FROM "MONSTERS, INC"
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Yes, I am not including this villain’s appearance in the film's Prequel "Monsters University". Sorry to disappoint some of you, but I felt like the Prequel lacked the heart, comedy, and creativity that the first film had, and was just made as a cash-grab. I also didn't buy Randall's transformation story from being a shy nerdy loser, to the cold vengeful monster that we know from the first film, who wants revenge on Sully for just beating him in a game that involves scaring. I really felt like that aspect was really down played into the plot; boringly cliched; and forcefully written in to appeal to the fans of the first film. I never at all sensed the Randall that we're all familiar with during his transformation story-arc; I always felt that out of character nerdy personality that the writers forcefully gave him throughout the film, even in his last scene when he swears revenge against Sully which is supposed to be the moment where we sense the Randall that we saw in the first movie. Also how the nerdy Randall gets to be part of the "Cool" kid’s crowd that turns him into a jerk is hardly addressed if not never addressed at all. So for those of you who think I'm going to talk about Randall being a misunderstood character that was evidenced in the Prequel; I'm not, because for me, the Prequel didn't happen! With that out of the way, let’s get to why I put Randall on the list.
The first thing I want to talk about is his design and abilities, which I think are really cool. I love that he's a purple reptilian like creature that’s quick and slick, and can change colors and turn himself invisible to blend into his environment and sneak up on his opponents (Almost like Predator). Compared to the last villains on the list, this guy actually does pose as a legitimate threat to our main characters. I mean the way he sneaks up on the characters and attacks them with his abilities as he smiles menacingly are so cool and unpredictable that it's no wonder why he rivals against Sully as a top scarer. This monster will appear when you least expect him too, especially when he makes his first appearance in the locker room, and when he opens the door to help the Company's CEO throw our two main characters into the Himalayas to banish them. I also thought the scene where he blends into the CEO's picture was pretty cool. I think the most tense scene in the film that involves Randall sneaking around with his powers is when he hears a noise and turns himself invisible to look for the person who he suspects is in the room, which got me just as nervous as the characters are, especially when considering how close he is to them.With his powers to blend into the environment, not only does he use it to scare people and sneak up on them when they least expect it, but he also use's it to toy around with his victims; and will beat the living crap out of them, without them ever seeing him. His powers and instincts are so good that unlike the previous Disney villains on my list, these powers actually do make this villain a really threatening obstacle for the characters.
One of the things I really do admire about this villain is that he's voiced by one of my favorite comical character actors Steve Buscemi, and instead of sounding like a comical nerdy and wimpy type of villain (Not counting the Prequel), he too makes this character sound threatening! Ok, he's not scary, but he is menacing and intimidating which for me is good enough. Even when he's just rival that wants to be the top scarer, he's still menacing. The crazy thing about Buscemi voicing this character is usually when I see Buscemi play or voice a villain, I see him more as a comical jerk instead of an actual threat; with this villain on the other hand; I don't see that at all. Yes the animation plays a big part in it, but so does Buscemi's voice acting; and the creative and sinister design of the character mixed with Busecmi's voice acting that's fun and intimidating, really does give us one of the most threatening and menacing villains that Pixar has ever created. Best moments when Busecmi really makes the character sound intimidating and fun at the same time are the scenes when he threatens and interrogates Mike voiced by Billy Crystal; Busecmi's intimidation, along with Crystal's humor and fear really make these moments' both fun and intense.
While Buscemi’s voice acting is one of the main reasons that makes the villain so awesome; another thing I admire about Buscemi as the villain are the nods to his career. First of all, we can thank the actor who played the voice of Sully, John Goodman, for pushing Buscemi to voice this role, because Busemi's performance is not only great, but this film is the first film where Buscemi and Goodman are in a film together that's not directed by the Coen Brothers, and the film's that they were in together before this film were "Barton Fink", "The Hudsucker Proxy", and "The Big Lebowski". Speaking of the Coen Brothers, in one scene in the movie, Randall threatens his henchman Fungus to get him another door, or else he'll throw him into the wood shredder, which is used to shred the doors that are considered to be too dangerous. While Randall’s threat works in the context of the plot, as well as sounding threatening; Randall's threat is also a really subtle reference to the Coen Brothers movie "Fargo" when Steve Busecmi gets fed into a Wood Chipper. A reference that I caught which I think is more coincidental than a clever nod is in the gangster classic "Reservoir Dogs", Buscemi complains about getting a color related alias called Mr.Pink, and requests that he'd be called Mr.Purple instead. In this film, he's voicing a purple monster. Again, I think its more coincidental than it is an intentional nod to a name that Buscemi's character wanted in "Reservoir Dogs", but just the same, I think it's pretty cool that Buscemi is playing a monster who's a color that another well known Buscemi character wanted to be named after. While the villain and film does carry a few references to Buscemi’s career, there are indeed some Pixar references that involve this villain as well. When Randall is testing his camouflage ability before scarring the kids, one of the pictures he's blending into is the Cloud Wall Paper from Andy's room in "Toy Story" (As seen above in this paragraph), which is not only a cute reference to the film that put Pixar on the map, but now makes me now wonder if Randall has ever at all scared Andy or his baby Sister. In fact, in the last scene with Randall after that cool chase during the climax, the door that Randall gets thrown into before our characters destroy it, leads to the trailer that was shown in "A Bugs Life", with a hillbilly family beating Randall up with a shovel thinking that he's a gator; and if you look at the background, you can even see a "Pizza Planet" truck parked by the trailer. The film itself has plenty of other references that relate to Pixar movies (As well as monster movies in general), but these two references to the previous Pixar films were the ones that always stood out to me the most.
