Wednesday 24 July 2013

Today's Review: Monsters University

One of my favourite times of the year is when a Pixar movie comes out, and I have been cautiously optimistic about Monsters University since its announcement. I think my unrest lay with the fact that it's a prequel, and since we already know how these guys end up at Monsters Inc. it might kind of take the edge of the story. Thankfully it's a good movie in its own right.

Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is a monster with a big dream to become a scarer, a well respected monster who ventures into toxic human children's rooms and harnesses their screams for energy. He enrols in the Monsters University scare program, where he meets fellow potential scarers like Randall (Steve Buscemi) and James Sullivan (John Goodman). However, despite Mike's book smarts, it's clear that he may not have what it takes to be a truly scary monster, so he enrols in the Scare Games with a rag tag fraternity of students in an attempt to prove to everybody that he can scare with the best.

Monsters University is a true underdog movie, with a lot of the old college movie cliches present. Despite taking place almost exclusively within the campus grounds, Pixar have done a fantastic job of creating a fantastic environment, packed with colourful and hilarious characters. The down on their luck fraternity of Oozma Kappa provide some great one liners, and the rounds of the competition they take part in result in some  ridiculously fun slapstick. The movie is packed with jokes, some that clearly only the older viewers will get, and it really did a good job of holding my attention and keeping me chuckling.

The only problem I really had with Monsters University is that it didn't really measure up in comparison to the first one. Sure, this movie does a great job of introducing the characters in a different light, and really letting them develop, but Monsters Inc. was a very well rounded movie based on an incredibly clever and unique concept. In comparison, Monsters University is just a fun college movie with the same characters, although it does have a lot of heart and a great message. Every recurring role is reprised fantastically, Goodman and Crystal especially do a fantastic job at portraying the developing friendship between Mike and Sully. 

While it may not be as great as the original, Monsters University is actually a very good attempt at a prequel, especially with the vast thematic difference. It's packed full of funny moments and great characters, and it's definitely proof that Pixar still have what it takes.

My rating: 4/5

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