ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth though you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Monsters, Inc. (2001), G
Analysis Date: November 1, 2001
CAP Score: 91
CAP Influence Density: 0.16

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

MONSTERS, INC. (G) -- effective in showing how easy it is to fall in love with children.

Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Director(s): Peter Docter, David Silverman (co), Lee Unkrich (co)
Producer(s): John Lasseter (exec) , Andrew Stanton (exec.), Darla K. Anderson
Writing credits: Dan Gerson, Andrew Stanton
Production Companies: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Music: Randy Newman

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Remember, the CAP analysis model treats animated behaviors as being influentially equal to live actor behaviors if the behavior can be reasonably duplicated by or subjected to a child. No other correlation is drawn. Remember also that just because a film is rated G does not mean it is free of counterproductive influences. G-rated movies in the CAP comparative baseline database earned scores from 100 to 87. Monsters, Inc. earned a 91, mainly due to violence. I'll get into that but let me first share a little with you about the story and a comment or two about the quality of Monsters, Inc..

Monsters, Inc. is an amazing display of computer application to animation! Understand that I am not a film critic or a movie reviewer but this work of art in animation surpassed, in my uneducated opinion, even that of Shrek and Toy Story 2. As someone said, in five years we won't need actors. The attention to detail down to the facial muscle contributions to expressions and the movement of hair in a breeze were astounding. Even the flow of Sulley's flab while walking was included.

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Monsters, Inc. presents a twist on the old tales of monsters under the bed and in the closet. In this version, the monsters are more afraid of the kids than the kids are of them. Kids carry germs that can kill monsters! But the monsters need the screams of kids to survive. The monsters use the kids' screams as energy to power Monstropolis. So, theY have made a business out of scaring kids -- Monsters, Inc. "We scare because we care" is the motto of the business.

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The quintessential monsters are James P. 'Sulley' Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal). Sulley is the leading scarer and is on his way to a company record and is the favorite of Mr. Henry J. Waternoose (voice of James Coburn), the company boss. A huge factory production line of doors to kids' rooms are conveyed to each monster's station, then the monster enters, scares the child and bottles the screams. One time, Sulley hit paydirt when he entered a girls' slumber party. But one time, a child follows Sulley into the Monsters, Inc. factory. She was about two years old. Her name was Boo (voice of Mary Gibbs). At least, that is the name Sulley gave her because that is how she introduced herself to him -- "Boo!"
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But all is not quiet on the monster front. Randall Boggs (voice of Steve Buscemi), a particularly nasty critter, is out to dethrone champ Sulley. Boggs used very underhanded and potentially lethal means to achieve his desired results. But Boggs is not satisfied with simply being the top scarer. And neither is Mr. Waternoose. Both have ulterior motives which are for you to discover. Let me just say that another human child mannerism seems to provide as much energy for Monstropolis as screams.

Hats off to the writers and all on two very special points in this story. The story was very effective in showing how easy it is to fall in love with children. This point is indeed close to home for me because we have a little girl about Boo's age. And we've had 24 kids (foster kids). It was easy to fall in love with each of them. So easy we adopted seven of them. The second point is that this movie shows us, mom/dad, how we look to our children when we growl and yell [Matt. 18:10]. And it shows how we do not have to growl and yell at the kids for them to see how it makes us appear to them.

In one scene where the Child Detection Agency (CDA) was trying to decontaminate a monster from the germs left by a child's sock, the CDA stripped the monster of all his body hair. Next, the biped, two armed monster hid with his hands what would be a private area of humans. If it was not intended to be envisioned as human nudity, why did the writers have the monster hide himself with his hands? And why were there other human-specific features on the nude monster? A preview cartoon also had a flock of birds stripped of their feathers doing the same thing with their wings. Sure, this stuff has been in cartoons for a very long time, but does that excuse it? Note that I am just telling you what is there. You decide whether it is fit for your kids or not. Note also God speaks of display of nudity as shameful more than 40 times in both the Old testament and the New.

There are also matters of threats to kill, kidnapping of a child and beatings. The deceit and treachery used by the bad guys may require some experiential maturity to understand which is not typically possessed by the toddler or very young adolescent, but such imagery might have the effect of a behavioral template as the child grows. Cheating (deceit) [1Pet. 2:1] is used also by the bad guys and is known at almost all ages and is contagious. I know it is slapstick comedy to watch an animated character spray his eye with disinfectant, but would you want your child to do that when someone sneezes in his/her face? Be sure to have all your aerosol disinfectants out of reach of your little tykes if they watch this show! And there are the ever-present, universally accepted, often ignored, widely used little white lies. I have yet to find any Scripture which says under which situation or condition a lie is not a lie. God has some quite disturbing things to say about liars [Rev. 21:8], so let us not take a chance and ensure you and your tykes understand that a lie is a lie no matter the conditions. There is no jusitifcation to make slight of God's Word in the name of entertainment. If a lie would save someone, the sin is on to whom the lie would be spoken. The complete listing of concerns are listed in the Findings/Scoring section.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Matt. 18:10 See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
  • 1Pet. 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. [Note that God did not lead Peter to say "most" deceit or "only the major" deceit.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the ..., and all [unforgiven] liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [Again, God did not inspire John to say "some" liars or "most" liars or "only the really bad" liars.]

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Monsters, Inc. (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • spraying disinfectant in eye
  • entrapment of a child
  • beating
  • threat to kill
  • threat to kidnap
  • kidnapping

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • little white lies to protect
  • cheating
  • trickery, treachery to further the company

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • implication of nudity
  • crotch hit

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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