Movie reviews: “Monsters, Inc.”

The verdict of the critics regarding Monsters, Inc.: It’s not as good as Shrek, but it’s still good in its own right. Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News puts it this way: “Shrek is the better movie, with a more effective cast of supporting characters. But kids will find Monsters, Inc.‘s Sully [voiced by John Goodman] every bit as lovable as his green counterpart in Shrek.” Actually, a few critics find the new Pixar movie more diverting — the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Caro, for example, who writes: “Unlike Shrek, which seemed to be trying to appeal to everybody without providing a consistent tone or message for anybody, Monsters, Inc. is a G-rated family movie that knows its audience of the young and the young at heart. And it offers a lesson that seems particularly apt these days: Scaring kids may be inevitable, but making them laugh is a lot more satisfying.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times makes no comparisons, simply approving the film as “cheerful, high-energy fun.” A handful of critics give the film the back of their hand. Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times compares it not to Shrek, but to the three previous films from Pixar — the two Toy Story movies and A Bug’s Life. “Though it has its charms,” Turan concludes, “Monsters, Inc. does not measure up.” Jay Carr in the Boston Globe concludes that for Pixar, the film represents “perhaps an inevitable drop-off in freshness and originality.” Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, however, doesn’t agree. “This latest animated feature is a worthy successor,” he writes. “It’s a joyous, boisterous fable.”