Monsters, Inc. (2001)

 

Everything, absolutely everything in our world is powered by human children’s screams. Our cars run on it, so do our air conditioners. Nights would be dark if it were not for those little devils and how would we style our hair?

Hence the jobs at Monsters, Inc., the company responsible for all power in Monstropolis.

Meet Sulley, James P. Sullivan. From the famous Sullivan family. He is a large, blue furry monster (with purple spots) – one of the scariest there is.

I need scarers who are confident, tenacious, tough, and intimidating. I need scarers like…. like…. James P. Sullivan.

- Henry J. Waternoose, III, talking about Sulley.

Sulley gets the scream while Mike keeps an eye on the door. They’re the best team on the scare floor at Monsters, Inc.

Sulley’s design came from The Beast of Beauty and the Beast. Sulley’s design was said to be based on that of a prehistoric giant ground sloth. He appears in the end credits of Cars as a giant monster truck. A drawing of Sulley appears on a wood carving at The Witch’s house in Brave. Originally, Sulley’s working name was Johnson and instead of being the best scarer as seen in the movie, he was a clumsy monster who was very bad at his job. That would have been interesting too! Sulley is the first main protagonist in the Pixar films who doesn’t have a love interest, followed by Remy and Merida.

In France, Sulley’s name is spelled Sulli. Weird.

This is Mike Wazowski. Don’t call him Sulley’s sidekick. He is Sulley’s best friend, scaring assistant and a coach (look at Sulley exercising in the beginning of the movie). Mike is dating Celia Mae, I’ll always remember her for her hair.

Mike was listed #23 in Empire Magazine’s The 50 Best Animated Movie Characters. In an early animation test, Mike was considered to have no arms and would have picked things up with his feet. Mike is renamed “Bob Razowski” in the French dub. (What is up wiz zees guys?) In the original pitch of Monsters, Inc., Mike did not appear in the movie. Mike also wears a contact lens, which is said to be the size of a pizza.

Now these guys had a pretty good life with the general ups and downs (power shortage – collect more scream) until a human child ‘attacks’ Monstropolis. Meet the two-year old:

Boo is a toddler who is curious and naive. She can speak, but has baby, gibberish vocabulary. The only actual words she says in the film are “Boo!”, “Kitty!”, and “Mike Wazowski!” She somehow sneaks into the scare floor (telling you why would be a spoiler) and is out!

In one of the film’s early drafts, she was originally an 8 year-old boy named Raymond, who befriended Sulley (back then named Hob). Mary Gibbs was only two-and-a-half years old when she voiced Boo. Because she was so young, it proved difficult to get her to stand in the recording studio and do her lines. Instead, they simply followed her around with a microphone.

The movie now moves around Sulley, Mike and Boo and their goal of returning Boo safely to her room. In the process, they get to know the causes for scream shortage and try to fix what is wrong with the company.

In the end, Mike becomes a comedian.

 

See, there is no way one explain such a beautiful movie in words. So the best way would be to look at a couple of pictures and artwork, watch the trailer and without wasting a single moment, move to watching the movie.

Watch the trailer here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IBNZ6O2kMk

Have you seen Monsters, Inc.? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments.

Gargi

(Apologies for making it Pixarfeed-ish. I couldn’t resist.)

 

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri

With regard to yesterday’s post, I have read both the book, The Namesake and watched the movie (and another coffee table book on the making of the movie, it was beautiful, mind you!). So, instead of doing a review, I’ll add a couple of quoted from the books and shots of the movie.

The Namesake is the story of Ashoke and Ashima starting their married life in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ashoke adapts to the American style of living, while Ashima is still clinging to India. She wears traditional sarees all through her life, with the appropriate jewellery and make-up, reluctant to change. She even gets herself Bengali magazines from home. Most of this can be attributed to the fact that she has never been by herself in a house. She is still holding on to her roots and fighting her Americanisation.

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Ashoke and Ashima

The baby is born!

Ashoke and Ashima come closer after the birth of their son, Gogol, or Nikhil as they would have liked it, had the letter carrying his name reached them. The name Gogol haunts the family for a long time. Soon enough, Gogol gets a sister, Sonia and once old enough these American kids visit India, their parents’ homeland.

L to R: Gogol, Ashoke, Sonia, Ashima

You are still young, free… Do yourself a favor. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.

This movie brings modernity and tradition at crossroads, Ashima being the centre of it. Her husband was able to adapt to the Western land and her kids took it as their homeland. Ashima, on the other hand, tries to instil the Indian values in her kids. Bad enough for Gogol and Sonia, their parents are caught up in another land, one they left years ago and they’re in a precarious position of fitting in with their peers and the society in general versus what is expected at home. Ashima is still longing for her roots.

Ashima and Ashoke

The Namesake seems to be a good reflection of the South Asians abroad and the constant pull between past and future, parents and kids. It appears to me that the first generation immigrants happen to be the most caught up.

Ashima trying Ashoke’s shoes when their parents met to arrange for the wedding.

Now a bit of trivia about the movie:

Abhishek Bachchan would have been Gogol had Mira Nair’s son not been a fan of stoner comedy. That is, no Harold & Kumar => Abhishek Bachchan > Kal Penn. I won’t have liked that!

Also, thanks to Rani Mukherjee being busy at the time, Ms Nair chose Tabu. Honestly, I like Tabu in the role and no one could even have competed. She can give the dedicated wife image that might have been a bit different for Mukherjee (all her movies I’ve seen, she’s a bit crazy, in a cool way).

Mira Nair had guest appearances from Ms Lahiri’s family, connecting them in a unique manner.

Nair’s son isn’t allowed to speak in English at home.

To protect his privacy, Penn used to check into hotels under the pseudonym Gogol Ganguli. (How does that work?)

Kal Penn is credited twice at the end of the film—once as Kal Penn, and once as Kalpen Modi – for Nikhil and Gogol.

Kal Penn changed hi name as a lark. He put ‘Kal Penn’ on my resume and photos,” his audition callbacks went up by 50 percent. He says, “Gogol changes his name legally, but I just changed mine on my headshots.”

You’ve read the book/watched the movie? How did you like it?

Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.

Read an excerpt:

[Sorry, couldn't find one quick enough]

Watch the trailer:

Gargi

“For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy — a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been an ordinary life, only to discover that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity of from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect.”