"We're M.I. Monsters, Inc. We scare because we care."Welcome to Monstropolis, a world where the monsters are just regular folks like you and me. When they hide in your bed/closet/hamper and scare you, it isn't because it gives them any sort of thrill but simply because it's their job. Their world, linked to ours through closet doors, derives all its electrical power from our screams.However, scaring children isn't safe or easy work. The monsters believe that human children are highly toxic and only the bravest and most talented venture into a kid's bedroom. The populace live in terror of the possibility that a kid might find their way back through the door into the city, especially since this generation of kids are harder to frighten. The difficulty in scaring children and the constant scrutiny of the CDA (Child Detection Agency) has led to a power shortage as Monsters, Inc. struggles to keep the city lit.Now meet our heroes, James P "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal). Sulley, the big blue one, is the top "scarer" at Monsters Inc. Mike, the small green one, is his partner (who handles the paperwork), best friend, personal trainer, and roommate, who spends his after hours courting the receptionist Celia. They also happen to be days away from breaking the All Time Scare Record.Life is great — until one of the extremely poisonous fuel sources enters their world and threatens everything. Yes, a human child! Doom-doom-doom! (Actually, she's rather adorable.) Sulley and Mike's friendship becomes increasingly strained as they try to get the little terror back to her world without getting contaminated or arrested. Along the way, they stumble upon a conspiracy that threatens to undermine their life's work — and possibly their lives.A prequel was released twelve years later in 2013. Titled Monsters University, the new film stars Mike and Sulley in their college days. Dan Scanlon is directing. Having never met before, Mike and Sulley end up becoming rivals in the scaring program at the University. However, their bickering leads them to be kicked out of the program. In order to get back in, they must join a fraternity and enter the Scare Games. Ending up in the lamest fraternity on campus OK (Oozma Kappa), Mike and Sulley must rally a group of underdogs to succeed in the games.A follow-up DVD short, Mike's New Car, was released with the Monsters, Inc. DVD.In November 2017, it was announced that a Spin-Off television series based off of Monsters, Inc. is in the making and is to be released on an upcoming Disney streaming service. In February 2018, it was confirmed that the world of the film will feature in Kingdom Hearts III with an original story taking place after the events of the film.
— Henry J. Waternoose III, CEO
Monsters, Inc. provides examples of:
- Acting Unnatural: Mike and Sulley try to help a disguised Boo back to her door on the scare floor without looking suspicious.Mike: We're just two regular joes on our way to work. We will blend right in.(Mike and Sulley enter the scare floor)Sulley: Top of the mornin', fellas!Mike: Hey, what's shakin', bacon?Sulley: Did you lose weight? Or a limb?
- Adult Fear:
- Mostly in retrospect, but notice that the Big Bad's plan is essentially to kidnap children and use them for slave labor...
- Also when Sulley thinks Boo is being crushed by the trash compactor.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Sulley tries to get Boo's attention by getting her to fetch a toy "bear", and makes a bed for her out of newspaper in the corner. He learns to treat her better.
- Mike also joins in by telling her to go fetch a stick. He, too, learns his lesson.
- All-CGI Cartoon: One of the first feature-length examples of the twenty-first century.
- All for Nothing:
- The point of the CDA's decontaminations, when it's discovered that humans and their possessions are not toxic after all. They blew up a building just because a human kid was in it as an 835 call, for crying out loud!
- Randall and Waternoose's Evil Plan ultimately proved pointless after the monsters discovered an alternative, more ethical method of gaining energy. Both monsters' lives were disgraced and ruined due to clutching the Villain Ball.
- All Myths Are True: Cryptids such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot are actually ex-citizens of Monstropolis who have been banished to the human world.
- All There in the Manual: Boo's full name. It's Mary Gibbs. Her first name is revealed in the film, since she signs all her sketches, but it's hard to spot.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Many monsters have a clear animalistic appearance that have an unnatural color scheme. Here are some examples:
- Sulley, who is blue and resembles a bear.
- Randall, who is purple and looks like a lizard and a snake. (Speaking of snakes, there's Celia's hair, which consists of five purple rattlesnakes)
- Waternoose, who is gray and looks like an arachnid and a crustacean.
- Many other monsters are in bright colors—Mike is a light green, Celia mentioned above is purple, and George is orange with yellow stripes, among other examples.
- Amusing Injuries: Mike is frequently subjected to these throughout the movie. The amusement they bring to Boo is actually a plot point as they eventually realize that Boo’s laughter at these amusing injuries is a more powerful energy supply than traditional screams.
- Artistic License – History: After George Sanderson gets subjected thrice to "code 2319" indignities, his assistant tells him that he'll next be sent on an easy scare job in, "Nice... quiet.. Nepal." In reality, during the film's production, Nepal had been embroiled in civil war since 1996. And four months before the film's November 2001 release, the King and Queen and eight other members of the royal family were killed in a bizarre massacre in the royal palace.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: "I said… Sully?!"
- Bad Boss: Randall is very rude and abrasive toward his assistant Fungus, their relationship being totally opposite to Sulley and Mike's. It's telling that when Fungus is seen at the end without Randall, he is much happier.
- Bad to the Last Drop: Whatever it is they drink instead of coffee, it's a thick sludge that slowly oozes out of the dispensers.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: Mike has a Running Gag where he sees some bit of publicity with his face obscured and says things like, "I don't believe it... I'm on TV!"
- Benevolent Monsters: The monsters scaring children at night is just business. Indeed, monsters would be perfectly content to leave humans alone if they weren't dependent on screams for energy.
- Big Bad: Waternoose is responsible for the danger in this plot and Sulley and Mike stopping his plans are their first priority.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Randall and Waternoose work together as a team to prevent Monsters, Inc. from going under.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Sulley, to save Boo from the Randall's machine
- Boo herself returns the favor when she beats the snot out of Randall to stop him from making Sulley fall to his death.
