I was 13 when Monsters Inc was released, I am one of those people. You know the ones. Monsters University was announced and I was at the front of the queue shoving kids out the way telling them, this is a film for me, you don’t know what this film means. So my expectations were obviously fairly high. And I’m going to rain on everyone’s parade now and say that shoving those kids out the way was in vain. I left the cinema feeling a little disappointed.
Monsters Inc was revolutionary for Pixar. The visuals were nothing like before, and the story was genuinely lovely, in the main by Boo, the adorable toddler Mike and Sully suddenly find themselves with. The recording of Boo’s vocals famously done by following around a Pixar team’s young daughter and recording her every sound. This was the charm of Monsters Inc, the uniqueness of the plot, the wonderful animation, the Pixar-esque universal comedy. Unfortunately Monsters University fails to recreate that.
Monsters University is set as a prequel to Monsters Inc. Showing Mike and Sully attending scaring school, and in a format which has been done countless times, they start as enemies, they are forced into working together for the greater good and end up friends. Normally I don’t have a problem with common plot lines and story arcs, but this did feel a little lazy. Don’t get me wrong, I did laugh, primarily because of the Oozma Kappa team (keep an eye out for Scott Squishy’s mum providing a few laughs), but the humour was lacking in clever jokes. Were used now to seeing jokes in animation films which are sort of private adult jokes, whilst I find slapstick and juvenile humour as funny as the rest of them, I did find Monsters University a bit tame and safe. Considering the most excited audiences are my age, who saw and fell in love with Monsters Inc, you’d have thought that Pixar would have bore this in mind when writing Monsters University. One redeeming feature of the worn out plot line, is that it’s done genuinely very well. The relationship between Mike and Sully and Oozma Kappa is touching and lovely, and they’ve hit the nail on the head in depicting school/university hierarchal life. Particularly in the scenes where Mike is exploring the different societies and fraternities to join, the humour there may be lost on many children, but I got it (art society anyone?).
Kids will enjoy Monsters University, when I went to the cinema the only others in the theatre was a man and his young daughter. She was howling away with laughter and roaring when the monsters roared. I don’t have children, but I take those reactions to be a good thing. It’s worth seeing, it’s a Pixar film, it does have some merit to it, but I’m not sure if I’ve anticipated it too much or if it is genuinely not as good as it should be, maybe a bit of both.
(P.S – in true Pixar style, Monsters University opens with a short animation, this time The Blue Umbrella, a startlingly beautiful animation that was genuinely touching, and I’m probably opening myself to hate mail, but was better than Monsters University)
- Monsters University review (Scanlon, 2013) (jrodgermoviereviews.wordpress.com)
- My Thoughts On… Monsters University (isthatyoudarling.wordpress.com)
- Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella (jjysreviews.wordpress.com)
- Monsters University (seventhreel.co.uk)
- Monsters University Review (4kcritic.wordpress.com)
- Monsters University – Movie Review (lucasfothergill.wordpress.com)
- Monsters University (junglecatinthebathroom.wordpress.com)