I will admit, the thing I didn't really like about the villain is his scheme. His scheme is to use a machine that can suck out all the life out of children to power more than one barrel, and the little girl that Mike and Sully are protecting plays out as a test subject, which the girl herself fears Randall from the past times that she's been scared by him. Now, I do like the idea of Randall's evil scheme and I do love that Boo has a strong fear of Randall, and in the end conquers her fear by beating him up to save Mike and Sully. However, here are my problems with the plan and the villain himself. First of all, when Randall accidentally kidnaps Mike by mistaking him for Boo, how did Randall think that Mike was Boo? I know the room was dark and Mike is small, but for a monster that sneaks into dark rooms to scare kids for half of his life, it seems implausible that Randall wouldn't be able to see Mike, especially with his unusual shape. I also don't understand why the company even needs a machine at all, but I'll get to that later. As for Randall's defeat, while I always do cheer for Boo to beat up Randall whenever I watch this film; I had to put him low on the list because he's getting creamed by a kid who's not even half his size, which is a pretty embarrassing way for a good villain like Randall to go.
Another reason why I put Randall low on the list is because the people that work for him are either boring or don't make a whole lot of sense of why they’re attached to Randall’s scheme. Randall's assistant who always stays by his side is a three eyed red monster with chicken legs, and a body that almost resembles a fish named Fungus voiced by Frank OZ, and man is he boring. I never at all got a laugh from this character, nor found the character to be fun or interesting. He's just a bland nerdy assistant who helps Randall and occasionally messes things up or gets into trouble, and the situations where he gets abused by Randall and the heroes really aren't all that funny at all. Even when he nearly gets the life sucked out of him by that machine, I didn't laugh at all; I thought it was boring and kind of awkward. The only time when I sort of laughed is when he puts on the Groucho Mark glasses which make him look like the actor voicing him, that's it. Outside of his creative design, he's really one of the most boring and forgettable henchman that Pixar and Disney has ever created.
In a plot twist, Randall also has the Company's CEO Henry J. Waternoose (Voiced by the late James Coburn) in on his evil plan, and I have to say, that was a twist I did not see coming. I know I should have since his business is failing but before he reveals to be working with Randall, he actually starts out as a really likable businessman (Who by the way, has the coolest design in the whole movie), who motivates his workers; is sad that he might lose his family business; and actually has a close relationship with Sully. Even when he reveals to be part of Randall's plan, he's pissed at Randall for having him banish Sully because of his evil plan, even as going far as to say that Randall is nowhere near as scary as Sully. However, even though he's upset about banishing Sully, he still doesn't hesitate with ordering Randall to kill him and catch the girl, as well as not holding back when he's chasing after Sully and the girl. While he does plan to kidnap thousands of children to have the life sucked out of them to save his company, he doesn't commit this evil crime out of the sake of being evil, he does it out of desperation to save his company and to keep the power in the city running. We still hate him for his evil act, but we understand why he would stoop to such a low…well, sort of.
The problem that I have with the scheme that Waternoose approves Randall committing is Waternoose states that children are toxic and that one touch can kill them, and because of that, monsters are afraid to go near the children and if a child comes close to the monster, the child's door is considered to be too dangerous and as a result, the door gets shredded. The belief of monsters being afraid of children thinking that they're toxic does lead to many comedic possibilities that do work really well, however, after finding out that children aren't toxic and that they don't pose as a threat to monsters, why still go along with Randall's plan? Is it because that kidnapping children with Randall's machine is much easier since it can fill more than one barrel? Ok, I get it, but at the same time, I don't see the need too, since the company's been doing it for generations, and the fact that children aren't no longer considered to be toxic, he can get more scare fuel than he ever dreamed of. In fact, even before it's revealed that children aren't toxic, why go along with Randall's plan to kidnap toxic children and suck out all of their life; kidnapping toxic children is more dangerous than it is scaring them. Did Waternoose know that children weren't toxic all along; well if that's the case, why come up with this propaganda? Is it to prevent monsters from befriending children since they have hearts; they seem to be ok with just scaring them and getting power for their city, whether the children are deadly or not. The plan really doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you think about it and that to me is the strongest weakness to both of these villain’s plan.
While Randall and Waternoose's scheme hardly doesn't make a lick of sense, along with Randall having a boring henchman and in the end gets his butt whopped by a little girl, Randall is still an awesome villain with his cool design; fun and menacing personality being voiced by a really fun actor that proves that he can be intimidating; and having cool abilities that seems like our characters don't stand chance when fighting against him. He's not the scariest villain I've seen from Disney and Pixar, but I do know for a fact that my young childhood self would never ever want to see a monster like Randall come out of my closet to scare me or kidnap me.
"I'll take good care of the kid!"