- Big Good: Roz
- Big "NO!":
- Sulley, eight times in a row after he and Mike are banished.
- Randall when Sulley hurls him through a door in the door vault to banish him.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Needleman to Smitty at the beginning.Smitty: Go get 'em, Mr Sullivan!
Needleman: Quiet! You're making him lose his focus.
Smitty: Oh, no. Sorry!
Needleman: Shut up!
- Big "WHAT?!": Mike to Sulley in the door vault after doing a flip and landing on his crotch on a girder, and Sulley noticing too late that Boo's costume covered her face so she didn't see the flip, so he hurt himself for nothing.
- Black Comedy: Sulley watching what he thinks is Boo go through through increasingly more outlandish trash compacting methods. Of course, the audience knows she's not in there.
- Blowing a Raspberry: Boo blows one when Randall is banished.
- Blue Is Heroic: Sulley is mostly blue with purple spots, and is the main protagonist.
- Book Ends: A musical example. The closing credits' theme, "If I Didn't Have You", is actually a remix of the opening credits' theme.
- Bowel-Breaking Bricks:
- After nearly being discovered by Randall in the bathroom, we see a huge splash in the stall Mike, Sulley, and Boo are hiding in. Boo sums it up best.Boo: Ew.
- And then in the next scene, we see an up-close shot of Mike's legs completely soaked. It's implied he slipped and fell in, with Boo still understanding how gross that was.
- After nearly being discovered by Randall in the bathroom, we see a huge splash in the stall Mike, Sulley, and Boo are hiding in. Boo sums it up best.
- Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario:
- Sulley has one both with Boo (after accidentally scaring her) and Mike (who blames him for their banishment).
- Mike has one with Celia (over his absence ever since their last date) soon as she sees Randall in pursuit.
- Brick Joke:
- Mike and Sulley are arguing about Boo on Scare Floor F, when Mike realizes mid-sentence that everyone is watching. He tries to spin his line "Put that thing back where it came from or so help me...!" as practice for the company play. During the credits, the cast performs "Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me: The Musical."
- Mike then tells confused scare floor workers and CDA agents, "we'll need ushers." At the end, a CDA agent is working as an usher.
- Sulley puts the stuff from Boo's room in a locker. Guess who opens that same locker a few scenes later?
- Broken Pedestal: Waternoose becomes this to Sulley when the latter finds out the former's plans of kidnapping children to solve the energy crisis.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: Top scarer James P. Sullivan has Super Strength and a mighty roar, but is really a sweet guy under it all.
- Butt-Monkey: Mike, which cracks up Boo to no end.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit":
- Boo affectionately calls Sulley "Kitty."
- "Little Mikey", the stuffed animal that Mike doesn't want Boo touching, is described as a bear (despite having one eye, several legs/tentacles, fangs and horns).
- Cassandra Truth: Celia demands that Mike tell her the truth about what's going on, which he does.Mike: Okay, here's the truth. You know that kid they're looking for? Sulley let her in. We tried to send her back, but Waternoose had this secret plot, and now Randall's right behind us, and he's trying to kill us!
Celia: You expect me to believe that pack of lies, Mike Wazowski?
- It's immediately subverted when Celia sees Boo, then the pursuing Randall, and realizes that Mike is telling the truth.
- The Cat Came Back: Boo, when she first meets Sulley.
- Cheated Angle: The closet doors. When they're closed, they're almost always seen directly from the front. But when they're open, they're almost always seen from an angle. And they are only rarely seen from behind, mostly after Mike and Sulley are sent away to the Himalayas, but there are a couple of other exceptionally brief glances.
- Cheerful Child: Boo.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Everything in the opening sequence with the monster-in-training and his practice run.
- Boo's laughter.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Roz.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- Boo's ability to say "Mike Wazowski."
- It's noted throughout the film (and through its prequel) that most of the monsters aren't naturally scary, Mike being the stand-out example, and when caught off guard can even evoke joy or laughter from the children they victimise. This ends up becoming very pivotal during the end.
- The Chew Toy: George Sanderson, as a Running Gag, keeps getting articles of clothing caught on his fur, resulting in numerous humiliating 2319 calls. Sometimes Mike, although it's usually his own fault.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Mike: That is the weirdest thing you have ever said.
- At one point, Sulley protests about Boo being in the restroom, not because she's human, but because she's a girl in the men's bathroom.
Sulley: I'm being attacked!Mike: No, I'm not attacking you. I'm trying to be honest.
- Also, when Mike tries to apologize to Sulley while remaining completely oblivious to the fact that Sulley is being beaten up by an invisible Randall.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Boom! Studios did a sequel of sorts, featuring Randall's return, Waternoose's escape from prison, Sid using the closet doors to his advantage, and the subsequent team-up of the three.
- Cone of Shame: Monsters who undergo decontamination by the CDA due to a 2319 or 835 call end up wearing one.
- Confused Bystander Interview: After Boo's presence is discovered, "witnesses" claim to have seen her use laser vision and mind powers.
- Cool Gate: Closet doors in childrens' bedrooms are these when activated from the monster's side.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Waternoose, who is all too keen on keeping his company from going into the red ink, even if it means breaking the law.
- Cute Monster Girl: Celia. Boo, from Sulley's perspective.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Boo versus Randall.
- Cyclops: Mike, his "teddy bear" Little Mikey, and Celia are the most prominent examples. There are several other one-eyed monsters that appear as background characters.
- The Darkness Gazes Back: In the opening.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mike. Also Roz, whose incredibly deadpan voice often gives Mike the creeps.Roz: I hope you filed your paperwork correctly... for once. Your stunned silence is very reassuring.
- Death Glare:
- When Sulley scares Boo by accident and doesn't notice until it's too late.
- Randall to Waternoose after the line: "Sullivan was twice the Scarer you will ever be!"
- Finally, when Boo is about to attack Randall in the door vault.
- Deep South: Randall's final fate is getting trapped in a trailer and getting wailed on by a swamp lady who thinks he's an alligator.
- Defends Against Their Own Kind: Sulley and Mike go to great lengths to keep Boo safe from authoriies.
- Design Student's Orgasm: The opening credits.
- Did You Actually Believe...?: Mike and Randall.Randall: (evil chuckle) You still think this is about that stupid scare record?
Mike: Well, I did... right up until you chuckled like that...
- Dish Dash: Of the spinning dishes on sticks variety.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Randal interrogates Mike in the hallway a lot like a mafia hit man, getting in his face, making him answer his own questions, mild-but-threatening violence and even giving him a "capisce" hand gesture when he asks if he'd made himself clear.
- Dog Pile of Doom: CDA agents pounce on George in the locker room after he opens the door to his locker and the toys Sulley shoved in there fall on him.Charlie: 2319! We have a 2319!
George (groaning): Oh, dear.
CDA Agents: Get him! (they bowl George over)
- Don't Call Me "Sir": The easygoing Sulley has a brief moment asking Those Two Guys not to call him Mr. Sullivan.
- Don't Look Down: Stated by Sulley early on in the door vault scene (shortly before the rollercoaster drop).
- Door Handle Scare: After managing to capture Boo, Sulley goes back to her door to send her back, and as he reaches for the knob it suddenly starts to turn. The next shot is of Sulley's rival, Randall, coming out of the door. He deactivates the door, and as it is lifted up to be stored away, it leaves Sulley, who had been hiding behind the door, exposed. Thankfully, Randall never looks back.
- The Door Slams You: Happens twice to Randall in the door vault. The first door that Sulley, Mike and Boo go through is slammed just as he reaches it. A little later, Mike slams another door in his face, trapping two of his antennae ("I hope that hurt, lizard boy!").
- Double Jump: In the Video Game Monsters, Inc.: Scream Team.
- The Dragon: Randall. He's even suitably reptilian.
- Emotion Eater: The entire world is powered by children's screams of fear. As they discover later, though, they get more power from laughter.
- Engineered Public Confession: Mr. Waternoose's near the end of the film.
- Et Tu, Brute?: How Sulley felt towards his mentor and close friend Waternoose.
- Eureka Moment:
Mike: At least we had some laughs, right?
- When Mike said that he and Sully would have to start a whole new life far away to keep from getting killed by Randall, he says "Goodbye, Mr. Waternoose!", which gives Sully the idea to go to Waternoose for help. Subverted when it's revealed that Waternoose was in on the scheme. Still, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.
- Then again, towards the end of the film:
- Even Evil Has Standards: The whole monster world might scare children as an energy source, but they'd never hurt a kid. And the idea of kidnapping them is not only a crime but seen as just plain wrong.
- Extra Eyes: Several monsters, mostly background characters, have more eyes than the average mammal, bird, or reptile. The most prominent ones are Waternoose and Fungus, who have five and three eyes, respectively. The monster with the highest amount of eyes is the green "witness" of Boo's attack on Harryhausen's, who has twenty eyes in total!
- Extremely Short Timespan: The bulk of the film takes place over the course of two days.
- Eye Scream: When Boo sneezes on him, Mike sprays his eye with disinfectant, leaving it looking very irritated.
- The Faceless: Every CDA member, with the exception of #001: Roz.
- Fast-Roping: How the CDA, or Child Detection Agency, enter a scare floor when the 2319 alarm is pulled. With varying degrees of success.
- Fingore: Happens to Mike twice, first when Roz closes the window to the help desk on his fingers, then when a kid bites his index finger.
- First-Name Basis: Waternoose is the only character to refer to Sulley by his first name, James. Randall does it once while talking to Mike, and he himself is referred to only by his first name, and we only find out his surname of Boggs from Celia.
- "James, this company has been in my family for three generations. I would do anything to keep it from going under."
- "I'm always watching you, Wazowski. Always watching. Always."
- "Just think about a few names, will ya? Loch Ness, Bigfoot, The Abominable Snowman. They all got one thing in common: banishment! We could be next!" Guess who Mike and Sulley meet after they get banished?
- The scene where Boo's screaming causes the light to flicker while her laughter causes a power overload failure in Mike & Sulley's apartment.
- An extremely subtle one, but when Mike is running away from Randall only for Randall to be shown lying in wait for Mike, Randall is camouflaged right near one of Waternoose's portraits. Randall and Waternoose were later revealed to be working together.
- "One of these days... I'm going to let you teach that guy a lesson."
- Boo reveals through her drawings that Randall is the monster assigned to her, and is thus the best designated to scare her out of the entire company. This becomes relevant much later when Randall becomes her, Sulley, and Mike's biggest threat and Boo is initially too scared to help.
- During the first 2319 and the first time the CDA show up, Roz slams the front panel of her desk shut. She later slams it shut on Mike's fingers. At the end of the film it's revealed she is the head of the CDA.
- For Want of a Nail: If Mike hadn't forgotten to file his paperwork, Sulley wouldn't have found Boo, and Randall and Waternoose would never have been discovered.
- Full-Name Ultimatum: An angry Celia makes her presence known to Mike by shouting, "Michael Wazowski!" It stops him dead in his tracks and gives him an Oh, Crap! moment.
- Fun with Flushing: Sulley gets some of Boo's toys tangled up on him when he re-enters the monster world. He tries to get rid of them by flushing them down the toilet, but it gets clogged up and overflows. He then has to dump them in someone's locker, where they reappear later as a Brick Joke.
