Every child knows that when the lights go off and the parents have said goodnight and closed the door, that monsters are just waiting to come out of the closet to scare them. Well, guess what, it’s true! Welcome to Monstropolis (which in sections looks a lot like NYC), where a current energy crisis (newspaper headlines scream “Rolling Blackouts Expected”) has the owner and employees of a power company, Monsters, Inc. worried about meeting their quotas. Energy in Monstropolis is derived from children’s screams, and is bottled when expert monster “kid scarers” enter children’s bedrooms through their closet doors. Sulley (John Goodman as a gigantic blue and purple furry beast with a heart of gold), with his best friend and assistant, Mike (Billy Crystal looking like a large, puffy green Cyclops M&M) are the reigning champs of scream gathering. But as it turns out, these big scary monsters are even more afraid of children than vice versa – they believe that children are toxic (I did hear a few “here-here’s in the audience at this line!). When one of the little tykes not-so-accidentally gets through her closet door and into Monstropolis, pandemonium ensues. So begins the hilarious hiding/chasing/intrigue within (and without) the Monsters, Inc. headquarters. Along the way, Sulley discovers that the little toddler girl he has named “Boo” is not toxic, but rather lovable – and he becomes deeply attached to her. Steve Buscemi as the creepy crawly Randall oozes oily malevolence, and there are great supporting roles by James Coburn as the owner of Monsters, Inc., Waternoose, Jennifer Tilly as Mike’s breathless paramour, and Bob Peterson as Roz, a cranky empress of the company filing room. The wonderful opening credits with their retro jazzy closet door ballet, and the Randy Newman song sung by Goodman and Crystal over the closing credits alone are worth price of admission. Then, there’s all the good stuff in between. Full of sly jokes (Sully and Mike pass by the “Grossery”, and cross the streets to a “Stalk/Don’t Stalk” flashing sign, and the team of kid scarers enters the staging area in slow motion, in a formation and accompanied by music reminiscent of a similar scene in The Right Stuff), this is guaranteed to have both children and adults laughing. This movie gets it all right. The animation by Pixar is amazing – you can see individual hairs on Sully’s broad blue and purple back wave in the wind. And the voice acting is superb – the duo of John Goodman and Billy Crystal make a great team. They have great comic timing, and not bad singing voices either! At the showing of the film I attended, there was the added bonus of a Pixar short before the film, called for the birds. That’s how Pixar got its start, making now-classic short animated films. Before Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, there were the short classics Luxo Jr., and Red’s Dream. (Check out Pixar’s website, www.pixar.com, for hilarious outtakes and other fun stuff – did you know that the actors record their characters several times first, and then the animators pick the best reading to animate?) This is going to give Shrek! a real run for its money at Oscar time, vying for the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.