From the animated motion picture masters that created the critically acclaimed “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Cars” comes the anticipated prequel to the 2001 movie “Monsters Inc.” Yet with Pixar’s last two movies (“Cars 2” and “Brave”) receiving mixed to sup-par reviews online expectations for the movie were mixed.
Hoping to regain their popularity, Pixar brings us “Monsters University.” Will this prequel to one the best-received children’s movie be enough to bring Pixar back into the competitive mix or will it turn out to be its frightening end?
When six-year-old monster Michael “Mike” Wazowski is inspired to become a “scarier” (a monster that terrifies children and harvests their scream’s in order to provide power to their world) he works hard and eleven years later is finally accepted into the “scarring program” at Monsters University.
However do to his trifling figure and not frightening appearance Mike is looked down upon and severely criticized by his fellow scare student James “Sulley” Sullivan. As a result an unprofessional rivalry develops that carries over into their classes and ultimately gets them both removed from the program.
Setting aside their differences Mike and Sulley team up with an underdog group of monsters and make a wager with the college dean. If the group can win the scare games (an elimination series of challenges meant to verify which team of monsters are the most petrifying on campus) they will be permitted back into the scare program.
However if they lose the team will be kicked out of Monsters University permanently.
Before we can move onto the review of “Monsters University” we need to address Pixar’s introductory mini feature “The Blue Umbrella.” Like with most of Pixar’s films they always include a 5-10 minute presentation that sets a comedic mood tells an interesting short story and showcases their computer generated visual effects.
Unfortunately “The Blue Umbrella” only does one of these. Visually, it’s attractive. You can see the rain drops splatter and run as they hit the sides of windows and fall to the ground. The people seem lifelike and the details of the building are spot on. Yet even with all these incredible graphics the story doesn’t work for a children’s film.
It’s essentially a chance encounter love story that doesn’t move beyond the basic of plot levels. Overall, it’s mind numbing. Pixar is capable of creating great mini movies that appeal to children. The old man playing chess with himself or even the blue birds on the telephone line were great and humorous productions that children could laugh at.
You can make the argument that it was aimed more for the parents that were lugged to the movie but as an adult I still found it uninteresting and pointless which diminished my disposition going into the main picture. If the main attraction was anything like its mini flop I was in for a elongated couple of hours.
Luckily for me, my newly developed pessimistic attitude was put at ease within the first minute of “Monsters University.” From the opening scene to the credit filled cameo tie-ins I was laughing my butt off.
It’s basically an underdog college intramural sport team movie, only for monsters. Yet it’s identifiable from a college student’s perspective. From professors to sororities and from books to parties, it showcases the full exciting college experience.
The graphics were wonderful. They have such an assortment of monsters that no two look remotely comparable. The college was cool looking and it even produced a fun and energetic atmosphere for this fairy-tale created campus.
It’s difficult to judge acting in this movie because it’s all animated but the voice-over actors did an exceptional job. This movie has an amazing cast consisting of Billy Crystal (Mike) John Goodman (Sully) John Ratzenberger (Abominable Snowman) and Steve Buscemi ( Randy) to name a few. Most of the key animated characters have noticeably different personalities as well.
Overall I would say this movie was on par with the “Toy Story Series” and was every bit as original as “Monsters Inc.” It’s something that both parents and kids can appreciate despite its substandard mini feature substandard mini feature. Overall I would happily pat Pixar on the back and give “Monsters University” a 5/5.