- Funny Octopus: There's an octopus-like sushi chef working in the restaurant named Harryhausen's. Like all the patrons, this octopus character is terrified of the human toddler Boo.
- Gambit Roulette: Mike and Sulley's plan to get Waternoose to confess depended greatly on random chance, for instance the fact that the agents wouldn't follow Sulley after he pushed over the cans. But this is justified since they had only under a minute to think up of the plan.
- Genre-Busting: It's a monster movie/kid flick/invasion movie/sci-fi/family drama/comedy.
- Gentle Giant: Sulley scares young kids for money. He's a very jovial guy off-duty.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- The snowcone:Yeti: (holding up balls of Yellow Snow) Snow cone?
Yeti: No no no, don't worry. It's lemon.
- This is also invoked in the scene where Sulley and Mike are trying to get Boo to laugh again to reactivate all the closet doors. Mike tries a trick where he lands on a metal bar right between his legs and is in notable pain. Even though you can't see anything, ouch.
- The snowcone:
- Gilligan CutMike: What do you wanna do, walk out in public with that thing? And then I suppose we'll just waltz right up to the factory!
(Sulley looks thoughtful; cut to outside the factory)
Mike: I can't believe we are waltzing right up to the factory!
- Glass Smack and Slide: The "bloopers" shows one of the CDA members missing his entrance by Fast-Roping, the window pane not pivoting, and smacking flat against it before sliding down.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Mike certainly thinks this way about Celia.
- Handshake Refusal: Before the scarers start working on the first day, Sulley turns to Randall at the next station, holds out his hand and says, "Hey, may the best monster win," expecting a handshake. Randall refuses to give one and simply says, "I plan to."
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: Unlike most examples, it seems genuinely innocuous (since the one asking it is concerned about the company's welfare and, by extension, its public relations) until The Reveal.
- Heel Realization: After inadvertently scaring Boo, Sulley realizes how wrong scaring children is.
- He Knows Too Much: Mr. Waternoose states this trope after Sulley asks Mr. Waternoose to let Boo go, due to their knowledge of his conspiracy.
- The Hero: How Mike views himself. Actually, it's Sulley, even though Mike is responsible for manning Sulley's day-to-day matters. See also The Lancer and Sidekick, both below.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: They even have a song about it!
- Hilarious Outtakes: Continuing the tradition with their last two films, fake bloopers were added a few weeks after the film's opening during the closing credits and later included on the home video releases. This was the last Pixar film to do this, as the creators felt that it was getting old (not to mention, it wouldn't be as convincing underwater).
- Hollywood Chameleon: Randall.
- Honest Corporate Executive: Sulley becomes one at the end of the film.
- I Have Just One Thing to Say: *Mike pulls a sock out of his mouth and throws it* Catch!
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: The Yeti's excuse:Yeti: Oh, would you look at that? We're out of snow cones.
- Subverted in that he really was going to make more snow cones, possibly to cheer the monsters up.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Despite the fact that the cast is full of adorably inhuman monsters they still manage to resemble their voice actors, especially Mike who could not be more Billy Crystal. And Randall is Steve Buscemi. According to the DVD Commentary, Buscemi accused the casting director of typecasting him when he first saw a picture of Randall.
- Invisibility: Randall, being based on a chameleon and all.
- Ironic Echo: When Mike parodies the training instructor:Mike: Well, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I spotted several big mistakes.
- The monsters are as afraid of the children as they are of them, due to the fact they believe their touch is lethal.
- After helping Waternoose exile Sulley and Mike to the Himalayas, Randall gets exiled at the end of the film.
- Is That Cute Kid Yours?: Waternoose asks Sulley this when he first sees Boo, though Sulley and Mike cover this by saying that she's Sulley's "cousin's sister's daughter" and that it's "Bring an Obscure Relative to Work" Day. Waternoose seems to go along with the idea. Later, the company's day care worker mistakes Sulley to be Boo's father as well.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Mike refers to Boo as "it" a lot in the first half of the film. He stops by the end.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Waternoose did this quite a while ago when he decides that nothing would stop him from saving his company.
- Kick the Dog:
- Intentionally performed by Randall on way too many occasions to count.
- Waternoose wasn't kidding about what he said with the promise to keep his company afloat, due to his kidnapping of Boo. Yes, he would do anything to keep it afloat — even if it meant breaking the law.
- Kick the Morality Pet: Unintentionally performed by Sulley toward Boo, leading to a Heel Realization.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Waternoose's line towards Randall of, "Sullivan was twice the scarer you will ever be!" is this. Randall gives him a Death Glare and a growl for it.
- A minor example happens when George prevents Charlie from calling yet another 2319 and instead stuffs the sock into Charlie's mouth and shoves him into the human world.
- Knight Templar: Waternoose wants to save his family business and Monstropolis from collapse due to a power shortage. His "solution" drives him into would-be child slaughterer.
- The Lancer: How Mike views Sulley. Actually, Mike is The Lancer for Sulley. See also The Hero, above, and Sidekick, below.
- Large Ham: The Yeti / Abominable Snowman, who is played by John Ratzenberger.
- Last-Name Basis: Sulley is usually referred to as Sulley or Sullivan. Mostly Randall calls him the latter. The only person to really refer to Sulley by his first name, James, is Waternoose. Mike is also referred to by his surname of Wazowski by Roz and Randall.
- Laugh of Love: We get the following exchange between Mike and Celia:Mike: I just got us into a little place called, um, Harryhausen's.
Celia: [gasps] Harryhausen's? But it's impossible to get a reservation there!
Mike: Not for Googly-bear.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: CDA Agent #1 gives this order to Sulley and Mike at the end of the movie, regarding the whole mess that resulted from Boo's kidnapping.
- Lizard Folk: Randall.
