In a year of generally dreary commercial releases such as “The Mummy Returns,” “Joy Ride,” “Pearl Harbor” and ? my favorite Angelina-Jolie-in-a-tight-leather-halter-top vehicle ? “Tomb Raider,” “Monsters, Inc.” stands out as a film from a major studio that is actually worth seeing.

The story of Mike Wazowski, voiced by Billy Crystal, and Sulley, voiced by John Goodman, lets in a two-year-old girl, Boo, to the monster world, where they’re told children are unbelievably toxic and any contaminants from the human world were pounced upon by the Child Detection Agency.

This world was powered by the screams of children, a rapidly disappearing resource as children stopped getting scared as easily.

In an attempt to gain the top of the leaderboard for screams collected the movie’s antagonist, Randall Boggs ? voiced by Steve Buscemi ? stayed late to sneak in extra work. Wandering the facilities, Sulley came across an uncollected door to the human world and took a peak. Before he knew what happens Boo snuck through and chaos ensues.

Shedding the usual Disney pacing and sense of “humor,” Pixar gives us a visual treat with a wry sense of humor that avoids the typical Disney mushiness.

Instead of beating us to death with morals, happy endings and blatant attempts at comedy, the film is full of subtle jokes of the sort that allow 25 year olds to watch Looney Tunes on the Cartoon Network and find them just as funny as when we were six.

The pacing keeps the film from ever growing dull and gives us the most amazing animated chase scene I’ve even seen. Stomping even the best of Warner Brothers, this chase is fast, furious and hilarious. Hopping through doors to other places, from Asia to an island paradise, Pixar gets to use its creative minds to create beautiful locales.

The visual brilliance of the film is unbelievable. The detail in which the city of the monsters is amazing and the realism of the movement of Sulley’s hair are gorgeous. They’re far beyond Pixar’s earlier works, such as “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2” and the short piece “Geri’s Game.”

The treatment of the two-year-old girl Boo is just funny. Seeing a large monster who makes a living scaring children and his partner running, petrified, from a little girl is an image that has the potential to be unspeakably funny ? and it succeeds.

The depth of the characters is another place where “Monsters, Inc.” succeeded with flying colors.

The characters development culminated in a scene where Mike and Sulley were banished to the Himilayas to spend time with the banished Yeti. Sulley was determined to find Boo, who he became paternalistic towards and was given the ultimatum of losing Mike to risk his life to find and save Boo or being forever banished to live with Yeti, who continually offered yellow snow-cones ? colored with lemon ? and was stuck playing the uncomfortable host during Mike and Sulley’s confrontation.

Overall, this is a near-perfectly orchestrated movie that deserves all the praise it’s been receiving.

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