Monsters University

monsters_university

It’s been a dozen years since Pixar introduced us to Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan, and now, their belated return comes in the form of a prequel. Traditionally, long layoffs and prequels are both causes for concern.

But have no fear, Pixar lives up to their reputation here, and delivers us a funny, fun family movie full of laughs and genuine warmth.

Young Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) dreams of being a scarer. After a class field trip to Monsters Inc, where he sneaks onto a scaring mission with a pro, he makes becoming a professional scarer his mission in life. Obtaining exceptional grades through high school, Wazowski achieves admission to Monsters University, and majors in scaring. Unfortunately for him, he’s at odds with a rival student, James P Sullivan. “Sulley” doesn’t have to work very hard at scaring; he comes from a long lineage of scarers and is physically gifted. This creates tension between he and Wazowski. Wazowski has to work hard for everything he gets, and Sullivan coasts on his laurels.

When an argument between them turns into an incident that gets them both kicked out of the scaring program, they’re left with only one resort. They have to join a team and win the annual “Scare Games” in order to be readmitted. Unluckily for them, the only Fraternity with open spots is the super unpopular (and more importantly, unscary) Oozma Kappa. If they want any hope of achieving their goal of becoming scarers, Mike and Sulley will have to learn to work together, coach the Oozma Kappa misfits into becoming scary, and win the coveted Scarer’s Cup.

I’ll admit to being skeptical about “Monsters U”. A lot of time had passed, and prequels are always tricky. I can wholeheartedly assure everyone now though that any skepticism you might have can be laid to rest. Pixar has undeniably crafted a worthy follow-up film to “Monsters Inc”. The story of Mike and Sulley’s time at the University is an action packed, humorous adventure with an abundance of heart. I had thought prior to seeing this that the collegiate humor in the film might be too much for children (in terms of fully understanding the jokes, plot, etc), but that certainly wasn’t the case. Children of all ages will appreciate the laughs and camaraderie presented.

And the laughs come fast and furious. This movie felt like there was a new joke every ten seconds or so. The monsters come in a wide variety, and each have their own silly/scary talents. The diversity presents a number of opportunities for scare and/or scare fail related jokes. As the plot unfolds, there’s constant material to chuckle at.

But it’s the friendship between Mike and Sulley that took center stage for me, here. The two begin their acquaintance as adversaries, but circumstances force them to work together to achieve their goals. Beyond that however, a genuine friendship forms based on trust, teamwork, and overcoming your own fears and self-imposed limitations. Cyrstal and Goodman do excellent jobs in the recording studio (as do the many other notable celebs lending their talents), and of course, Pixar’s animation is second to none.

I’m not sure this is in league with the best of Pixar’s best, but it definitely is a high quality animated comedy, and is certain to be front and center in the discussion for animated movie of the year.

A

62 thoughts on “Monsters University

    • Yeah, before watching it, I was a bit skeptical myself. But they definitely pulled it off. Now I want a sequel to the prequel… I want to see them going through all those jobs at Monsters Inc! LOL

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  2. I can’t belive!! I, too, really enjoyed it!! It didn’t think it was GREAT, but exceeds to the point where I thought it was really good film!! Really good, to me, means that you enjoyed the film quite enough to leave the theater saying “That was a really good or a really enjoyable movie!”
    To me a great film is a film that has something you’d expect the film to have, but also have some moments that become unexpected and surprise you!!!
    Monsters University had some moments that almost made it a great film, but I have to say it was a really good film because what I got out of the film was enough for me walking out of the theater saying “That was a really good or a really enjoyable movie!”
    Monsters University is hard for me to grade, it’s either an A- or a B+, but I’m going on a high rating and saying it’s an A- because I enjoyed it more than I thought I would ad I enjoyed more than I woulf if I DID give it a B+!!
    So it’s an A- for me!! Not QUITE AN A GRADE for me and Pixar’s NOT QUITE BACK YET, but it’s good enough for me!! Great Review Fog’s!!

    • Thanks Bebe. Yeah, I’m not sure it was a great film, either, per se. But it was excellent, how’s that? I think part of what made Pixar so legendary in the first place was their originality, so it’s hard for them to return to form with a sequel. Regardless, this was a worthy follow up to Monsters Inc and a very entertaining film! :D

      • Please call me Brian!! Bebe is just nickname!! I couldn’t really pronounce MY FULL name (which IS Brian) when I was a very young child so instead I said Bebe, NOT Brian!! My parents call me Bebe because that’s how pronounced my real name when I was young child!!

        Yeah!! I think for-a-lack-of-a-better-term to describe the film is terrific and fun entertainment!! Or just terrific!! If you want to use the word “excellent” that’s fine too because that’s how you felt!! I think excellent is a very highly strong word to positively describe something!! Terrific, to me, in terms of describing movies, means that it’s a. Wonderfully positive and a highly enjoyable movie!! Excellent means, to me, in terms of describing movies, a film that incredibly and wonderfully exceeds PAST your expectations, for me, like Argo and Wreck-It Ralph!! Monsters University isn’t QUITE YET excellent for me, but perfectly positive and a highly enjoyable (animated) film that truly surprised me!!

        Sent from my iPad Mini(A Mini Version of an iPad)

  3. I finally took the kids to see it. I enjoyed the film. I loved the rivalry and later friendship with Mike and Sully. They tied this movie perfectly into Monsters Inc. It’s not my most favorite Pixar but then again, there hasn’t been a bad Pixar. I’d give it a B+ because at times I was hoping the movie would move a long a bit quicker.

    I did enjoy the way they portrayed Randall and the later hatred between him and Sully. If you looked carefully at the scare floor when they broke into Monsters U, you could see some of the monsters that were in Monsters U, like George Sanderson. Same thing with some of the monsters at Monsters U, like the two arm slug like monster being DJ at the party, he ended up at Monsters Inc as well.

    I’m looking forward to Planes. This is the first time Pixar has ever released 2 films in one year.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure that Planes is a Pixar flick though. I think Disney took the franchise and did one themselves. Hate to burst that bubble for you… it was going to be direct to video at first and then I guess it must have been coming out really well.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it at least, even if you weren’t crazy about it Bruce! ;) Hopefully your family enjoyed it too!

      • I looked it up. Yeah it’s a Disney flick and not listed as Pixar.

        I wouldn’t say I wasn’t crazy about it. It did have a great story and definitely was an excellent prequel. I just didn’t laugh as much as other ones.

        I did notice on Wikipedia that Lasseter hasn’t been directing the past few Pixar films. Don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. Brave wasn’t directed by him and I loved that movie.

  4. Please call me Brian!! Bebe is just nickname!! I couldn’t really pronounce MY FULL name
    (which IS Brian) when I was a very young child so instead I said Bebe, NOT Brian!! My parents call me Bebe because that’s how pronounced my real name when I was young child!!

    Yeah!! I think for-a-lack-of-a-better-term to describe the film is terrific and fun entertainment!!
    Or just terrific!! If you want to use the word “excellent” that’s fine too because that’s how you felt!! I think excellent is a very highly strong word to positively describe something!!
    Terrific, to me, in terms of describing movies, means that it’s a. Wonderfully positive and a highly enjoyable movie!!
    Excellent means, to me, in terms of describing movies, a film that incredibly and wonderfully exceeds PAST your expectations, for me, like Argo and Wreck-It Ralph!! Monsters University isn’t QUITE YET excellent for me, but perfectly positive and a highly enjoyable (animated) film that truly surprised me!!

  5. My daughter’s first ever movie theater experience and it was a good one. The animation was amazing and we chuckled the whole way through. Glad you liked it too Fogs.

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