Doors take on a special significance in the 2001 animated film, Monsters Inc, where they are the access point to another galaxy, rather than simply a means of entering and leaving a room.
The film, produced by Pixar animation studio and distributed by Walt Disney, centres on small children’s fears of something creepy lurking in the closet. However, in Monsters Inc, it isn’t just a figment of their imagination and there really is a monster hiding there!
The plot revolves around the city of Monstropolis, where the power is provided by energy harvested from children’s screams. At the Monsters Inc factory, some of the monster employees work as “scarers” and it’s their job to pop into the human world and scare children by jumping out into their bedroom.
Then, the monsters collect the energy from the kids’ screams, so the more scared they are, the better, in terms of power for Monstropolis. The monsters aren’t bad guys, however – they are just doing a job. They all have their own personalities and human-like emotions that make most of them very likeable.
Being a scarer is considered a hazardous job, as human children are believed to be toxic. Also, energy production is falling because children aren’t scared as easily as they used to be. This is a great cause for concern for Monsters Inc chairman, Henry Waternoose, who’s searching for a solution.
James “Sulley” Sullivan and Mike Wazowski are Monsters Inc’s top employees. The factory has a “scare board” where the names of the best-performing scarers are posted as part of a kind of employee incentive scheme. The doors are an integral part of helping the monsters to get to the top of the scare board.
While in the factory, the doors appear to be free-standing and are on conveyor belts but when the monsters open a door and go through, it becomes the door of a child’s closet and is built into the bedroom. The doors are a type of wormhole, as discussed in physics – a hypothetical connection between widely-separated regions of time and space.
This means the monsters are actually popping out directly into the room, usually causing the children to scream blue murder!
Sulley, a large, furry blue monster, voiced by John Goodman, is a gentle giant. Despite being excellent at scaring children, it’s just a job and he has a kindly nature. Mike, a round green monster with one giant eye, voiced by Billy Crystal, is also good-natured, but prone to neurotic behaviour.
During the course of a day’s work, the amiable monster duo unexpectedly meets human toddler Mary (nicknamed “Boo”). Boo is two years old and isn’t easily scared – she thinks Sulley is a giant cat and calls him “Kitty”. Once Sulley and Mike realise a “dangerous” human child is in the factory, they try to find her, but soon realise she isn’t toxic at all.
It becomes their mission to reunite her with her family on earth, although this proves difficult – and also hilarious – as they try to hide her from the huge array of weird and wonderful monsters walking around the corridors, as there would be mass panic if they spotted a human child in their midst.
The factory has a process of destroying any doors that are considered to be of no use. For example, if a door leads to a child’s bedroom where the occupant isn’t scared, the door is declared “dead” and is destroyed in a giant shredder.
The doors are also destroyed by dropping them from a great height. A race against time begins as Mike and Sulley chase manically around the factory, jumping from door to door as they try to find the portal back to Boo’s home before it’s too late.
They encounter all sorts of comic adventures with the little girl, as they try to send her home. They eventually become very attached to her. Will they be able to find her door before it’s destroyed, or will she end up trapped and in danger in Monstropolis?
Sulley and Mike battle on to send Boo home, despite facing adversity when Watermoose banishes them to the Himalayas when he discovers they’ve been harbouring a human.
Luckily (spoiler alert!), it’s discovered that the remains of a broken door can still be put back together and repaired to reopen a portal. As there are thousands of doors moving around very quickly on the factory conveyor belts, whatever the outcome, it won’t be easy for Mike and Sulley to find Boo’s personal door and send her home!
Box office hit
Monsters Inc was a big hit with fans and critics alike. As a big budget film, costing $115 million to make, it grossed $577.4 million – so a hefty profit for the studio!
It was the third highest-grossing film of 2001 and also the third highest-grossing American animated movie in history, behind only Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo. Adored by the critics, it received an average score of eight out of ten in online reviews.
It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, missing out to Shrek. It was also nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy Award for Best Original Score, but was beaten on both counts by The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
However, Monsters Inc did win an Academy Award for Best Original Song for If I Didn’t Have You and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
A prequel to Monsters Inc, entitled Monsters University, was released in 2013 by Disney and Pixar. The plot revolved around when Sulley and Mike met at university, where they were studying to become scarers.
As the action took place some years before Monsters Inc, the script was cleverly written to include older, larger doors as the portals to earth, showing how the scaring technology had advanced by the time Monsters Inc came about!
Slide or Fold
Slide or Fold manufactures a selection of top-quality doors, including bifold doors – and while we haven’t mastered making a portal to another universe (yet), we can guarantee our doors will provide a smooth transition to your garden and we can provide a bespoke solution for every home. Please contact us for further information.