistic eye movements and various monster attributes. The creative types at Disney however are fairly perturbed as they don't have any plots involving monsters. Then one of them pipes up and says "Hey, what if the monsters are just as scared of kids as they are of them?" The rest of course is history, and I really believe with this rendering technology the movies are being written to suit the new features (bottom up) rather than the more usual top down approach of having the story worked out first and then making the animators/renderers do their best to follow suit. This has the positive effect of getting the creative juices of the scriptwriters flowing. The plot could have gone really badly had they stuck strictly to a good vs evil structure, or not had any other concept other than "monsters being scared of children" duality to work with.
Looking at the kid's reaction, once again they really take to the violent bits, and in this case also the sentimental Sully/Boo relationship. At the movies, Nikolas (6 at the time) started to sob at the bit where Sully was never going to be able to see Boo again. Admittedly the visual Mike gags work for children as well, but the main thrust of the comedy seems to work more for the parents watching with the kids than the kids themselves. Kids movies can no longer afford to just appeal to kids; and this movie does the dual appeal almost flawlessly.
Now this movie does a really good job of keeping adult (humans) out of the picture almost completely. It's like as if they didn't exist - They are invisible to the monsters and the monsters are invisible to them. The one bit towards the end of the movie where Randall gets beaten over the head by a frying pan (seemingly by an adult woman in a caravan) does spoil this sense and I would call this a definite flaw in the movie - But that's not the really major flaw.
The movie is an excellent display of modern 3D animation. The scriptwriters actually did something original with what they had. It is only vaguely formulaic (especially for a Disney movie) so this movie was certain to be a success from the start. But the Disney marketing machine blew it. There is absolutely no evidence of anything remotely resembling a Sequel strategy in place. With such a sure fire winner there should be at least Monsters Inc. I II & III. Or what about a video only release of short monster "skits" or something like they have with Timon & Pumbaa. The only thing that I can think of is that they were so sure that it would flop that they didn't even leave an opening for a sequel in their story. Good movies like this should be milked for profits again and again and not just be placed on a pedestal to say "Gee that was good, let's just leave it at that!" It's absolutely autrocious. I go to the shops, and in the toy aisles there's saturation Barbie, Bob, Buzz etc. but where's my little Mikey?
So in conclusion, Monster's Inc breaks new ground, but Disney just seems to have temporarily forgotten how to print money in this case!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

How about "Monsters get lost on earth" sequel