Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Monsters University (Dan Scanlon, 2013)

Disney Pixar in recent years have been more interested in sequels and prequels than developing original ideas. Finding Dory, a sequel to Finding Nemo, has just been announced for 2014 and in 2011 they returned us to the Cars universe, resulting in their weakest film to date. Last year Brave was a pleasant exception to this trend. However, the announcement of a prequel to Monsters Inc. was welcomed because Inc. has always been one of my favourite from the studio. Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) are two of their most inventive creations and in Monsters University we find out just how their inseparable friendship originated. Set amongst a frat house underdog formula reminiscent of Animal House this is perhaps not one of the studio’s strongest narratives, but it is a very funny film with commendable morals, striking animated details, and that moving camaraderie at the core.

Ever since Mike was a youngster and visited Monsters Inc. on a school field trip he dreamed of studying at the prestigious Monsters University to become a scarer. His pessimistic cohorts, despite his unbridled enthusiasm and fierce dedication to study, ridicule his bulbous stature and un-scary appearance. He immediately befriends his roommate, Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), but crosses paths with the brawny and antagonistic Sully, a carefree slacker who believes that lineage and his natural scariness will be enough to pass him. When they find themselves mutual outcasts and forced into an unpopular fraternity house, Oozma Kappa, they are given an ultimatum by the Dean of the University – win the annual Scare Games and be accepted back into the scare program. Mike and Sully have to assimilate their skills if they have any chance of competing.

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