The story begins with top-scarer John P. Sullivan, called Sully (Goodman), and his assistant, Mike Wozowski (Crystal) starting a regular day of work at Monsters, Incorporated. This company provides power for the all-monster city of Monstropolis by extracting screams from children. The monsters believe human children are toxic, and their 'Child Protection Agency' goes ballistic when a human sock enters the monster world. After the workday is through, Sully goes back to retrieve some paperwork, and finds that a door (through which the monsters access the children) is still in the work area. He looks inside, but does not see anything. He then realises that Randall (Buscemi), an evil lizard-like monster that has been trying to win Sully's title of 'most scares' has been lurking around. Sully leaves, but quickly discovers that a human child has attached herself to his fur. Unsure of what to do, Sully seeks out Mike, where he is having dinner with his girlfriend, Monsters, Inc. receptionist Celia (Tilly). The plot thickens as the monsters become aware that a 'poisonous' human is in their midst, and Mike and Sully attempt to rectify the situation.
The sheer dynamic beauty and complexity of the monster world makes this movie excellent eye-candy. It really makes you respect all of the years of work that go into creating a movie of this magnitude. As explained in the extra DVD footage, the animators have to add all of the complex details individually, as well as the textured movements of Sully's blue and purple fur. Monstropolis is a world that mirrors the human world - in a parallel universe type of way. It is interesting to note that the entrance to the Monsters, Inc. Corporation is suspiciously like the entrance to the spacious Pixar studios (a tour of which is given in the Humans Only section of the DVD extras).
The thing that keeps this movie alive is the fact that it all seems real, but better than real. The characters, the story, and the animation are so full of life that they seen to jump from the screen. The relationships between Sully and Mike, and Sully and the human child, Boo, are fully realised. Their laughter and dangers make us laugh and cringe along with them. This movie really goes the extra mile in effort and thought, especially in a world where children's movies are often cookie-cutter simplistic.
The only problem I had with this movie was the lack of strong female characters. Celia the receptionist plays only a marginal role in the movie, as well as Roz, the grainy-voiced bookkeeper. I would have liked to see some of the Scarers as female monsters to promote the notion to children that women can be in the important, exciting work roles, not just the mundane office positions. But overall, I thought this was an excellent movie that is sure to be a classic for years to come.
DVD extras: tons! A whole disc is devoted to these extras, including new animated shorts (Mike's New Car and For The Birds, the winner of 2001's Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film), outtakes, banished concepts, the aforementioned tour of Pixar that will make you wish you worked there, games, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, and much more.