I guess there's a chance that someone reading this blog will notice that I gave Cars a full recommendation, but this film - which is generally better regarded - only a qualified one, and wonder what's up with that. But there is method to my madness, I promise.
I'll start by emphasising that I personally like Monsters, Inc a lot. In fact, on watching this DVD (the first time I've seen it since it was at the cinemas) I enjoyed it even more than I expected to. Pixar truly are masters of taking near-saccharine levels of sweetness and inserting just enough tartness to make me not care about the risk of them giving me diabetes.
But despite its inventiveness, fun character designs, clever site gags, cute humour, and plot that isn't stolen from a Michael J Fox movie, I just don't feel the film has as broad an appeal as Cars. I think many people will like this film better, especially young kids and film geeks ... but that there's also a greater proportion of people who will just be left cold by the premise, which is much more overtly kid-focused than the one in Cars.
The basic plotline pits good-hearted monsters Sully and Mike, along with their stowaway human friend 'Boo', a young girl, against the anti-child prejudice of monster society. There might also be more nefarious things going on behind the scenes, but you'll have to watch the movie to discover what those are.
There are lots of good laughs to be had in the film, and it's easy to get emotionally involved with the characters. I do think the pacing is just a little off, though. The Nepal sequence two-thirds of the way through the movie feels like a bit disconnected from the main plot, for instance. Also, I think the big action climax goes on a little long. But these are minor quibbles.
Well worth checking out, overall.