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Monsters University
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24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

disappointed

2/10
Author: socklessmenace from Canada
19 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Disappointment.

Let me start by saying "Monsters Inc." was one of my favourite movies when I was younger and still stands in my top three Pixar films with "The Incredibles" and "A Bug's Life" ('COUGH' Seven Samurai 'COUGH'). So I went into this film with high expectations. I don't know why. I should'v known what to expect from a university based prequel.

Where "Monsters Inc." succeeded was where most Pixar films succeed, it's originality. "Monsters Inc." is one of the most original ideas ever conceived, a story centerd around monsters in an alternate monster universe that travel through closet door portals to the human world to scare children to generate energy for their world. It doesn't get much more original then that. And the originality stopped dead there, because the last thing this prequel has is originality.

For starters there were barely any new characters... I should rephrase, no new characters worth remembering or caring about. The only main new characters added were complete stereotypical university centred characters, the geeks and the jocks, and in their most generic forms. Oh and don't forget the overly strict administrator who (Surprise, Surprise) shows caring by the end of the film having a change of heart and doesn't seem so mean after all. And of course the stereotypical dumb/naive, easily excitable mother figure.

The most promising thing about this movie was seeing the transition for Randal. When he came into the movie (not really a spoiler he's in the trailer and it's in the first ten minutes) he's nice, so I was excited to see his transition to becoming the villain we see him as in "Monsters Inc." and let me tell you (possible spoiler ahead, jump to next paragraph if you want absolutely nothing spoiled) it was vastly disappointing. It was literally two scenes: one where he just outwardly tells Mike he wants to be popular so he can't hang with him anymore. And the next is he's in the opposing team in a competition against Mike and Sully and loses and then says "that's the last time I lose to you, Sullivan" I was heart-brokenly disappointed at this. To me it actually belittled Randal as a villain in the original because suddenly he just didn't seem that evil anymore now knowing that it all stemmed from him losing once against Sully in University and wanting to be popular. They at least could'v developed it further...more than two scenes at least.

The rest of the movie was just countless predictable plot points. It's the age old university centred movie story of rival houses having a competition (Screw it there's going to be spoilers, I'm angry and ready to rant) and of course Mike and Sully start off not being friends and what'ya know it they become friends because, common, I know you know this one... Yeahp, that's right! They discover they have to work together to succeed at things instead of trying to do it on their own and it brings them together...because we haven't seen that in a dozen Disney movies already. AND THAT'S IT! There's literally nothing more than that. The first movie was so groundbreaking and had such amazing scale and then they just took those characters, put them in university, and told a story we'v all heard plenty of times before.

It wasn't even that funny. I can remember laughing out loud once: a slug monster is late for class and starts trying to run but he just goes really slow and they pull the whole "Family Guy" joke goes on longer than expected and I admittedly laughed quite long and loud. But that's it. The rest I could recognize it was supposed to be funny but it just didn't work for me. I was probably just too disappointed to laugh.

The one redeeming thing about this movie (ULTIMATE SPOILER) is at the end they get expelled, which I didn't expect. It shows in a montage that they found their own way to work at Monsters Inc. showing that university isn't necessarily the only option, which I think is a good message to send to the young people of today (considering most are brainwashed the opposite).

But that was it. The rest of the movie was just constantly predictable and disappointing. They had such great material to work with and it's like they didn't even try. I felt like I was watching a Disney channel show that was a spin off of one of their well known movies, or like a made for TV movie. It was the equivalent of Shrek's Christmas special...only I expect something like that from Dreamworks after seeing Shrek 2...and 3...and 4. Pixar is the last group of people I would call unimaginative, and yet here I am. They should'v left it at the original if they weren't willing to do something fresh with it. I think Pixar should stick to original films and stay away from sequels/prequels. Yes, they struck gold with Toy Story 3 apparently (I'm the only person who hasn't seen it yet), but that doesn't mean everything else needs a sequel...and yes "Plains" counts as a sequel to "Cars", I don't care what you say. Actually I wouldn't mind a sequel to "The Incredibles"...okay, if you're going to make a sequel make sure it's WORTH making and you're not just making a sequel for the sake of making it with no real original exciting story to tell. I expect other movies to make sequels without putting too much thought into if they're worth making, because they know people will see them and they'll make money. But not Pixar, they were the last production company I'd expect to do that. A sequel/prequel should be able to stand on it's own, this prequel barely stands on the shoulders of the original, it wobbles at best.