- Lovecraft Lite: The proliferation of scales and tentacles and the inter-dimensional aspects. In addition, the trope is played with, in that the monsters regard the human world as a dangerous place and treat Boo like a pint-sized Eldritch Abomination. This also counts as Fridge Brilliance; the monsters, many of which count as Eldritch Abominations, in turn consider us the real monsters.
- The Man Behind the Man: Waternoose.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Roz and Randall enjoy good-natured jokes as the bloopers indicate.
- Meaningful Echo: Albeit with an inversion.Roz: And I don't want to see any paperwork on this.
- The Men in Black: The CDA. Extra points for being a complete inversion of the Trope Namer — they're protecting unsuspecting monsters from hideous humans.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Sulley happens to stumble upon Randall apparently cheating the system by having a door at his station after hours, only to discover a much larger child-kidnapping conspiracy out of it that went all the way up to Waternoose himself.
- Missed Him by That Much:
Randall: You just keep the machine up and running, I'll take care of the kid. And when I find whoever let that kid out... THEY'RE DEAD! (punches open the stall the trio is hiding in, but he isn't looking in their direction; the door closes again before he can notice them) WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?! COME ON! GO! MOVE! NOW!
- Sulley, Mike, and Boo are hiding in a bathroom stall from Randall. Randall punches them open one by one, and Sully flinches as every door opens. Before Randall can burst the stall the trio are hiding in however, his assistant Fungus points that Boo is on the front page. After a short discussion, Randall punches the door Sulley, Mike and Boo are hiding in, but isn't looking at the time, and the door closes before he can spot them. Then he yells at Fungus and chases him out of the bathroom, demanding him to get to work on his plan.
Fungus: (as Randall chases him out of the bathroom) No, I'm not here! I'm going right now!...
Sulley: They're gone.
(A huge splash is seen in the stall Sulley, Mike, and Boo are hiding in)
- Later, Sulley hides underneath a table on the Scare Floor, and Randall materializes right beside him, but is looking the other way so Randall can't see him, and the bell rings before Randall can notice him.
- Mistaken for Gay: Mike and Sulley several times, but it's kept rather subtle.
- The Mole: Both Randall and Waternoose. Before The Reveal showing how grossly vile he really is, the former is only depicted as cocky and mean, thus less surprising than the latter Mole.
- Mondegreen: Boo's dialogue throughout the film consists mostly of babbbling, with occasional words being recognizable such as "Kitty" and "Tigger". Director Pete Doctor noted in the DVD Commentary that this created an almost Rorschach-like effect, where people could hear her saying different distinct things, especially in the scene where she's singing while using the restroom.
- Monster Closet: Technically, the closets aren't hidden, but it's impossible to tell from the outside when one of them's gonna open and reveal a monster.
- Monster Façade: Doing this is the job of all the Scarers: they need to pretend to be vicious and scary because the screams of terrified children are their main source of energy.
- Mood Whiplash: When Sulley is fighting Randall it's funny since Randall is invisible. But when Randall starts to strangle Sulley the mood gets a bit serious.
- Motive Misidentification: Mike thinks Randall's behavior and motivation is all about breaking the scare record up until he flat out tells him it's not.
- Multi-Armed Multitasking: The sushi chef.
- Multiple Head Case:
- My God, What Have I Done?: Sulley is deeply shaken when he sees the effect that his scaring demonstration has on Boo, and by extension the effect his scaring has on human children in general.Sulley: Did you see the way she looked at me?
- Mysterious Middle Initial: It's not revealed what Sulley's middle initial of P stands for.
- Nested Mouths: In Harryhausen's, one of the monsters has a second monster for a tongue, which eats the food.
- Never Say "Die": Averted before the first scene even ends, and directly said many, many times as an example of how dangerous children are to the monster world. But one of these qualifies as a moment of funny:Sulley: This might sound crazy, but I don't think the kid's dangerous.
Mike: (dripping with sickly-sweet sarcasm) Really?! Well, in that case, let's keep it. I always wanted a pet... that could kill me!
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Sulley throws a teddy bear that looks like Mike at Boo so that she would quiet down and stop laughing and running around, but then Mike angrily snatches it away from her asserting it's his. Guess how Boo reacts.
- Sulley attempts to tell Waternoose of what Randall tried to do, but it turns out they've been conspiring together and sends him and Mike to the Himalayas. Mike calls him out on that.
- Just barely subverted in the ending: Although Sulley and Mike ultimately manage to get Boo back into her bedroom, and expose his boss, their actions also caused the company to nearly be shut down, and almost caused a permanent city-wide blackout as a consequence. The only reason it didn't turn out that way was because it was discovered that the children's laughter had 10x the power output of scream. In addition, the Scarers seem well-adjusted to the Laughter switch.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Randall delivers one to Sulley while invisible so Sulley can't fight back. Mike doesn't realise Sulley's being beaten up because he can't see Randall.
- Non-Mammalian Hair:
- Roz (a.k.a. CDA Agent #1)is a large slug-like monster with a tuft of white hair on her head.
- Also, some of the monsters, whether resembling toads, slugs or octopi, will inevitably have some form of hair on their heads.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: Boo to Randall, right after beating the crud out of him to save Sulley.
- Odd Couple: Sulley and Mike. See also Opposites Attract, below.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Boo does it several times.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Mike during the line from Roz. "And I'm sure you filed your paperwork correctly. For once. [beat, Mike's eye widens] Your stunned silence is very reassuring."
- Sulley and Mike as they escape Harryhausen's only for them to realize that the CDA uses the 835 to decontaminate the restaurant.
- Sulley and Mike entering the factory with Boo, only to find the lobby swarming with CDA agents. Another one follows moments later when they see Boo heading towards Waternoose.
