This week, we watched the short For the Birds, the film Monsters, Inc. and the home video short Mike’s New Car.
For the Birds is a short about cliques and what happens when an outsider tries to enter the group. Of course, rather than humans, the characters are birds. It is a solid short which, though not one of Pixar’s best, is certainly entertaining and worth a watch.
Monsters, Inc., Pixar’s fourth feature film, deals with a child’s fear of a monster in the closet. This was the pet project of current head of Pixar, Pete Docter, who also directed this film. The story took many forms before becoming what we know and love today. The idea for began in 1994, with Docter and several other Pixar heads. It was initially about a 30-year-old and his fear of monsters. Over time, the idea morphed into a friendship between a monster and a child. Later, the character of Mike Wazowski was added and the the writers made their monster, namely Sulley, the top scarer at a company known as Monsters, Inc.
Not only is Monsters, Inc. wonderfully creative and just plain smart, but it is notable because it looks very different than other Pixar films up to this point. In the worlds of Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, the characters were all rather plastic looking. However, in Monsters, Inc., the monster characters vary wildly in their design and that plastic look would not work for them all. For example, Sulley is a furry character and that texture and detail had to be present in his design. Fur and hair had not been used much in computer animation up to this point, at least for Pixar films. Pixar did a beautiful job with it and though it was made in 2002, the film looks great even in 2019.
Like the Pixar films before it, Monsters, Inc. was a huge success with critics and audiences. The characters of Sulley and Mike Wazowski have become favorites for kids and adults everywhere. This film inspired the 2013 prequel Monsters University as well as a TV show which is set to debut on the upcoming streaming service Disney+.
The last thing we watched this week was the short Mike’s New Car. This short film was included on the home video release of Monsters, Inc. and was the first time Pixar released a direct-to-video short film. One of the more memorable bits of comedy in Monsters, Inc. revolves around Mike’s love for his car. This is taken even further here, when he gets a new car that just isn’t working for him. Both Sulley and Mike get a chance to shine here and the short is a great extension of the film.
On a separate but not unrelated note, this week was the perfect week to watch Monsters, Inc. because today is 2319 (February 3, 2019)! Fans of the film will know what I am referring to.
Next week, we will be watching Finding Nemo and the short film that accompanied the DVD called Exploring the Reef.