Friday, June 28, 2013

Monsters University.

When I heard that Pixar was making a prequel to Monsters, Inc., I was really excited...but also a bit worried.

It's not that I doubt Pixar can make a good sequel or prequel. They did it twice with Toy Story. But Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar film ever. It's also probably my second favorite animated film ever (after Beauty and the Beast), which is saying a lot because I love animated films. :) So I guess I was concerned that the prequel wouldn't quite live up to the original.

I should have never doubted Pixar. Because Monsters University was amazing and I absolutely loved it. :)

Here's an idea of what's going on in the story: Mike Wazowski and Sulley start their freshman year at Monsters University, both majoring in Scaring. Mike has grown up knowing he wants to be a scarer, but he has to work and study hard because he's not exactly the scariest monster ever. :) For Sulley, though, scaring runs in the family and he expects to ride that through college without opening a textbook. When it's announced that the final exam will determine whether students stay in the scaring program or not, the rivalry between Mike and Sulley grows even worse until, after an accident, the Dean rules they both have to leave the major. The two are not happy in their new major, so when they hear about the annual Scare Games, they decide to participate to prove to the Dean that they deserve to be back in the Scaring program. The thing is...only fraternities and sororities can submit teams for the games. So Mike joins up with a misfit group of students in the Oozma Kappa fraternity, and then reluctantly lets Sulley join, too, because their group is lacking one member. And that's where the fun begins. *whew*

The people at Pixar are experts at making you feel for the characters (Up, anyone?). While Monsters, Inc. was probably a bit more focused on Sulley, because of his attachment to Boo, this prequel seems to be more about Mike. Let me tell you...the scenes with tiny little elementary-school Mike were absolutely adorable. He's small and sort of an outcast in his class, which already makes you want to root for him. But that expression on his face when he visits Monsters, Inc. and gets all starry-eyed was enough to make me almost tear up. :) Mike is the one who has to work so hard at school, so he's the one who has more to lose.

And Sulley. Oh, Sulley. He was my favorite in Monsters, Inc., because he was basically just a big, sweet teddy bear. He's a little different here. He's like the equivalent of a typical teenage jock...a big, strong guy who's effortlessly cool and arrogant. His hair, you guys. They made his hair spiked-up on top. Just enough to make him look like a cool, young college student. :) That's the kind of subtle detail that I love and that Pixar is incredible at including. Mike, on the other hand, has braces as a kid and a retainer in college. Which is perfect for him. :) So while Sulley is kind of a jerk at first, he's still likable and of course, later on you see how good-hearted he is.

There was a new character who I was especially impressed with...Dean Hardscrabble. She is the stern head of the scaring program who used to be a top Scarer herself, and she doesn't accept anything less than the best in her program. Everything, from her voice (Helen Mirren) to her make up, the shape of her face, her color, and the fact that she's basically part dragon and part insect/creepy crawly thing with all of those legs, was perfect. I thought they did an amazing job with her. :)

My other favorite new characters were definitely the quirky misfits in Oozma Kappa. You've got a nerdy middle-aged monster who went back to school after losing his job, a two-headed monster in the drama program named Terry (and Terri), a strange hippie-ish monsters named Art, and a shy and awkward monster called Squishy (the scene at the party where Squishy is dancing and tries to get Sulley to join in...oh my goodness. I loved it). By the way, the fraternity house is actually Squishy and his mother's house, which means that she shows up quite often. Her hair is always in curlers and she's always wearing a flowery pastel house dress. :)

And of course, it was nice to see some familiar faces, even if just for a moment: Randall, Roz, the Abominable Snowman, the orange horned monster who has the child's sock on his back in Monsters, Inc., etc.

I thought Monsters University was hilarious...the humor was right up there with that in the first film. It seemed a bit more grown up, though. I guess because they're in college, so the humor is a bit different. There are still funny bits that are aimed at young kids (though it wasn't crude humor like Brave had), but there are also more clever bits of humor. Also, I think this film would probably be scarier for kids (particularly towards the end).

{There seemed to be two Princess Bride references in the film, which makes me happy. Mike is dreaming and he mumbles something about, "I know I'm just a stable boy, and you're a princess...", which reminded me of Westley and Buttercup in PB, especially considering Billy Crystal was Miracle Max in the film. And there's another part where Sulley says, "I don't even work out," which reminded me of Andre the Giant saying, "It's not my fault I'm big and strong. I don't even exercise."}

I don't want to give anything away about the ending, but I was very happy with it. Things didn't magically get smoothed over...characters had to deal with the consequences of their actions instead of getting an easy way out. But it was still a very hopeful ending, and I thought it was perfect. P.S. There is a short, funny scene at the very end of the credits, if you're willing to sit through them all. :)

So...yeah. I loved Monsters University. I think Pixar did a fantastic job of making a prequel that is worthy of my beloved Monsters, Inc. :) It was charming, very funny, and the colors and animation were gorgeous and included so many subtle details. Despite what some of the critics are saying, I thought it had just as much heart as other Pixar films and I think it's a step in the right direction after Cars 2 (which is the only Pixar film I haven't seen yet, but I've heard it's rather disappointing) and Brave (which I really enjoyed but didn't feel was quite up to Pixar standards). Writing this post has made me really want to see it again...I can't wait until it comes out on DVD. :)

Have you seen Monsters University? What's your favorite Pixar film?
P.S. I've had the very neat experience of seeing both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University in theaters this year. Back in January, MI was rereleased in theaters and I had a free ticket, so me and Mom saw it (I didn't seen it in theaters when it was originally released). And then we saw MU earlier this week.

Until next time,


  1. I'm so excited to see this! I was actually *just* looking on our small-town theater's website with my little sis to see if they were going to show it (and they are, on the 5th!). It's playing in 3D - which wouldn't be my first choice - but I'm just so happy that I won't have to wait for the dvd. :D I'm glad you liked it and that it lived up to Pixar's usual perfection.

    My favorite Pixar film is probably Toy Story (although I am notorious for my inability to firmly nail down a favorite anything - much less among my beloved animated movies). :D The Incredibles and Monsters Inc. are so, so great too, but Toy Story is the one I grew up with and it holds an extra special place in my heart.

  2. Your post made me feel SO happy because I was kind of worried about this movie...Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar movie as well, and the last two Pixar movies (Brave & Cars 2) just weren't up to the usual standard... I didn't want them to mess up Monster University! Mike and Sulley always give me a warm, sentimental feeling inside. I admit it. :D (Oh, and Princess Bride references??? *dies*)

    But based on your review (and pluggedinonline's as well) I think I'll like this moveie:)

    Oh, and though Cars 2 wasn't amazing, it was still fun...I think I liked it better than Brave, acutally.

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