12 years after the release of Monsters Inc. (2001), Pixar finally brought as the second installment of Mike and Sulley, and it’s not a sequel, it’s actually a prequel! On the 14th feature film, Pixar reintroduce us to the two characters before they worked at Monsters Inc. and create havoc by bringing Boo to the Monsters world.
Young Michael “Mike” Wazowski always dreamed of becoming one of the scarer in Monsters Inc. ever since a school field trip in his childhood. In order to achieve his goals, aim to study at the best scare school at Monsters University campus. He studies hard and know everything in theory about being a good scarer. The question is, does he really what it takes? Meanwhile James P. Sullivan aka Sulley (John Goodman) is the successor of the infamous Sullivan family. He’s cocky, but everything seems to be coming his way easily. He’s got all the makings of a great Scarer. But when it counts, can he really live up to his family name?
In its predecesor, we see Sulley as the lead character aided with his sidekick/coach/best friend Mike. In Monsters University, there’s a role reversal, we follows Mike journey in this prequel instead. Set against the backdrop of a campus life, Monsters University adapt the generic storyline of adversaries between Greek houses that has been done repeatedly in comedy flicks, this is generic, yet unexpected move from Pixar (because i think they are anything but!). If i can venture a guess, i think the decision is based on the kids who were probably 6-10 at the time Monsters Inc. was released is probably in their respective universities or might’ve graduated, so maybe it’s to appeal to that generation too as well as to introduce the monsters to the younger kids.
The visual is definitely improved significantly, i think that’s what 10 years worth of technology does to a film XD. You can expect Pixar’s best animated works here. beautiful textures, sharp, super colorful! It even looks glorious in regular 2D. The design of the campus borrows architectural details of several universities including Berkeley, which made the landscape of campus life all the more relatable. The character design is improved as well! Especially when playing with archetypes social conventions that colors the school life in the US: the goths (of HSS sorority), the perky fraternity babes (medusa-like girls of Phyton Nu Kappa), the jocks-popular frat boys (of Roar Omega Roar). Do not fret, you can actually feel the nostalgia of Monsters Inc. too because you’ll see some of the old faces :D Billy Crystal returns as Mike and become the main protagonist of the film, although John Goodman’s Sulley steals the show anyway. Several known actor and actresses also lend their voice to bring the character alive, such as Helen Mirren as the frightening Dean Hardscrabble (who gave me chills everytime her character showed up on screen), Nathan Fillion and Bobby Moynihan as the member of Roar Omega Roar, even Tyler Labine as the Greek Council VP. As usual the voice actors fit their character to a tee, not that i would expect anything less from a Pixar films!
While might not be the most superbly groundbreaking and brilliantly insightful Pixar movies (like Up or Toy Story franchise, or its own predecessor Monsters Inc.), Monsters University still deliver uplifting humor and invites glee! Aside from atypical team work and best friend theme, that seems to be the back bone of every pixar films, the monsters does inspired some hard lessons on life. Life does not always pans out so easily like what we wanted. Yes, sometimes hard work, passion, and even desperation, does not guarantee the outcome you wanted.
Johnny ROR: […] when you loose nobody will remember you.
Mike: Well, if you loose nobody will forget!
As usual, a short animated feature is attached to every pixar animated films! My previous favorite was Day and Night, which was attached to Toy Story 3. I loved it so much that it was the subject of the final essay assignment for one of my class. But The Blue Umbrella, which i have reviewed separately and published earlier, is my current new favorite! I’d gladly pay the entire ticket fee just to see that short one more time :)
For Pixar golden standard, Monsters University might have not outstanding enough. But i still enjoy every moment of comedy anyway. It’s still heartwarming and a comical delight, serving up Pixar-esque teamwork theme with an unexpected lessons about life on the side. Monsters University currently screens on blitzmegaplex and cinema 21, both in regular 2D and 3D format. Check their respective website for the screening schedule in your town!
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (2013)
GENRE Animation, Comedy
DIRECTOR Dan Scanlon | PRODUCER Kori Rae | WRITER Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Dan Scanlon | MUSIC Randy Newman | CINEMATOGRAPHER Matt Aspbury | EDITOR Greg Snyder | STUDIO Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios | DISTRIBUTOR Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures | COUNTRY United States | BUDGET $225 million | RUNNING TIME 104 minutes | RATING G | RELEASE June 21, 2013
STARRING Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Miren