- Starring: The vocal talents of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and more.
- Directed by: Dan Scanlon
- Synopsis: “Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.”
- Rated: Rated G
- Must-Watch Trailer:
A prequel that ultimately is unnecessary, yet wonderfully enjoyable, is a nice surprise when my initial fears were that Disney would ruin the beauty of one of my favorite Pixar films of all time. Monsters University brings on the nostalgia and the nuances of its predecessor and invites viewers of all ages to enroll in the fun it brings for all to enjoy. Hit the jump to see if Monsters University is a school worth enrolling in.
See where it all began with Mike and Sulley on the campus of Monsters University. This prequel impresses with animation, characters, story and enjoyment. The strength of any “film franchise” is its continuity and relatability of all of its aspects and Pixar did a decent job with this one. Not only is it an insightful history into some of Pixar’s most beloved and/or recognizable characters (Mike, Sulley, Randall, etc), it is also a meaningful story with a message of a young green one-eyed monster who was always told he couldn’t amount to anything or belong anywhere, yet worked to defy all the naysayers (along with messages of teamwork, self-discovery, friendship, hard work and more).
I found myself smiling, laughing and pointing out all of the little tidbits and homages to the characters that I love from Monsters, Inc as I watched. Interestingly, this film finds a way to take events and experiences of incoming college freshmen and makes it relatable to not only those that have gone through college, but also those that are far from it. From a fun set of Greek Rush games to peer-pressure at parties and more, Monsters University includes so many college themes with its staple family Pixar flair and makes it surprisingly easy for all to follow and enjoy. (There aren’t that many G-rated college themed films out there, folks.) Fun and full of color, college was a place I wanted to go back to as I watched. 🙂
Prior to watching, I wasn’t aware of all of the talent involved in voicing the characters and was pleasantly surprised to read Charlie Day, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Aubrey Plaza, John Krasinksi and Helen Mirren as additions to Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi! They did a really great job grabbing the essence of a college campus and characters you meet during college. The voices of those characters added a different element that made Monsters University even more fun.
Some added bits that just made the Pixar-created world of monsters so great once again was the little details in architecture, names, symbols and more that added to the world of “Monstropolis.” What Monsters University does seem to lack is the heartfelt emotion that made the first one such a success. Remember the feeling you had at the end of Monsters Inc? Of course you do! Who can forget? Well, Monsters University has a few moments that try but don’t reach the same level of the “awwww” factor.
That along with its predictability make this prequel acceptable but not as much of a solid homerun as the first (i.e. “Boo”). I am just glad the makers of Monsters University took some learning from the bad sequel, Cars 2.
When you go to see Monsters University (and you should go see it…3D isn’t really necessary), get there early and do not miss the traditional Pixar short that precedes the main feature. This year’s Pixar short, Blue Umbrella, is cute but really won points with me with its amazing animation that looked SO real! Wow! Very impressive.
Monsters University definitely brings back some of the Pixar magic with a beautiful animated feature that contains a wonderful message with enjoyable storytelling and equally great characters. Tying directly into (debatably) the greatest Pixar movie ever, Monsters University rides on the success of its predecessors and offers us a subsequent prequel that is acceptable, fun and comparable to the original (a not-so attainable feat in the world of prequels/sequels).
My Score: 4 out of 5 stars for Monsters University
(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer