Volume 97 Issue 3 A&E

Flashback in Reel Time

by Erin Gaines

As students, we’ll spend our time during the week going to classes and acting like adults (for the most part). The 20 years we’ve had seem to have flown by. So now, we watch movies from our childhoods, and sometimes we may find ourselves wondering exactly when was this movie in theaters.

Think back 14 years to Nov. 5: “Monsters, Inc.” was the No. 1 movie in the box office. 2001 just doesn’t seem like a long time ago.

Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures brought the monsters that hid under kids’ beds to the big screen without scaring the bejeezus out of us in the process. The audience is taken to Monstropolis, home of James P. Sullivan (Sulley) and Mike Wazowski, two of the few monsters we all loved as children. Even though they were the “top scare team” at Monsters, Inc. — the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis — they captured our hearts with humor.

All of the monsters in the city are convinced that children are toxic, and just one touch would contaminate them. For the scare teams at Monsters, Inc., they put themselves at risk every day when they snuck through closet door portals into a child’s room to collect the screams that powered the city. Any time they go through a child’s door to scare, they’re cautious not to be touched and not to bring anything back with them. Even a child’s sock causes the monsters panic.

Late one night, Sulley discovered a door left on the scare floor after hours. Enter Boo, arguably the cutest animated toddler in cinema. She came through her pink flowered door into Monstropolis, and then everything changed for Mike and Sulley.

Terrified at first, the duo tried to keep Boo subdued until they can “put that thing back where it came from, or so help me…” Just in the first night, Sulley realized there was another way to power the city — with laughter. Boo wasn’t as dangerous as she seemed and Sulley makes it his mission to get her home.

Randall, one of the other monsters who worked on the scare floor, had brought Boo’s door in so he could harvest her screams and become the top scarer. Once he knows Boo is in Monstropolis, it becomes a race to get Boo back to her room safely.

Because no Disney-Pixar film would be complete without a happy ending, “Monsters, Inc.” got the feel-good ending as expected. Randall, who was conspiring with Mr. Waternoose (the manager of Monsters, Inc.), gets caught. Under Sulley’s supervision, the monsters harvest kids’ laughter instead.

In 2002, “Monsters, Inc.” won 14 awards, including the Oscar for Best Music for the original song “If I Didn’t Have You,” and had 37 other nominations. If that’s not the sign of a good film, I don’t know what is. Of course, many of us were too young to consider anything outside of the fact that it made us laugh.

At the time “Monsters, Inc.” was hitting theaters, the majority of Juniata’s current student body was in the second grade or younger. It became a beloved movie to watch all the way through high school years and entering college.

Then, 12 years later, while we’re all wondering how long ago our favorite movies were released, Disney and Pixar released the second monstrous installment. “Monsters University” tells the story of what happened before the factory, before Boo and before Mike and Sulley were even friends.

Just as the Class of 2016 finished their freshman year of college and the Class of 2017 graduated high school, Disney and Pixar brought us right back to childhood. Our monsters went to college when we did. Just like that, all of us are hit right in the feels.

Disney and Pixar are no stranger to having characters grow up with their audience. “Toy Story” was released in 1995, with “Toy Story 2” following in 1999 and “Toy Story 3” in 2010. The toddlers that were watching “Toy Story” with their parents were then headed off to college, just like Andy in “Toy Story 3.”

We can’t deny that growing up happened a lot faster than we wanted.

We can’t deny that college is no kindergarten.

We can’t deny that we’re soon going to be entering the real world, getting real jobs and being the adults that we looked up to when we were little.

However, growing up doesn’t have to mean that we’re leaving our childhoods behind. Growing up can just mean we enter the real world with grown up minds and childlike hearts.

For this generation of young adults, we don’t have to grow up and leave our favorite tales behind us; some of our favorite characters went to college, too. They came along for the ride, and suddenly growing up doesn’t seem so scary.

Categories: Volume 97 Issue 3 A&E

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