- Mike upon hearing Celia's furious voice shouting his name and seeing her stride towards him with cones around her neck, as well as those on her snakes.
- Mike and Sulley get one after Waternoose's Wham Line, as they realise they're about to be banished.
- Also Randall, after Sulley and Boo turn the tables on him and Sulley makes it very clear he's about to get his comeuppance.
- Also Waternoose, when he tries to snatch Boo from her bed, only to discover he has snatched the simulated child in the simulation room, and the CDA has recorded every word he's said.
- Opposites Attract: Mike and Sulley.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: The monster world is home to a wide variety of monster species, each with their own bizarre physical quirks, from having lots of eyes to simply being large-jawed heads on legs.
- Overreacting Airport Security: The CDA's response to a 2319 alarm leaves George humiliated.
- Packed Hero: Parodied. Boo loses one of the "eyestalks" of her monster costume in a trash can. Sulley sees it and thinks she is in a pile of garbage, then watches the garbage get swept into a cart, dropped down a chute, and put through an exceedingly brutal compactor. The audience sees her walk away from the garbage can; Sulley faints at every step of the compactor.
- Papa Wolf: Sulley to Boo.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Boo's monster outfit, to an extent, considering her head is looking out through the mouth.
- Peek-a-Bogeyman: Sulley, upon noticing Boo make a drawing of Randall, assures her that Randall isn't coming through the closet by opening the closet door to reveal nothing in there. In the outtakes, Roz is shown to be there, and she says "Guess who?"
- Pig Latin: "Ook-lay in the ag-bay." Lampshaded in the Hilarious Outtakes:Sulley: Look-lay in the bag-bay.
Mike: I think you mean, "Ook-lay in the ag-bay."
Sulley: What? Didn't I, uh...?
Mike: Well, you know, maybe you should just take a minute and ead-ray your ipt-scray!
- Plot Hole: The Abominable Snowman tells Sulley the village is a three-day hike from where they are on the mountain. Three days of hiking does not become thirty seconds just because you are on a sled.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Mike, and Boo to a lesser extent.
- Portal Door and Network: The closet doors.
- Potty Dance: Boo does it at one point in the movie.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Waternoose and Randall's plan to solve the power shortage.
- Power Walk:
- The scarers entering the power company floor. A Shout-Out to The Right Stuff.
- Played with in the "out-takes" where Sulley (in front) trips, and the monsters behind him trip, and the monsters behind them... If you look closely, you can actually see a tentacle from the monster behind him getting caught up around his feet which is why he trips.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: A furious Mike to Sulley after they are banished: "YOU'RE STILL NOT LISTENING?!" Immediately after, he screams with rage and dives at Sulley.
- Production Foreshadowing: Nemo appears as a clown fish on the wall in Harryhausen's, is seen on the wall in the trailer Randall gets banished to, and a Nemo toy is seen among the toys in Boo's room.
- Proscenium Reveal: The film opens with a monster walking into a child's bedroom. He is freaked out when the child starts screaming and starts knocking things over — and then suddenly the lights turn on, an alarm goes off, and the voice "Simulation Terminated!" is heard repeatedly. One wall of the room lifts up, revealing that the child is actually a robot, and we are actually in Monsters, Inc.'s state-of-the-art children's room training simulator, being observed by an instructor and several other students, who start critiquing him about his mistakes.
- Psycho for Hire: Randall Boggs.
- Punch-Clock Villain:
- It turns out that monsters scare children because screams are their source of electricity. Off-duty, they're pretty nice people.Sulley: (to Boo) I'm not going to scare you. I'm off duty!
- Also, Fungus is this as Randall's partnerFungus: I'm sorry, Wazowski, but Randall said I'm not allowed to fraternize with victims of his evil plot.
- It turns out that monsters scare children because screams are their source of electricity. Off-duty, they're pretty nice people.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Randall is especially guilty, and also, to a lesser degree, Mike.
- Rage Breaking Point: After Sulley and Mike are banished, Mike tells Sulley that all he had to do was listen to him about what he thought was going on. Then he realises... YOU'RE STILL NOT LISTENING?!, crosses this, screams with rage and dives at Sulley, knocking the two of them down a snowdrift, and leaving both poised to punch at the other before Mike sees the Abominable Snowman behind Sulley.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Waternoose. Which makes the revelation that he's jumped off the slippery slope beforehand even more surprising.
- Also, CDA Number One. When the matter of what to do about Boo arises, Sulley says "I just want to send her home." CDA Number One replies, "Very good."
- Real Fake Door: Any time a door opens to nothing, especially when Mike and Sully are exiled to the Himalayas.
- Reality Ensues: Discussed at the end when Mike and Sully stop Randall and Mr. Watermoose. Mike talks about how since the CEO of Monsters Inc. was so corrupt and then being arrested, that Monsters Inc. will be shut down and since it provides power to the whole city, no power. Mike also points out they will probably be run out of town. Only Averted due to the discovery that a childs laughter is more powerful than their screams so Monsters Inc. isn't shut down but reworked
- Refuge in Audacity: Mike pulls this twice with Blatant Lies that work. He first tells Waternoose that a disguised Boo is present at work due to it being "Bring An Obscure Relative To Work" Day. Justified due to having to think on the fly. It works, as Waternoose thinks he may have missed the memo.
- He does it again on the Scare Floor when everyone turns to look at him and Sulley, telling them they're rehearsing a scene for the upcoming company play. That also works. Bonus points when, in the outtakes, the play actually gets made.
- Repeat Cut: When the door on which Mike, Sulley and Boo are riding hurtles down a steep slope. In the first shot, you see them travelling down most of slope from behind, then you see a shot of them from the front, followed by a POV shot. But judging by the first shot, it takes them a rather long time to go down the last part of the slope, meaning that the camera must have jumped back a second in time.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: While there are many other reptilian / dinosaurian monsters that aren't villainous in the slightest, Randall is the most obviously reptilian-looking and "serpentine" of them all.
