Friday, June 28, 2013

Monsters University

Get out your scream canisters and fraternity jackets, we're reviewing Monsters University!

Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) has wanted to be a Scarer his whole life. When he finally gets to his college of choice, Monsters University, he butts heads with legacy Scarer, James Sullivan (John Goodman). After some college shenanigans, they find the only way they can both become Scarers is if they work together. 


Anyways, oh hey, Monsters U is pretty good, too.

And that's pretty much what it is. It's no Up, but it's certainly better than Cars. It's definitely not better than the original Monsters Inc., but prequels rarely are. It's a pretty great Pixar monsters movie. If you liked Monsters Inc., you'll enjoy this. 

That's… pretty much it?

I'm not really sure what else to put here. Here are some observations, I guess!

The animation is as good as always, and the hair physics are the best they've ever had them. I've never wanted to pet Sully so much. 

There are a bunch of misfit monsters in Mike's fraternity that don't seem like they'll be good at anything. You can bet your sweet Jamaican Ass there will be a subsequent moral and montage about working together. 

The movie starts out by going all the way back to when Mike was a kid, and he was really cute. Child Mike should be the new plush toy on everyone's Christmas list. 

Is it any surprise that I love the character designs? I mean, I'm a huge fan of monsters, but they always find new and inventive ways to make silly and/or scary designs. I especially like Dean Hardscrabble, played by Hellen Miren, who seems to be some sort of dragon/centipede hybrid. 

The only downside to the movie is that it's weird that they only show scaring majors and majors related to scaring, such as making doors and scream canisters. Which is all well and interesting, but I really would have liked to see the monsters’ world fleshed out, and this would have been a perfect opportunity by showing the myriad of different majors. Surely there would be engineers, designers, artists, writers, journalists, medical students, and maybe even law students? I guess Monsters U is only a scaring college? I can’t help but feel that this turned out to be a missed opportunity. 

Randal is back, and they did a great job of explaining why there's such a rivalry between him and Sully. Also pre-creeper Randal is great and it's kind of sad he didn't turn out better. 

This will be a great movie for anyone in college, or who is nostalgic for college. Also, it is pretty emotional, like all Pixar movies – but not that emotional. Emotions!

The voice work is all amazing. Mike sounds exactly the same, but I really like how Sully sounds a bit younger, and as if he's got a bit of an overbite. Also, did you know this is a Pixar movie with Nathan Fillian, Aubrey Plaza, Alfred Molina and Charlie Day? That is a thing that is happening right now, my friend. 

It's fun to see all the little nods to the original movie. Mike's college room number is the code for a human object interaction, 319. See if you can spot them all!

Monsters University is probably one of the best prequels, because it does the bare minimum of explaining things without retconning too much and expands the universe in fun ways. More than anything, it makes me want to go re-watch Monsters, Inc. In fact, I think I'll go do that. While that happens, you go watch Monsters University!

THE GOOD: Pixar movie, Monsters, explains things, funny, great voice cast, great animation, AMAZING SHORT, fun college humor.

THE BAD: Doesn't explore monster world other than scaring?

THE VERDICT: $$$$ It's great! Go see it! It's not amazing, but it's a great movie to see if you loved Monsters, Inc., or if you never saw Monsters, Inc. and you've been looking to try it out.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Monsters, Inc., Cars 2, Shrek, Animal House, Accepted

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Mike walking around seeing the different clubs and frats. It's a nice arrangement of interesting monsters, but how about some new jobs?


  1. Well they do have different majors (Art unsurprisingly has a major that matches his name, one of the Terrys is a dancer, the other's not) and of course you see that there are monster teachers, a monster dean, and monster sportscasters (or at least Greek Council seniors calling the plays.)
    But I do think that having scaring being THE biggest job is a problem, and why I hated the original MI ending. Can you honestly imagine that every single monster is happy to switch from scream to laugh energy? What about the monsters Mike used to admire? Sure, Frank McCay has probly retired, but if he hadn't, he'd be out of a job. Alot of famous monsters like Sully's dad may now face backlash for having once been scaring since post-MI monsters see laughter as the best energy source and frightening kids as mean and/or unnecessary. I'm pretty sure a school called "Fear Tech" is going to have a severely reduced number of applicants unless they rebrand themselves to embrace laughter. Kinda a crummy ending, when you figure Mike has inadvertently prevented every young monster who wanted to be a Scarer but hadn't reached that position in the pre-Boo days from EVER realizing that goal. Made worse because that used to be Mike's dream that he valued above all else.

    1. Ugh see that is a really interesting premise and now I REALLY want to see a Monsters Inc sequel exploring all those themes. Plus, like there were maybe a dozen scarers in monsters inc and it seemed like that was the only facility in all the land(world?) so it seems like it would be weird there's 2 college worth of scarers primarily for that one incredibly small job market.