I'm just so...

Disappointed.

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43 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

The Pixar we all fell in love with is back!

10/10
Author: David Maldonado from Puerto Rico
20 June 2013

Monsters University is the best Pixar film since Toy Story 3 in 2010, and as good as Monsters Inc.

After Toy Story 3, Pixar Animation has been doing films that got short for the standards make by them. Cars 2 in 2011 didn't make it to the final round on the Academy Awards and Brave in 2012 won that year just because it was Pixar and they didn't receive the Oscar the year before, but the movie didn't have anything special. So, after the good streak of Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3, Pixar fell way too low, buy this summer they have raise up and brought the perfect family movie of 2013 (by far).

Even thou we are seeing some of the old characters like (obviously), Mike, Sully, Randall and even George Sanderson (the monsters that is shaved for the 3312 alert), this movie feels different from its predecessor/sequel. What Monsters Inc. gain in sweetness with the Boo's character, this one compensates it with laughs. Since Finding Nemo in 2003, Pixar films has lost a little laughs, and introduced sweetness, but in University the smiles are back.

But it's not only about the laughs. The whole philosophy of the world is different. Inc. was about questioning the world they live in and everything they know about human kids. In University, scaring a kid is a good thing and is what give value a monster. If a monster is not scary then, what kind of monster is it? So, those two simple things gave the movie a whole new and different vibe.

The story is pretty much what we have seen in the trailers, but funnier. However, there are some unexpected twists that make it a even more solid film. So, we are safe to say that you haven't seen it all, even if you have seen every single trailer and clip in the internet. The ending is great, odd coming from Pixar, it works perfectly to the story when you think about it and don't make room for any sequel to the prequel, because it closes every gap.

It would be a cliché to say that the animation is amazing. This is Pixar that we're talking about. All the details on hair, scales, skin and even feathers are stunning. Even better than that is the animation on the characters expression. It is unbelievable. They don't have to say a word to send a message because with their faces they say it all. Sully could be an Academy Award winner, but what Mike does with one eye and a round body doesn't have a word to be described.

Some people will say that in Monsters Inc. Mike says to Sully, "You have been jealous of my looks since fourth grade". However, the characters first meet in college. Well, director Dan Scalon said that they actually thought about that and get to the conclusion that Mike said that as a common expression referring to a long time period and not literally that they have meet since 4th grade. The only problem is that to sustain that excuse they should have use it at least one time in this film. However, we never hear such a phrase to be told by Mike or any other character in the film. That will make those people think that Scalon only said that excuse to safe the story.

If you are human enough to ignore that stupid and insignificant expression, then you will enjoy Monsters University. You will laugh, the kids will love it and everyone will remember why they fell in love with Pixar and this particularly characters 12 years ago.

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22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A rare blockbuster that could teach audiences something

8/10
Author: Likes_Ninjas90 from Australia
17 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the more understated strings in the bow of animation giant Pixar are the moral lessons that their films provide to audiences. In 2001 Monsters, Inc. introduced us to Mike and Sully, two monsters that were part of a corporation where monsters could travel through teleportation doors and into bedrooms of children to scare them so that their screams would power their operations. Children were also seen as dangerous outsiders until the business learnt that laughter is a more successful for increasing production. Overcoming our fears, risk taking and laughter are lessons that the animation studio itself taught us and embraced on its own.

Pixar have again upheld this optimistic, moral outlook because Monsters University is a celebration of diversity and learning your specialist skills. The film is a prequel to the 2001 film, with Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprising their roles as monsters Mike and Sully, who are not friends but college rivals learning the trade of scaring and hoping to be accepted into the Monsters, Inc.

