Ok, ok, I know this movie has been out for a little bit and loads of other people will have definitely reviewed it by now, but damn it I only saw it recently so here’s my review of the hotly anticipated Monsters University!
And I’ll say this from the off. No. This movie is not as good as Monsters Inc. It could never be that good. Monsters Inc. was new, original and exciting, as well as hilarious. Monsters University is an expansion on an original concept, but not an original concept in itself. Seriously, even the storyline is not original. Friends used to be enemies? Like that has never been done – I.e.: 21 Jump Street. But really, who cares. It’s Pixar, and if Pixar do something, you know it is going to be original in its own way, even if the concept is not as fresh as it used to be.
So essentially the movie is about how Michael “Mike” Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) met, and despite people getting annoyed with a discrepancy with the two movies, as Monsters Inc. states Mike and Sully had known each other since 4th grade and Monsters University not having them meet until their University days, all those people can go deposit themselves in the nearest manhole as I, and many others, don’t give a damn.
Anyway, Mike has been working all his life to get to Monsters University and to become a Scarer. Sully has gotten in because of his famous family name and rides his natural scariness for all its worth. Thus starts their rivalry which, although accidentally, gets them being kicked out of the scare program by the coolly cruel Mrs Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren). Mike, not one for giving up, enters the Scare Games with Oozma Kappa, the rejects of Monsters University and makes a bet with Mrs Hardscrabble that, if he wins the Games, he and his team shall be put back in the scare program. However should they lose, Mike will be expelled. Sully then joins the team, and thus the film truly begins.
See? I was not joking on the un-originality of the story, but in all honesty, who cares? The story is so well done, and enough twists and originality from the premise of it centring on monsters allows the film makes you forget the unoriginal ideas and lets you go along for the ride in true Pixar style.
The film has loads of nods towards its predecessor, but it feels as if they are just the sprinkles on top of a very satisfying cupcake of Pixar sweetness. Furthermore, it is done in such a way that the film does not feel like it’s solely building on its predecessor success, rather just giving you snippets of it and then moving on with the story. The humour is all there as always, and the emotional stuff is pretty damn brilliant that makes you completely forget about Pixar’s last sequel attempt, the painfully average Cars 2.
The animation as always is as beautiful as always, and with little visual jokes thrown here and there (as well as some Pixar Easter eggs); the movie is as beautiful to watch as always. But what really impressed me is how much better Pixar have gotten at animating humans. I mean, while keeping the essence of what humans looked like from Monsters Inc. with Boo, they really show off their form after twelve years of improvement
So yeah, I do slightly hate the constant sequelisation of movies, which even Pixar seems to be slipping into recently; Monsters University gets a free pass for being an actually good sequel/prequel. While many will say that it’s not as good as other Pixar movies in recent years, and I can see where they are coming from in that respect, it is not far off being top quality Pixar stuff. But what we got to remember is that not quite top quality Pixar is better than a lot of other top quality movies going around at the moment..
So yeah, go see Monsters University. It’s fun, funny and gets you feeling all nostalgic for childhood heroes and makes you forget a little about Pixar’s recent un-originality in their sequel drive. Also be prepared for The Blue Umbrella, Pixar’s short for this movie. All originality in Pixar shorts remain and you will never be as emotionally attached to an Umbrella as the one in this short.