Four Out of Five Stars!
Monsters University – Movie Review
By Anne Brodie Jun 24, 2013, 13:20 GMT
The sequel to Pixar\'s 2001 hit "Monsters Inc." 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. ...morePixar strikes again with an endearing story of a wide eyed college freshman determined to graduate as a world class scarer.
Brilliant. A scarer is a monster who works on his sleeping child scaring techniques, passes stringent exams overseen by Helen Mirren who is Dean Hardscrabble.
Mike the freshman (Billy Crystal) is a breezy and outgoing walking eye whose cheerfulness could teach the other college kids a lesson.
They pick on Mike who doesn’t realize he’s being shamed for a while, and when he does, it doesn’t bother him. Indeed, it helps drive him to better himself. Being cheerful and sunny and a walking eye doesn’t make him terribly scary but he is determined to overcome his nature and nurture himself into graduating.
Sullivan whom we know from Monsters Inc. is enrolled in Monsters University as well but he’s pretty underwhelmed by Mike. He needles him but Mike won’t be undone. His courage is inspirational to Sully and soon they become each other’s best friend and supporter.
The Scare Games are coming up fast so they get into serious training in the Door Lab. Two lines of doors gives a lifelike lesson in what a scarer can expect when he enters a sleeping child’s room. There is a description of the child given him right before entry, and then he turns the handle, enters the room and sizes up his options.
Mike throws down his best scare and the child, or metal dummy, reacts and the reaction is measured and goes into his records. Other games follow in an open campus type way as in the Hunger Games but the goal here is scaring. I don’t know why they didn’t call is Scare U.
An all-star cast bounces the story along as Mike and Sully go through all the usual college freshman experiences, partying, studying, and joining a fraternity. Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Aubrey Plaza, Nathan Fillion, John Krasinski, Bonnie Hunt, Frank Oz and as ever, in a last minute save, Pixar favourite John Ratzenberger. This crowed would likely have a fun time at uni.
The animation and superlative as always with Pixar product. The tone is easy going, the laughs consistent and the story line is fresh and new, despite lifting from the Hunger Games. Well, it’s more of an homage. Clever fans will spot a number of witty film references as is always the case with Pixar. It’s fun to count on a studio to deliver beautifully rendered stories about fun stuff.
Monsters University isn’t radical or mind bogglingly cutting edge and that’s fine. It’s about life on a campus where hopeful kids try to work their way into a new society and handle the responsibilities and temptations that come with it while working towards their education, towards learning. Even if it’s learning how to scare sleeping kids.
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Written by Robert L. Baird, et al
Directed by Dan Scanlon
Opens: June 21
Runtime: 110 minutes