Title: Monsters Return
Directed by: Pete Docter
Starring: John Goodman (Sulley), Billy Crystal (Mike), Jennifer Tilly (Celia), Anna Kendrick (Penny), Mary Gibbs (Boo), Steve Buscemi, (Randall), Jon Ratzenberger (Yeti), Bob Peterson (Roz)
Setting: 9 Years after Monsters, Inc.
Everything is bumping along and working GREAT! In Monsters at Work we find the team working and training new recruits for the future in the great city of Monstropolis.
Towards the end of the show, (about ten years after the events of the first film), rumors have spread through the human world about strange monstrous looking beings appearing in children’s bedrooms late at night, so windows and doors are always locked up tight when the kids go to bed. Laughter AND Screams have now become almost impossible to capture. With a new power source needed, what is Monsters, Inc. supposed to do?
At the end of the final episode of Season 1 of Monsters at Work, we get a post-credits trailer for Monsters Return!
A brainstorming session at Monsters, Inc reveals Sulley, Mike, Celia, Roz and the team pitching ideas for how to power Monstropolis again. Some of the ideas include:
- Sending GIANT monsters to the Human World to scare people again, but a video montage on the screen in the board room reveals how Godzilla, King Kong and others had always failed at surviving, and no monsters in Monstropolis were gonna volunteer for that job.
- Having monsters dress up as humans and perform at comedy clubs, also followed by a video montage showing that this often didn’t work in the past, since monsters didn’t often have a similar body type OR were funny enough to get laughs from humans. The rare exceptions of Sam Kinison & Rowan Atkinson were great, but there just weren’t enough Monsters with that skillset.
- YouTube videos created by the monsters was another almost-winner, since people would just think there was CGI involved in creating such odd looking characters, but you just never knew where or when people would be watching, so how would you capture that energy?
They needed an idea that would work and they needed it quickly!
Enter Penny. Literally, the doors burst open and Penny walks in. Sulley is immediately smitten with this beautiful monster. Mike’s jaw drops too, but he is immediately kicked in the shin by Celia and reminded he already has the love of his life.
Penny is a consultant that Monsters, Inc. brought in to help with the situation. She also just happens to be a relative of Roz, who introduces her to the team. Penny is a bit mysterious but also VERY funny. She pitches an idea to the team using a slide show and has everyone equally amazed and amused.
The pitch: A NEW toy that will be THE must have toy of Christmas 2010! Something that kids will love and have with them all the time. Something that can capture BOTH their screams and their laughs. Something that parents won’t fear or question (too much).
Well “WHAT, What is it?” yells Sulley. At least that’s what he thought he asked excitedly. Instead, he really just kinda rambles on what sounds like words in a raised tone. He’s still all dreamy eyed and weak in the knees by the presence of Penny. He clears his throat and tries again and, a little more calmly says, “what I mean to say is, what is this amazing new toy?”
Penny replies “That’s the part we need to figure out. I’ll be working closely with your team to develop this and I think you should definitely be on that team Sulley. I couldn’t imagine anyone more amazing on my team.” with just a touch of sexy in her voice.
The movie carries on as Penny, Sulley, Mike and the team try out all kinds of wacky ideas for toys that will help power the city. We see them go through all sorts of trials and iterations, but nothing seems to work. During all of this, we see Sulley and Penny grow closer and closer together and (of course) begin to share meals and more time together outside of the group.
The team finally lands on something that they think will be a winner. Eventually, we get a scene where they all step back to look at the camera and say “That’s it!!!” We don’t get the reveal (as the audience), but we know it’ll be great and we will eventually get to see it.
Penny says “OK – now we need to find a way to get it into the hands of all the boys and girls in the human world. Something like this is gonna need the right pitch, the right distribution, the right company. I have some ideas, but I’m gonna have to talk to a few monsters first.”
Fast forward to another meeting of the development team. They gather back in the board room and Penny pitches the idea of taking their product to a well known company in the human world, but how? How would they get a product from Monstroplis produced and distributed in the human world? She says “I’d like to introduce a monster that I think can help make this happen, but…..” Before she can finish the sentence, Randall Boggs appears. He had been camouflaged until that moment. Sulley and the team immediately growl and get angry! “WHAT?!!! What are YOU doing here” screams Sulley. Randall simply grins and says “Hello Boys!”
Before the room turns into a full on fight, Penny calms them down and asks for a moment to explain. Short story – they need a way to get their product into the right hands and the only way to do that is stealthily. While Randall might have worked with Waternoose to create the scream extractor before, he says he was “just working under orders” and that he “desperately wanted to come back.” He reassures them that he had learned his lesson after being trapped in the human world and treated as an alligator. Penny reveals that Randall has agreed to wear a tracker and help them out, so long as he can return to Monstropolis permanently.
A deal is struck and the plan is developed by the team. Penny has the perfect human to deliver their product to, and Randall will infiltrate the human company he runs to plant the device and plans.
Something, something, something
Randall returns from the mission and the team waits in anticipation for a message from the person he dropped the product off with. A note was included with the package, including an email address to contact Monsters, Inc. about the project.
It didn’t take long. The very next day the team receives an email and they open it on the board room table screen. There is a video attachment. They open and press play.
On the screen we see an animated version of a familiar person. It’s Steve Jobs and he says “Thanks James, Mike and team, for this amazing and generous gift. I can’t believe you would trust us with something like this and simply hand over the plans and ownership without asking for any money, but you must know our team will do this justice. We’ve already began production on the BoggsBook… “ [the team all glares at Randall, who just shruggs and smiles] …”but I had to change the name to something a little more appropriate to our company. We’ll be launching the iPad in April.”
That was it – Mission Success!! We jump to November and see that the plan is working. The team is now filling canister after canister of BOTH laughs and screams as kids watch videos, play games and chat with their friends on their iPads. The energy is coming in like they’ve never seen before. Monstropolis would be powered for years to come.
In the final scene, Sulley and Penny are married, with Mike as best man and Roz as performing the nuptials.
We also get a follow up on Randall. He’s back in Monstropolis, but he’s still got that tracker on and we see that every time he tries to camouflage himself again, it fails. Instead of disappearing, he blinks like a warning light. He is clearly not amused, but at least he isn’t being beaten with a shovel.
Title: Monsters Inside
Directed by: Dean Deblois
Starring: John Goodman (Sulley), Billy Crystal (Mike), Jennifer Tilly (Celia), Robert Duvall (Quills), Sam Elliot (Snarls), Hillary Duff (Miranda)
It’s evening in a suburban home a few miles outside Monstropolis. A woman asks her elderly father if he might want to read his grandson a bed time story. He enters the boy’s room where the grandson asks for various stories the grandfather has never heard of.
He asks the kid, “Don’t you want to hear about the three little monsters and the big bad Human, or Hazel and Grandel and the evil Human witch?” The boy explains that his teacher says old fairy tales like that paint humans in an unfair light.
The grandfather says those stories are important reminders of what terrible creatures the humans are. The mother argues that those stories are too scary anyway. “Too scary?” asks the grandfather. “We’re monsters. Scaring is what we’re all about!”
“Not anymore, Dad.” The mother pats her father on the shoulder and leads him from the room. “I’ll read the bedtime stories, okay? Maybe you should go get some rest too.”
The grandfather, Howard Snarls, goes to his room and throws a grumbling fit, shredding a newspaper with his claws. We see bits of the front page story fall to the floor. “Monsters Inc. trades growls for chuckles, One Year Later. “The only thing scary here,” states new CEO James P. Sullivan, “are the profits!”
We cut to Sully and Mike arguing over how to approach an off-screen problem. Mike is guiding Sully through his trusted and proven process, Sully arguing how it makes no sense, that it’s an impossible task. On final reveal we see Sully has put a diaper on Mike’s baby. It’s a snake-like creature with a big round ball like a belly. The baby hiss-laughs and its orb body shifts from hip to head. The diaper falls off.
“See,” says Mike. “You have to prepare for where it can go, not where it is.”
“At least it’s only one night,” says Sully. “How many diapers will I have to do in one night?”
Mike opens a closet packed with what looks to be three months supply of diapers and says, “Celia and I will pick up more on the way home. Just in case.” Sully faints.
Mike and Celia are dressed for a fancy night on the town talking about how Sully needs to get a companion and maybe some kids. Celia also expresses her doubts that he can handle their baby daughter for so many hours. Mike assures her he’ll be fine. They arrive at a fancy theater where they see protestors outside. Old monster Snarls is with them, protesting the new play that features a love story between a human and a monster.
Security is high, and Mike is told there’s no re-entry and they have to stay in their seats until the end of the show. Sully meanwhile is having trouble feeding the baby and calls Mike as soon as they’re seated. Celia is already frustrated. A comedy of errors occurs where Mike has to leave his seat to get better reception for Sully’s repeated calls and ends up dressed as an usher and then an actor on stage as he makes his way back to his seat.
Sully is forced to take the baby with him to the store to pick up special formula. He runs into a young female monster, Miranda, who we discover is a new colleague at Monsters Inc. She shows an obvious romantic interest in Sully, and together they are able to keep Mike’s baby safe until the Monster couple returns home.
