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TK's MORNING BUZZ: In 'Monsters, Inc.,' the Monsters Are as Scared of Kids as Kids Are of Them -- a Powerful Message Right Now

5 Nov, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

What a tremendous opening for Monsters, Inc., the latest animated film from Disney and Pixar.

The film, the latest in a line that began with Toy Story, grossed anestimated $63.5 million over the three-day theatrical weekend, setting a newrecord for a cartoon -- and a new record for Disney.

I'm really not surprised. As escapist fare goes, this one certainly takes the cake -- and it's also the perfect antidote to the fear we Americans continue to feel in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the anthrax letters and the periodic threats from Osama and high-alerts from the FBI.

The plot, of course, revolves around the monsters that hide out in kids' closets -- a very real fear to anyone who's ever been, or raised, a toddler.

But these monsters, it turns out, are as scared of kids as kids are of them -- and that's a powerful message right now.

To some degree or another, children of all ages are affected by what's happening in the world today. Even my three-year-old knows some "bad men crashed a plane" into some buildings, killing lots of people.

The message in Monsters, Inc. is the same one issued by President FranklinRoosevelt the last time America was attacked nearly 60 years ago -- the onlything you have to fear is fear itself.

We all know better, of course -- and yet it's reassuring to hear these words, this message, just as it was for our parents and grandparents in 1941.

It's a telling sign of the importance of entertainment in our culture that the calming stroke this time was delivered not by the leader of the free world, but by an animated Disney creation.

The effect, however, is the same. Even I feel a little better after having seen Monsters, Inc. last night with my kids.


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