Full Name: Henry James Waternoose III
Premiered in: Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Voiced By: James Coburn
Much like Toy Story 2, I had a tough time figuring out which of the two villains was the “main” one in the film, Monsters, Inc. In Randall’s case, while he is certainly the more malicious of the two and was fueled primarily by the resentment that we would later learn was years in the making. However, it cannot be denied that while Randall did what he did because he wanted to, he never would have done so without the okay of Mr. Waternoose and thus we have at least the source of villainy in Monsters, Inc.
Waternoose’s one and only concern is the survival of Monsters, Inc. as children are steadily growing braver by the generation and a severe energy crisis is on the horizon for the entire monster world. Though he has the best scarers on staff, the best just don’t cut it anymore when even the scariest of monsters risk being touched or approached by a “toxic” human child.
However, by circumstance or by his position as CEO of Monsters, Inc., Waternoose is well aware of the propaganda of poisonous children being just that and so he sets his minion, Randall, to not only create a device to “extract” the screams from children but to find and kidnap a child to test the device on. That was something I wish was explored a bit more in both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. Just who inspired the idea that human children were toxic and how Waternoose discovered this to be a lie. I suppose that it could, in a very roundabout way, likely be sourced from the CDA as a means of preventing ambitious monsters like Randall or Waternoose from kidnapping children across the world and, quite literally, torturing the screams right out of them.
While most Disney Villains have done what they did for greed, I find it rather refreshing that it was desperation that drove Waternoose to kidnapping children to combat against the energy shortage. Even so, I can’t help but feel that Waternoose’s actions were amongst the most deplorable ever undertaken by any villain, Disney or Pixar and he, rather scarily, reminds me of the Coachman of Pinocchio. It was one thing for Waternoose to want to kidnap children and risk exposure to the human world, because surely a large enough number from across the world would have drawn eyes to the cause, but the method.
I mean, truly, look at that thing and look what it did to Randall’s little minion. It nearly killed him by sucking him to the point that he became white as a ghost and collapsed in a heap. That was what it did to a adult monster. What then would it have done to a young child?
It would have killed them.
And as Waternoose proclaimed, he would kidnap a thousand children before he’d let Monsters, Inc. die.
In the end, Waternoose is exposed by Mike and Sulley for the villain that he is and he is arrested by the CDA and the future of the company, and the entire monster world, looks grim until Sulley recalls how a child’s laugh is easily ten times more powerful than that of a child’s scream. Needless to say, he is almost instantly promoted to CEO of the new “Laugh Factory” that Monsters, Inc. has become. Rather impressive for a guy who got expelled from college, wouldn’t you say?