- The Reveal:
- Reverse Mole: Roz is working for the CDA as #1.
- Rewatch Bonus: The scene where Sulley accidentally scares Boo has Mike in the background trying to convince Mr Waternoose that Boo isn't toxic. Waternoose's reactions during that scene include a cartoonish gasp and pantomime raising of hands when he first sees her, a calculating shiftiness of his eyes once Mike starts talking, being so willing to discard a lifetime of teaching during the course of a minute-long speech from Mike that he willingly picks Boo up (which Mike is still hesitant to do after a full day in her company), a different sort of anger during his "how could this happen?" question than would be expected from someone who's just been told a murderous psychopath is using his factory to kidnap children, and asking who else knows about Boo. Assuming the viewer wasn't distracted by the heartbreaking way Boo cowers away from Sulley, it would be implausible for even the most Reasonable Authority Figure to react as calmly as Waternoose does. Rewatching the scene after discovering that he's behind the whole scheme makes all the subtleties of his reaction make perfect sense
- Running Gag:
- Mike is always being cut somehow from images and videos he appears in (in the Monsters, Inc. commercial at the beginning, the M in the "Monsters Inc." corporate logo is hiding him) — and doesn't care.
- It's more implied that he got slipped the idiot pill and didn't notice.Mike: I can't believe it! I'm... on the cover of a magazine!
- The original DVD has a picture of Mike and Sulley — with Mike largely obscured by the hole.
- "23-19! We have a 23-19!" Poor George. He finally wises up enough to pass off the sock to his assistant before he can make a 2319 call.
- Roz is quite the practical joker.Roz: Guess who?
- Scenery Porn:
- The closet door storage chamber is this in a "Holy sh**, this is great!" way.
- All of the doors Sulley and Mike run through during the Randall chase scene. Because the filmmakers just happened to need backgrounds of Hawaii, Japan and Paris, right?
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: The final Randall chase is a stunning example. Contrary to most uses of the trope though, this is entirely justified in-universe because of the nature of the doors.
- Scooby Stack: In this Japanese poster◊, as well as the 2002 DVD and 2009 / 3D Blu-Ray covers of the film.
- Searching the Stalls: Sulley and Boo hide from Randall in a toilet stall. He punches the stalls open one by one, and Sulley flinches as every door opens. Randall actually slams open the stall Sulley is hiding in, but isn't looking at the time. Momentum closes the door before Randall sees them.
- Second Place Is for Losers: Randall certainly seems to think so, and is second-place scarer to Sulley for a while.
- Shovel Strike: Randall's fate. He's banished to a trailer in the bayou where a hillbilly repeatedly whacks him with a shovel, mistaking him for a gator.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: A brief moment of this happens after Sulley and Mike are banished. During a tense moment for Mike and Sulley during their argument, the Abominable Snowman awkwardly excuses himself to leave the cave and make more snow cones, as Mike had just thrown them all at Sulley in his anger.
- Shout-Out: See here.
- Shut Up and Save Me!: Sulley is being wailed on by Randall, who is invisible at the time. Mike shows up, can't see him, and doesn't even notice that Sulley is in danger while he tries to apologize for refusing to help him save Boo. Sulley is saved when Mike unintentionally unveils Randall's position while getting upset at Sulley for "ignoring" him.Mike: Hey look, it's Randall. It's... ohhhhh.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Mike and Celia.Mike: Schmoopsy-poo!
- Sidekick: Mike views Sulley as his sidekick, but everyone else can see that Mike is obviously Sulley's.
- Smug Snake: Randall.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only major female characters in the movie are a little girl with limited dialogue, the forgettable love interest Celia, and Roz the undercover CDA agent, who has little screen time. The male-to-female ratio is 4:2.
- Spanner in the Works: Mike manages to get the ball rolling on uncovering Waternoose's conspiracy by forgetting his paperwork. Because he forgot and had a date that night, he sent Sulley in his place, meaning that Sulley was in the right place to discover Boo's door, which leads to her entering Monstropolis.
- The Starscream: After Waternoose tells Randall to leave no witnesses, Randall replies in a manner that lets the audience know that he's planning to backstab his own boss when this is all over.
- Stealth Pun:
- When Celia's Medusa-like hair keeps kissing Mike, she says, "Michael, you're such a charmer." A snake charmer.
- Near the beginning, we see a gigantic scaly monster crossing the road. He makes the sounds of a chicken.
- The company's name is Monsters, Inc., but is sometimes referred to by its initials, "M.I." Their logo is an M with an eye on it.
- Stylistic Suck: Yes, Mike actually did make "Put that Thing Back Where it Came From or So Help Me" into a musical, complete with mediocre acting/choreography, clumsily-set up backgrounds, and the CDA as ushers. The audience loved it; the critics (of the Monster World) did not. It was probably made in a hurry by the CDA to back Mike and Sulley's alibis as part of their cover-up.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: Mike. At least three times.Mike: ...lie in bed, sleep in, or simply, WORK OUT THAT FLAB THAT'S HANGING OVER THE BED! GET UP, SULLEY!
Mike: Well, then why don't you find someplace for it to sleep...WHILE I THINK OF A PLAN!
Mike: I always wanted a pet THAT COULD KILL ME!
Mike: Once you name it, you start getting attached to it! NOW PUT THAT THING BACK WHERE IT CAME FROM, OR SO HELP ME...!
Randall (to Fungus): If I don't see a new door in my station in 5 seconds, I will personally put you THROUGH THE SHREDDER!!!
- Randall also frequently does this.
- Super Strength: Sulley.
