Story

Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) and Sully (voice of John Goodman) are the dream team at Monsters Incorporated. They work together to scare as many children as they can so that the children’s screams can be stored and converted into energy for the city of Monstropolis. Sully is about to reach the all-time scaring record. But times are tough for the monsters – children just don’t seem to be as scared anymore, and Monstropolis is facing a power shortage.

One night, Sully discovers that a little girl called Boo (voice of Mary Gibbs) has been let into the monster world. Because monsters believe children are toxic, Sully is frightened and asks Mike about what to do with Boo. Sully and Mike must also avoid the Child Detection Agency (CDA) and the evil Randall (voice of Steve Buscemi) as well as toxic contact with Boo. They battle through all these obstacles to get Boo back safely to her family. Along the way, they discover that laughter is much more powerful than screams, which makes them think again about the way they work.

Themes

Separation from family; children as victims; deceit

Violence

Monsters Inc contains some violence. For example:

  • A monster comes out of a child’s room with a sock on his body. Code ‘2319’ is called, buzzers are pressed and a red alert is declared. Members of the Child Detection Agency (CDA) come flying through windows, jump on the monster, destroy the sock before lifting up a screen and shaving all the hair off the monster.
  • Boo comes out of a bag in a restaurant and scares all of the monsters there. The monsters scream, yell and run away from Boo.
  • Roz closes the window on Mike’s fingers.
  • Sully thinks that Boo has been through the garbage compactus. He sees the garbage squashed, chopped and cut. He faints when he thinks that Boo is inside.
  • One scene shows a monster with its mouth attached to the scream extractor.
  • Randall straps Boo to the chair. She’s very scared and screams.
  • Randall punches Sully. Sully also gets hit with a canister.
  • Sully hits Randall in the face.
  • Boo jumps on Randall and hits him in the head with a bat.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. They might also be scared by the idea that monsters wait in cupboards to catch children’s screams. Examples of scary scenes include the following:

  • One scene shows a child’s dark room. Owls hoot and the cupboard door opens slowly. There are scary eyes under the bed and a shadow looms over a child’s bed.
  • The monsters in the movie are scary characters. One monster uses its tongue for a skipping rope. Another one sneezes fire. A jelly monster falls through a footpath grate so that only his eyes, lips and hat stay on top. Randall can be invisible. Monsters put in special teeth and eyes to to scare people.
  • The Child Detection Agency (CDA) arrives with alerts and alarms. This might need to be explained to children.
  • When Boo cries, the intensity of her cry interferes with the electricity. When she laughs, she turns on all the lights in the building and blows the light bulbs. 

From 5-8

Some younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes described above. 

Over 8

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie. 

Sexual references

This movie includes some sexual references. For example, Mike and Celia have ‘lovey’ nicknames for each other. They also talk about a romantic evening they’ve planned. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

There’s some sexual activity in this movie, including when Mike kisses Celia a couple of times.

Product placement

Toys from other Pixar movies are shown in this movie. 

Coarse language

This movie includes some coarse language and put-downs. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

This is an animated comedy with a new look at an old topic. Children have always wondered about monsters in their cupboards. But Monsters Inc shows us that monsters need our laughs rather than our screams to power their city.

Sully and Mike’s views on children are challenged when they meet Boo and try to get her back home. They learn they must fight off the evil Randall and his scary plans. In doing this, they discover better ways to generate power.

The main messages in this movie are about the importance of friendship and being open to new ideas and change.

This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as  energy sources, greed, competition and conspiracy.