Reverse Monsterfication Throughout the length of the movie, I was taken back to my childhood when there were monsters in my own closet. Over the years, the monsters have all died and been replaced by just as scary skeletons, so my closet is still full. However, to a young child monsters are still lurking in the shadows, and they still make the floor creak. The approach taken by the writers of this film is one of uniqueness and of originality. By successfully juxtaposing the situation between monster and child, the writers were able to confront a touchy subject head on. This was reached through a combination of differences represented by the monsters in the movie and between the child's impression of monsters in real life. We all know that in real life, to a child, monsters can be very real, intimidating, and extremely terrifying. The monsters in the movie are shown to be emotional creatures, with feelings and concerns.
Appropriately enough, the largest monster named Sullivan is best friends with one of the smallest monsters named Mike. Sullivan the bear, being the largest and scariest of monsters, turns out to be the one with the largest heart and concern for the well being of a small human girl he names Boo. The movie also shows us that the monsters are actually at work, earning money. Not only are they at work, but they also have a society, relationships, and an apparent chain of leadership and authority. To top it off, the monsters are more scared of children than children are of them. All of these elements combine with one another behind the glazed-over eyes of the young viewer, and construct feelings and ideas in a way we are now to old to comprehend. Behind all of the flashy animation and the famous voice-overs there are an infinite amount of messages and information forming ideas for the young child to grasp on to.
It is the strong story told in the movie which makes it work for children to understand. This story line could be told by Joseph Bruchac while beating on a drum, and it could give the child the very same lessons and ideas as did the movie. That is not to say that the animation and other effects added by the producers does the story harm, just that the story is strong enough to carry the movie on its own. There are certainly some lessons to be learned in the movie as well. Perhaps the strongest lesson taught in the movie is that you should never judge a book by its cover. What may be perceived as undesirable or unpleasant, may actually turn out to be lovely and desirable. The other lesson, which is obviously trying to be taught, is to not be scared of monsters. Whether or not the movie achieves this goal I do not know. In the human world scenes, the monsters were always very fierce and scary, and in the monster world, children appear to be very unwanted and even hunted. Perhaps the best teacher of this lesson is the large bear named Sullivan. He is the one who shows the child audience that all though he is a monster, he is full of love and peace and concern for the safety of the young girl. This was not the case in the beginning however. When Sullivan first meets the small girl, he is petrified at the very sight of her. After some time goes by, he comes to find that the child is harmless and is definitely not afraid of him. The hopes of the producers of this movie is that in some way, that same idea of not being afraid will switch around and work in the child's behalf. Thus achieving a process I would like to call Reverse Monsterfication. I give this movie a lot of credit for doing what it does, and applaud the writers for coming up with such a convincing story. All though this movie was no "Shreck", I still give it a close second place.