- Surprisingly Happy Ending: The movie seems like it's about to have a Bittersweet Ending in the form of Sulley having to part ways with Boo, but it turns out that Mike Wazowski recreated the door that leads to her room, so Sulley can at least still visit her.
- Tae Kwon Door: Mike slams a door on Randall during their fight to the tune of "I hope that hurt, lizard boy!".
- Take a Third Option: Sulley, upon gaining control of the company, had only two options of what do to with it. He could have made the workers continue scaring kids for energy, or left the company to fall, causing Monstropolis to lose all electricity. He takes a third option that he discovered upon first finding Boo (reminded by the last word of Mike's pep-talk): He opts to make children laugh instead, which produces more electricity than screams of terror did.
- Take My Hand: Sulley to Mike.
- Tempting Fate:
- After Boo sends everyone at Harryhausen's into a panic, Mike tells Sulley while they flee, "Well, I don't think that date could have gone any worse." Cue the CDA initiating an 835 on the restaurant and an Oh, Crap! reaction from Sulley and Mike.
- Sulley to Mike when sneaking Boo into the factory: "Everything's going to be OK." Cue an Oh, Crap! immediately afterwards when they find the lobby swarming with CDA agents.
- Terminally Dependent Society: Implied throughout the film. A major background problem is that kids are harder to scare these days, which is leading to a scream shortage in monster-world where the energy given from screams powers pretty much everything. This is fixed at the end of the movie where making kids laugh becomes the new source of energy.
- That Came Out Wrong: At Harryhausen's, Mike's telling Celia what he told someone else when asked who he thought he would spend the rest of his life with. He's about to say "you", when Sullivan stumbles by outside and Mike accidentally finishes the statement with a surprised "Sulley!?".
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: A Perspective Flip, showing that said things are actually more scared of us.
- This Is Gonna Suck: George in the locker room when he opens the door to his locker and the toys Sulley shoved in there fall on him, seconds before CDA agents pounce on him.Charlie: 2319! We have a 2319!
George (groaning): Oh, dear.
CDA Agents: Get him! (they bowl George over)
- Those Two Guys: Needleman and Smitty.
- Toilet Paper Trail: Mike Wazowski ends up with a piece of toilet paper stuck to his foot after he and Sulley have come out from hiding in the bathroom from Randall. That was one of the hardest things for the animation team to render.
- Torches and Pitchforks: Discussed by Mike when he lists the consequences of everything that happened in the end.Mike: Not to mention the angry mob that'll come after us when there's no more power...
- Treacherous Advisor: Waternoose is revealed to have been behind the conspiracy all along.
- Unstoppable Rage: Sulley, Mike and Boo. Sulley when he releases Boo from the scream extractor, Mike when he and Sulley are banished, and finally Boo in the door vault when she attacks Randall and in doing so saves Sulley.Mike: YOU'RE STILL NOT LISTENING?! (screams with rage and dives at Sulley)
- Verbal Backspace: When Mike accuses Randall of cheating the system to boost his numbers, Randall's reaction almost gives away his deeper intentions, before he corrects himself.Randall: CHEATING?! I— ... Cheating. Right.
- Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Several monsters, but most notably:
- Randall, who has four arms and four legs.
- Mr. Waternoose, who has six legs (although his case is more downplayed considering his design is based on the multilegged spiders and crabs).
- Celia, who has five legs.
- Smitty, who has four arms.
- Several CDA agents, which either have four or six arms.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- At the film's (second) climax, Waternoose himself throws a fit of temper tantrum, straight out yelling to Sulley that he'll kidnap a thousand children before letting his company die. He was about to throw another one immediately, but he can't do much while the CDA escort him out for his crimes. But the second tantrum does take its toll on Sulley's emotions when Mr. Waternoose calls him out for the company's demise and ruining any chances Monstropolis has of recovering from the blackout.
- Before that, Randall flies into a borderline psychosis and tries to murder Sulley because Waternoose all but tells him that he'll never live up to Sulley, no matter what he does or how hard he tries.
- We Need a Distraction: When Randall chases Sulley and Mike through the scare floor to prevent them from revealing Waternoose's plan, Celia announces on the intercom that Randall just broke Sulley's scare record, prompting the other monsters on the floor to mob him with congratulations, allowing Sully and Mike to make their escape.Celia: Go get 'em, Googly-Bear.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Waternoose: "I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die! And I'll silence anyone who gets in my way!"
- Wham Line:
Randall: (chuckles evilly) You still think this is about that stupid scare record!?
- When Mike accuses Randall of cheating a second time, Randall gives him this...
Mike: Well... I did. Right up until... you chuckled like that, and now I'm thinkin' I should just get outta here.
- How Waternoose's duplicity is revealed.Mike: That's not her door...
Waternoose: I know, I know. (Cue Randall.) It's yours. Cue an Oh, Crap!.
- At the end of the film, Waternoose tells Sulley that he'll kidnap a thousand children before the company goes under, knocks him out of the way, and finds the simulation child telling his mother goodnight. Then as he's arrested, he turns angrily to Sulley and says that [[spoiler:the energy crisis will only get worse because of him.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Mike, throughout the movie, as he always thinks he is the star and Sulley is his sidekick. Taken to its logical extreme in the "Company Play" bonus scene.
- Wrong Insult Offence:Randall: Wazowski! Where's the kid, you little one-eyed cretin?
Mike: First of all, it's pronounced cree-tin. If you're going to threaten me, do it properly.
- X Days Since: The scare factory has a sign counting the days since the last accident.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In a satirical fashion Sulley tells Randall because Boo isn't afraid of him anymore, his career as a scarer is over.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Sully unintentionally does away with Waternoose, the old establishment, and heading the company, remakes Monsters Inc. to seek children's laughter instead of fright. The energy crisis is averted.
- "I wouldn't have nothing if I didn't have you..."