The film will give parents an opportunity to talk to their children about the subject of college in a positive outlook. In American there has rarely been a more important time to have this conversation. The Huffington Post wrote in April that there had already been thirteen college shootings this year. In 2007 thirty-two people were shot dead at Virginia Tech. Though never short of funding, the American education system also still produces consistently subpar performances. Countering these pillars of fear and tension, Monsters University captures the emotions of college life and then gleefully subverts them.

The core of the film is the friendship of Mike and Sulley, who represent contrasting attitudes in college study life. Mike is hardworking, ambitious and by the book but also small, an outcast and a loner. He wants to be the sole leader. Sulley is unprepared, lazy and coasts off his family name as a Sullivan. He's bigger, more intimidating and popular than Mike and expects everything will come through his natural ability and that he doesn't need to study. After making a bet with Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), they're thrown together into a Scare Games contest, where they reluctantly band together, along with other loners, to complete a series of challenges to stay enrolled in the college.

Each game played against the other rival fraternity houses gives the film a story structure that is not dissimilar to The Internship. Unlike that film though, you actually care dearly about the characters. This is one of Pixar's greatest strengthens, not just as animators but as filmmakers. Each of the hilarious characters, including a middle-aged student and a two-headed dancer, helps to understand each other's strengths and how to use these in the tasks.

It could be viewed as a generic 'be yourself' message but in the context of a college setting its thematically sensible because college should be a place where people learn their own skills and can take unexpected detours and still succeed. For those assuming this is a derivative underdog story, there is a huge point of conflict in this film, coupled with Pixar's trademark lump in the throat moments, as the story shifts into its darker unexpected final act.

The director of the film was Dan Scanlon, who worked as a storyboard artist for Pixar on Cars. He graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and in his first Pixar film as director he has used these visual skills exceptionally. The film is hysterically funny, partly due to the wit but also the number of sight gags on display.

Monsters University itself resembles a proper college, with lecture rooms, dorms and orientation stalls, and uses this detail to reference old college films and campus stereotypes. I liked the variety in the monster designs, like how one of the students had a moustache shaped like a vampire bat or the Gothic monster that had spikes coming out of the microphone she was holding. Dan Scanlon also controls the beats of the story so that there are breathing spaces between the challenges and that action sequences are brisk and never overlong.

Hollywood films now are bigger and louder, but with little to say. Monsters University is a rare blockbuster that could teach audiences something. The film is about learning to accept fear and failure, while remaining hopeful about change and growth through our different skills. Pixar's personal talent is that their films are still as simulating as they are funny and creative.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Pleasant Story of Friendship

8/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9 February 2014

When Mike Wazowski is young, he visits the Monsters University in a tour of his primary school. A senior student gives his hat to Mike and he plans to become a scary monster.

Years later, Mike joins the Monsters University and on the arrival, he receives a flier of the Scare Games that will take place soon in the campus. Mike also befriends his roommate Randall. When the lazy student James P. "Sully" Sullivan, who belongs to a family of famous "scarers", breaks in his room, they start a competition in class. Their dispute ends when they accidentally break the pride and of joy of Dean Abigail Hardscrabble, a cylinder with her greatest achievement – a powerful scream of a boy. They both are expelled from the scare classes by Hardscrambble that tells that Sully is lazy and Mike is not scary, and they become enemies.

When Mike recalls the Scare Games, he sees his only chance to return to the scare course. He makes the application to participate, but he learns that he needs a fraternity. Mike joins the Oozma Kappa that is the only fraternity available with four losers, but he is informed that the fraternity needs to have six members. Sully offers to complete the team and Mike has no other alternative but accept Sully in his team. Then he bets with Hardscrambble that if he wins the games, she will accept them in the scare classes. Soon the game begins...

