Monsters University (2013) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Monsters University (2013)

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Soon to be best of friendsRyan // LIKE BannerI really enjoyed Monsters University.  Honestly, I did.  I say this up front because most of this review might sound negative but the movie is a lot of fun and it is one of those films that you will enjoy if you are a child, child at heart or a parent.  I would wholeheartedly recommend this film to anyone thinking about seeing it because I know you will have a good time.

With that done, I do have to say I was a bit disappointed in the movie and still question its existence, something I have done since I originally heard about it being developed.  The reason for this being that I LOVED the original Monsters Inc. and I think it ended both beautifully and perfectly.  The first time I saw the ending to the original film it brought a tear to my eye because it was sweet and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the story.  The whole story was wonderfully written and imaginative too with the great question for a story of what if the monsters under your bed were more scared of you.

Dances are supposed to be less awkward with age and experience but try listening to this and not flashing back to Junior High.

Dances are supposed to be less awkward with age and experience but try listening to this and not flashing back to Junior High.

This brings us to Monsters University and the question I originally had in “what is the point of making a prequel to a movie that was perfectly told”?  After watching the film, I don’t know if I know the answer.  Monsters University did not further the adventures of Sully and Mike and didn’t really deepen their relationship at all.  What the film did was give audiences a 90-minute fun romp where you get to hang out with these beloved characters a little longer.  Monsters University is dominantly Mike’s story and the voice work of Billy Crystal is again marvelous.

The crux of his story arc is learning his place in the world and whether your grit and determination can make up for other shortcomings.  Since he was a little monster, Mike wanted to be a top scarcer even if he didn’t have fangs or a roar like the big boys.  He enrolls in the prestigious University in the scare program to prove everyone wrong that he has the right stuff.  He first meets Sully (the lovable John Goodman) on the first day of school and they don’t exactly hit it off since Mike has to work all the time for his chance while Sully can just skate by on charm and natural talent.  Everything comes to a head at the end of their first semester and an accident gets them on the bad side of Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren).  Both are thrown out of the program and the only chance they have of getting in is wining the scare games with the saddest fraternity on campus.

The movie becomes a loving homage to such college films as Revenge of the Nerds and Animal House and is a lot of fun.  Of course the bunch of misfits that Sully and Mike join with will rise up the challenge and become great scorers and there was no doubt that the underdogs of Oozma Kaapa will be victorious in the end but it is a great party getting there.  The animation is just a  sight to behold and Sully I think looks better here then he did in the original

An accurate representation of the gamble you take eating at the college cafeteria.

An accurate representation of the gamble you take eating at the college cafeteria.

The new cast members including Helen Mirren, Dave Foley, Sean Hayes, Nathan Fillon, Tyler Labine and Charlie Day are great additions.  Actually, let me stop here and talk a little about the character of Art, played by Charlie Day.  Art is the best thing in the movie by far, for a film that is mainly about laughs and a good time, every time that Art is on-screen I laughed heartily.  There is a scene early in the scare games with Art and glowing urchin type things that had the whole theater laughing.  Charlie Day, who is hilarious on the TV show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, has a knack for voice work and I hope Pixar uses him again.

While the movie does want its audience to have a good time, it is still a Pixar film so the 3 bit more characterization and a hard truth that is usually not found in kids movie and I applaud the filmmakers for taking the movie to this logical conclusion.  That said, I still missed the heart of the first film and that directly relates to Boo.  Like I said before, Monsters Inc. ended perfectly and doesn’t need a sequel but during the film, I started wishing that we did get one where we see the further adventures of Boo and Sully.  The best Pixar films like Monsters Inc., Toy Story, Up, Wall-E and The Incredibles are chock full of heart and laughs.  While Monsters U gets the laughs down and tries for the heart in their 3rd act they come up JUUUUSSSTTTT short.

I might be extra hard on this movie but that comes from a place of love and respect for the company.  Monsters U is a very good movie and one that I will not mind watching again with the kids, yet it wasn’t as great as the original and a movie that I can’t really justify being made.  In the end Monsters U is one of the best prequels out there (faint praise I know) and a wonderful animated family film, I just wish I went into that last gear to turn it from a very good movie into a great one.

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Monsters University - TailMonsters University (2013)

Directed by Don Scanlon.
Screenplay written by Scanlon, Daniel Gerson, and Robert L. Baird.
Starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman.

Posted by Ryan

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Hey Ryan made a guest appearance on Can’t Stop the Andrew!

  2. Great review by the way. I look forward to seeing this movie.

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