Monsters University Movie Review
It is with giddy excitement and joyful glee to announce that Pixar is officially back to their high level storytelling. While last year’s BRAVE was a pleasant step in the right direction, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY takes a roaring leap forward landing in the mix among the pool of Pixar’s best. As a prequel to one of my personal favorite Pixar films in the witty and adorable MONSTERS INC., MONSTERS UNIVERSITY builds on the creativity telling the story of Mike and Sulley’s college days at, you guessed it, Monsters University.
The lovable little green eyeball known as Mike Wazowski (voiced again perfectly by the very funny Billy Crystal) aspires to be a scarer, the life blood of the Monsters power supply. However, Mike’s driven attitude, passion and excelled book smarts isn’t enough to overcome the simple fact that he’s just not a scary monster. On the other hand, the behemoth blue fuzzball (with a few purple spots) James P. Sullivan (voiced again with great exuberance by the talented John Goodman) expects to coast by on his natural ability to scare anyone with his thunderous fanged growl and his family name. With Sulley’s cocky party attitude vs. Mike’s committed studious nature, the two quickly become mortal enemies. Unfortunately, the frightening, no-nonsense Dean Hardscrabble (voiced by the impeccably intimidating Helen Mirren) doesn’t believe in either one and kicks them out of the scaring program. Joined with their newly found brotherhood in the Eek fraternity outcasts of Oozma Kappa, otherwise known as OK, Mike and Sulley must learn to work together as the massive underdogs to win the Eek sponsored scaring competition that would get them back into the school of scaring.
Tackling an impressive amount of themes with ease such as friendship, kindness, trust, courage and perseverance, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY manages to handle even serious issues, such as dreams and goals don’t always go as planned, with great delicacy. With such a devastatingly truthful lesson for young impressionable minds, the film is able to still be positive and uplifting, while teaching one to continue to work hard in spite of life’s dilemmas. But most importantly, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is consistently funny with several laugh-out-loud moments.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman once again slip easily into the voice of their characters. The incredible performances combined with the brilliant animation provide a genuine chemistry making the friendship between Mike and Sulley one of film’s best on-screen relationships. As usual in a Pixar film, the picture is alive with vibrant colors and sharp animation. The 3D is once again amazing but still unnecessary. Supporting voice work from Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Aubrey Plaza and Bobby Moynihan add to the delightful assortment of wild characters attending MU and help give the film a boost of welcomed detail and energy.
I remember college life like it was yesterday. From stepping into my dorm on the first day and meeting my awkwardly weird and uncomfortable conversationalist roommate to competing victoriously in intramural flag football with now lifelong friends, college life never leaves you (I still have nightmares about attending a final in a class I forgot I was even enrolled in). MONSTERS UNIVERSITY may be a kinder and gentler version of college life but it ranks right up there with the crazy antics from ANIMAL HOUSE, REVENGE OF THE NERDS and OLD SCHOOL. I’m still partial to the initial originality from its predecessor MONSTER’S INC., but MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is a well-crafted, well-written, entertainingly funny film with a ton of heart that I believe will only get better with time.