MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – The Review
If you’ve ever felt different, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is the college for you!
Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) has dreamed of becoming a “scarer” since he was a little pupil. (Ha… see what I did there? Eh? Ehhhh?). Since the best “scarers” come from Monsters University, that is the only school for him, and nothing was going to stop him… that is, until he met James P. Sullivan, or “Sulley” (John Goodman), a natural “scarer” with a family history in the career. Now, it’s a fight of brains vs. natural, raw talent as the two compete to keep their spot in their “scare” school. Can Mike learn all he needs to know about scaring from books and hard work? Does Sulley have enough natural talent to make up for his lack of studying?
I really enjoyed the writing and humor of this film. I think Disney•Pixar was smart to do a prequel, and show us how Mike and Sulley first met. This film is not as heart-heavy as most Pixar flicks, but that isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. It was kind of refreshing to sit through one of their films without bursting into tears. The story, instead, focuses on the pair’s relationship, and the friendships they made through the pivotal “self discovery” years known as college. On top of that, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY keeps things in perspective for young audience members. Mike and Sulley did not get along when they first met, but they managed to put their differences aside and work towards a common goal as a team. They also hide a few “when life hands you lemons” scenarios in there. They acknowledge that things don’t always work out according to plan, but with hard work, you can achieve anything. It’s a much better message to convey to audiences compared to the “everything will work out in the end” fluff stories that most films continue to shove down our necks. I honestly admire this new angle by Pixar. Did they stray from their formula a bit? Yes. Do I think the risk paid off? You bet! This film is funny! The little jokes and puns had me laughing throughout the film.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman know what they are doing when it comes to voicing these beloved characters. Over ten years has gone by, and the two still have a tremendous amount of chemistry. Randy, voiced by Steve Buscemi makes a comeback, but the cast is rounded out by mostly new faces. Helen Mirren, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Peter Sohn, Bobby Moynihan and Nathan Fillion round out this incredible cast. The stand out, for me, is the new character Art, voiced by Charlie Day. He’s a great comic relief for the film, and embodies that one weird, art hippy that is in every college class. We all had one! College wouldn’t be the same without them. Heck, most of the characters in this film are less than popular, which makes them even more enjoyable. The characters tie in well to the “not fitting in” and “finding yourself” experiences that we all go through during those college years. Let’s face it, we can’t all be popular! I was far from it! Maybe that’s why I’m such a sucker for a good “underdog” story… Hmm.
From the visual appearance of Sulley and Mike, to the details of their beloved college campus, Pixar continues to set the bar for animation. The amount of attention they give to the design and look of a film is unsurpassed by any other animation studio. When they first released MONSTERS INC. in 2001, audiences were blown away by the way they animated fur and hair. It’s mind-blowing to see how much they have already improved on those skills. I had to continually remind myself to admire the animation because it was so easy to get lost in. They are masters of their craft, and this film is no exception.
Disney•Pixar has done it again! MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is a fun film for any age.
OVERALL RATING: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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