The next day at Monsters Inc, protestors are on the steps of the facility. Snarls is there again, the group shouting that laughter is good medicine, not good power. Miranda visits Sully where they continue to flirt, and she asks why he never had a family. He says he just never made the time, but seeing what Mike has, a family isn’t off the table. He looks in a drawer of his desk where one of Boo’s drawings is hidden.
Miranda says Sully has to meet the right monster first. Outside, Snarls and the small group are getting frustrated that maybe their voices aren’t being heard. That’s when a sinister-looking monster shows up. His name is Theo Quills, and he agrees that this new relationship with humans and monsters isn’t right. He invites Snarls to his home where he shares ancient books which tell the origin of Monster/Human relations and how Monsters were run out of the human world and were so angered by it they actually began to feed off human fear.
Eventually, as monsters evolved, the fear energy was harnessed in different ways, but the core of that relationship stood, that is until the new CEO Sullivan took over. “Humans will never welcome monsters into their world,” says Quills. “They will never be friends.” Quills says he’s been preaching the same thing as Snarls for years, and no one has been willing to listen, but he’s got a plan. He says “It’s time monsters came out of hiding.”
We see the old monsters go on a public scare campaign to catch human attention and reignite the old rivalry. Miranda meanwhile is trying to sway Sully into returning to the fear approach for power collection. Looking at Boo’s drawing, he tells her how wrong it is to scare, and shares with her the story of how Boo once came to the monster world and changed his entire outlook.
Quills and Snarls make repeated visits to the human world, causing a more public scene each time. We get crossing news stories between the human and monster worlds, both about mysterious and unauthorized visits to the human world. While public perception in the monster world is worry over the criminal rebel monsters, the humans are dismissing the monsters as a viral hoax. Sam Gibbs, however, is one human man who believes the monsters are real.
Gibbs is repeatedly watching news footage of the monsters going into houses and never coming out. He’s sitting with a book nearby entitled ‘Magical Doorways and the Monsters Inside Them: Not a Metaphor.’
Sully is in a meeting with several business-looking monsters where the discussion is perhaps this is the beginning of a new era, one where monsters can openly interact with humans, and perhaps both worlds could benefit from a change in relationship. The concern is these monsters visiting the human world are the wrong representatives to send and they must be caught. Sully says the power plant is on high alert with security everywhere. They don’t know how anyone unauthorized is getting in. The others suggest that perhaps it is someone who IS authorized then. Sully mumbles to himself that it wouldn’t be the first time.
Quills and Snarls are arguing that their plan isn’t working, that monsters may only be capable of scaring human children. Quills says he has a new plan.
Sully is back at the power plant. It’s the afternoon, yet most everyone is gone for the day, except for Miranda. They discuss how the city council has compelled him to temporarily shut down the plant to keep all the doors closed until they catch the rebels. Miranda encourages him to check on Boo to make sure she’s okay and knows that those monsters scaring people in the real world aren’t like him, that he’ll protect her.
Sully pulls Boo’s door from storage and steps inside, but the décor is different. Her bed is gone and the room is sparse. When he moves further in, the closet door shuts behind him and metal bars block the door. Sully realizes he’s trapped in a giant cage. Gibbs reveals himself through a space between the bars. He says he’s been waiting for him and shows him a collection of Boo’s drawings featuring Sully.
“What did you do with Boo?” Sully shouts.
“If you mean Mary,” says Gibbs, “she’s safe and sound. You can’t hurt her again.”
It turns out that Gibbs is Boo’s father who obsessed over the idea of magic doorways when his young daughter disappeared for a day only to reappear in her room. Her only explanation, which she defended over and over, was that a big blue monster and his green ball friend looked after her in a magical monster world.
Cutting back to the power plant, Quills is inside turning everything back on. Miranda, who turns out to be his daughter, is there helping him. They power up dozens of doors and open them to the human world, letting humans wander in. A great panic ensues, sending monsters running for their lives. Mike tries to get into the plant to find out what’s happening and meets with Snarls who regrets what he’s done. He explains who is behind the invasion, and together they have to find a new way to Sully.
A great chaos of event unfurls with a showdown between Quills and Snarls, where Snarl’s grandson gets taken as hostage. Sully gets freed, and Boo helps Snarl’s grandson escape Quill who gets banished like Randall. They return all the humans and Sully has to say goodbye to Boo again. He says he can’t risk anything bad happening to his people or hers, and shreds all the doors and shuts down Monsters Inc.
In a final scene where he and Mike are working at the new redesigned power plant which runs on solar energy, Mike asks him if that really is the end of the ties between monsters and humans. Sully says he doesn’t want to give up hope. It’s just neither of their people are ready, but we shouldn’t give up. He quotes Mike saying, “You have to prepare for where it can go, not where it is.”