Monstro is an enormous whale and the five antagonist in Pinocchio. While Pinocchio spends the night in Stromboli's troupe and, later, Pleasure Island, Gepetto searches for his son. Taken to sea, the toymaker, Figaro and Cleo are swallowed whole (complete with a boat) by Monstro. The whale later swallows Pinocchio, when the little wooden boy comes searching for his father. Monstro has a reputation as a "whale of a whale" and is feared by all the creatures of the sea, and apparently on land, as even Jiminy knew of him and of his deeds. In Pinocchio, Monstro was animated by Wolfgang Reitherman. The whale also appears in Kingdom Hearts.
Joe Grant's Character Model Department was responsible for the design of Monstro the whale. Models were constructed both of Monstro himself and of his belly, complete with skeleton. In addition, inspirational sketch artist Gustaf Tenggren created a watercolour of Gepetto in Monstro's belly.
The animation of Monstro was originally to be assigned to Vladimir Tytla (animator of Doc, Grumpy, Stromboli, and, later, Yen Sid, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Chernabog, Dumbo, and Friend Owl), but, perhaps out of worry that Tytla might get carried away, Disney eventually assigned Wolfgang Reitherman to the task. He animated Monstro as a cunning creature with a brain, making his pursuit of his prey all the more frightening. To Reitherman can also be attributed, to an extent, the timing and staging of Monstro's chase sequences, which were timed to suggest the whale's great weight and power. Reitherman drew a set of sketches for a discarded sequence showing Monstro consuming Gepetto's boat; Monstro was to emerge suddenly on the otherwise serene sea scene, first looking like a large mound before revealing his teeth and swallowing the boat in one movement before disappearing underwater once more.
Monstro is first mentioned in the film when Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket receive a message from the Blue Fairy that the whale has swallowed Gepetto, Figaro and Cleo when the toymaker took to sea to rescue Pinocchio from Pleasure Island. The three are still alive, inside Monstro's belly. Against Jiminy's warnings, Pinocchio resolves to find and rescue Gepetto. Though Jiminy tries to dissuade Pinocchio, warning that Monstro is "a whale of a whale... he swallows ships whole!", he does not hesitate to join the wooden boy in his search at the bottom of the sea. The two search for Monstro; mention of the whale's name causes the sea creatures to flee in terror. Meanwhile, in Monstro's belly, Gepetto and Figaro are trying to catch fish to eat. The toymaker tells Figaro that he fears that they will starve in the belly of the sleeping whale.
Monstro wakes at the sight of a school of tuna swimming nearby. Opening his great eyes, the whale pursues the fish, mouth open, tearing through the ocean. When Pinocchio sees Monstro approaching, he flees for his life, pushing past the tuna, though he is nevertheless consumed by the beast. The sprightly Jiminy escapes the creature's jaws, but, on discovery that Pinocchio has been swallowed, tries to enter Monstro's now closed mouth. Jiminy tries to get in but he won't open his mouth. Inside the whale's belly, Pinocchio, reunited with his father, proposes that they escape in a raft (constructed by Gepetto) when Monstro opens his mouth. When told that "everything comes in... nothing goes out" of Monstro's jaws, the wooden boy suggests that they start a fire to make the whale sneeze.
Monstro once again opens his eyes, this time to find smoke rising from his blowhole. He begins taking deep breaths; while his mouth is open, Pinocchio, Gepetto and the pets try to escape; they succeed when Monstro finally sneezes, sending them flying out to the sea. After another powerful sneeze, an enraged Monstro pursues the raft while Pinocchio and Gepetto row for their lives. Monstro dives underwater and emerges underneath the raft; Pinoccho and his father row away in time, but when Monstro leaps after them, they are forced to jump into the sea. The whale smashes the raft into pieces with his tail. Pinocchio saves his father from drowning and pulls him to shore, with Monstro in hot pursuit. As the whale builds up speed, the waves drifting from the cliffs of the shore hinder Pinocchio. Monstro leaps into the air, aiming to consume and kill the two. Finally, paddling madly, the wooden boy swims through the hole in the cliffs just as Monstro smashes into a giant cliff, the impact of which sends Pinocchio and Gepetto flying onto the beach. As the toymaker comes to, Jiminy, Figaro and Cleo are washed onto the shore. Pinocchio, however, didn't survive the blow. The puppet is later revived, and turned into a real boy, by the Blue Fairy.
Monstro had a guest star appearance in a Bonkers comic story titled "Whale of a Tale", published in the December 1994 issue of Disney Adventures. In this story, he is not villainous, but rather a very polite (albeit destructive due to his size) actor who was simply playing a villainous role in Pinocchio and had not found work in the movies since then. He is duped by a gang of crooks, posing as a movie company, into breaking into banks for them to rob, and upon finding out the truth, helps Bonkers catch the criminals.
Monstro made various cameo appearances on the show.
- In Clarabelle's Christmas List, Donald reels in Monstro when trying to reel in Santa's Naughty and Nice list.
- In Ask Von Drake, Monstro was seen during Ludwig Von Drake's headcount of all the Disney character guest.
Monstro appears as both a character and world from Kingdom Hearts. Like many of the worlds from the original game, it also appears in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as well. Monstro is an immense space whale that swims the Lanes Between, so large that its innards are a world to themselves, similar to Deep Space, and have also appeared as an arena for the Mirage Arena matches in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix. However, despite its monstrous size, it is actually fought as a boss in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, in an oceanic arena seemingly based upon Pinocchio's world. Although Monstro is considered a world, it lacks a Keyhole, and its mobile nature means that Sora and his friends cannot always reach it whenever they try.
Monstro is one of the few worlds in Kingdom Hearts that do not need to be cleared to beat the game, but Gepetto and Pinocchio will not appear in Traverse Town until it is completed. Furthermore, if the player waits until they have cleared Hollow Bastion to venture through Monstro, Riku will not appear in any of the world's cutscenes or battles.
Monstro appears in Kingdom Hearts as a supporting world, where Pinocchio and Geppetto temporarily live until being rescued. Within Monstro dwell many Heartless, including one called the Parasite Cage, which eats Pinocchio, trapping him within its cage-like stomach, and delivers the puppet to Riku, who wishes to use Pinocchio's heart to rescue Kairi. After Kingdom Hearts is sealed, Monstro presumably returns to his world.
He later reappears in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, as a figment of Sora and Riku's memories. Monstro himself is not physically seen, but card rooms resembling his bowels are explored.
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final MixEdit
Monstro makes a brief appearance at the ride's climax. Just after escaping Pleasure Island (Pinocchio), the riders are warned by Jiminy that the whale is approaching. Suddenly, Monstro bursts out of the ocean and lunges at the riders, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The riders veer away just in time.
Monstro appears in both version of the show as a lead-in to Mickey falling into the whirlpool and the stormy ship scene, ending the Dancing Bubbles sequence at the Disney's Hollywood Studios version and coming after the I've Got No Strings scene in the Disneyland version.
Monstro's biggest appearance at Disneyland is in the Storybook Land attraction. Guests ride boats through Monstro's mouth, the whale serving as a tunnel to a land of minature buildings based off of various Disney films.