Review: Monsters University

Once again, I was away for a weekend doing something fun.  This time, it was a convention called Florida Supercon.  And while I had a blast and will eventually talk about it, I feel more like talking about a movie I saw yesterday.

I’m generally weary of all sequels, especially animated ones.  Double especially animated ones from Disney and its affiliates.  Disney doesn’t have a good track record with sequels (and the only words I need to explain are Little Mermaid 2).  And the Toy Story series notwithstanding, sequels for the Disney flicks usually end up flopping hard.  I am happy and very thankful to say that Monsters University is one I shouldn’t have worried about.  I will attempt to make this review mostly spoiler free.  Suffice to say if you’ve seen and liked the first one, you’ll like this one.  And allow me to expand on that.  This is Monsters University.

Monsters U is the prequel to the hit (and one of my favorite) Pixar movie, Monsters, Inc.  In the movie, we follow Mike and Sully as they attend college and learn how to be Scarers.  However, on the first day of class, Mike and Sully mess up and are kicked out of the program.  When Mike finds out about the Scare Games, he makes a bet with the dean of the school to readmit them into the program if they win.  Now all they have to do is compete in a very dangerous competition…

College movies have never been my favorites.  I’ve only seen Animal House once and I don’t think I ever need to see it again.  The problem is, I think the plots for “college” movies are really thin.  The only good thing about these types of movies are the characters.  And, I’ll tell you right now that Monsters U has great characters in spades.

Mike and Sully are in top form, sounding appropriately and amazingly younger this time around.  I love their personalities too.  Mike is basically an overachieving nerd and Sully is sort of a jock with entitlement issues.  All the secondary characters are also great.  The older student that was laid off and is seeking a degree, the artsy hipster moron, the quiet but funny shy one, they’re all here and all funny.  Special mentions go to Nathan Fillion playing a mean jock monster who will do anything to win.  He was probably my favorite character.  Also major props to the dean of the school who’s name escapes me.  The design for her was very well done and creepy and she was phenomenally voice-acted by someone whose name I don’t remember either.  Still, props to both the design and voice.

The humor and writing of the movie is definitely what saves it from being average.  The character jokes are all hilarious and every background and throwaway gag got a laugh out of me.  I especially loved any and all jokes that referred to the original movie.  (Tip:  Keep an eye on the background.  There’s a lot of gags there.)  There are two cameos that completely made the movie for me and I will die before giving them away.  You’ll just have to watch the movie.

Do I even need to talk about the animation?  It’s Pixar.  They never half ass anything, not even their little mini-shorts before each movie.  (Speaking of, the one before this movie is especially cute and amazingly beautiful.  Don’t be late for this movie or you may miss it. And trust me you don’t want to.)

I can’t think of anything else to talk about.  All in all, this film isn’t as good as it’s predecessor.  But that doesn’t make it a bad film in the slightest.  It’s got a great sense of humor and an amazing sense of character.  I’m going to call this one a “don’t miss” for this summer.  You’ll have one monster of a good time, I promise.


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