"Monsters University" is a pleasant story of friendship and a prequel of "Monsters Inc.". The plot is based on the American college life and despite the lack of any identification with my country, with fraternities and silly parties of American college students, the plot is funny and entertaining. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Universidade Monstros" ("Monsters University")

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

The Unnecesscary is strong in this one

6/10
Author: diac228 (diac1987@netscape.net) from Orlando, Florida
30 June 2013

Pixar, where has your courage gone? In this decade alone, we have been treated to two sequels, a prequel, a princess story (as if Disney doesn't have enough of those), with another sequel on the way. Pixar's Dreamworks mannerisms has been kind of unnerving, especially when we have seen the ballsy efforts like The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and especially (especially) Wall-E. The original stories are occurring less frequent, and while it's leading to guaranteed money for the company and Disney the die-hard Disney fans and film fanatics have been less than impressed.

And now we have Monster's University. Surely the charm is there, the animation is the usual Pixar quality, and the production value remains the best in the animation business. But there was a constant sense of pointlessness to this prequel throughout the whole thing, and it lacks the heart and humor of the original Monster's Inc. The originality of the 2001 gem is also missing, as University dwells into familiar clichéd territory in the second half.

This movie works well with the tykes and the true-blue Mike and Sully fans, but with the rest of us who really didn't care much to see how they met----well, there's not much here. It is simply about Mike and Sully's rivalry during the start of their university career and how they had to learn to accept each other if they ever wanted a chance to remain in the school.

In the grand scheme of the G-rated filmmaking culture, Monster's University excels and surpasses that of the normal fare. But this is Pixar we are talking about, a company that bleeds pure quality and has created some of the greatest animated films in history. They have raised the bar too high to create something so….normal. It is odd from a Pixar movie to see failed jokes and a sense of predictability.

It's not as funny, not as heartfelt, not as surprising, not as deep, and not as engaging as Pixar's best, and not even Dreamworks' best for that matter. It is simply light entertainment that will calmly entertain and not overwhelm---while at the same time not linger in your memory like Pixar's best like Toy Story, Nemo, Ratatouille and Up.

Good but not great—and in Pixar standards that should never be good enough.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Not great, but totally fun

7/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
23 June 2013

A prequel to one of Pixar's most beloved films, Monsters Inc. In all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to this one too much. A sequel would have been a better option. Like the Toy Story movies, it should take place a long while later, and Mike and Sully should meet back up with a teenage Boo or something. Boo was the soul of that movie, and, of course, in a prequel, Boo can't exist. Instead, we get the story of how Mike and Sully met in college. The story is made up of a ton of college movie clichés in the Monsters world. And it's fine. Not great, nothing really special, but it's very enjoyable and the animation is gorgeous. The last time I revisited Monsters Inc., the animation seemed a little primitive, but Pixar has more than perfected it now, and I loved seeing the wonderful monster designs. Steve Buscemi, the villain from the first film, is prominent in the cast again. Other famous cast members include Nathan Fillion, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day, Aubrey Plaza and Alfred Molina. The most memorable new character is Dean Hardscrabble, played by Helen Mirren. The design, kind of a centipede dragon, is extremely cool and actually pretty creepy.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great prequel; somewhat a spoiler but not much.

9/10
Author: Swive from United States
23 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I generally hate prequels. The suspense isn't there because you know the future and they are usually poorly made to boot.

This is an exception. We already like the characters and they made it exciting and somehow put in suspense. You really don't know how the whole thing will unfold and the end is not what you expect.

Generally, in this sort of movie, Mike and Sully would have triumphed, won the competition and become the stars of the school but they didn't follow this cliché and I liked that.

They showed that you can fail at one thing and still succeed. I enjoy this much more than most kids' movies.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Big hit, bigger miss.

3/10
Author: Quietb-1 from United States
24 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It has been 12 years since John Goodman and Billy Crystal voiced the original star characters. You would think by now Pixar could have come up with a better story. The premise is in the title, the story is non existent.

Perhaps Mike doesn't see how bad this is because he is looking at it through one big eye. The 3D up charge is wasted on Mike and everyone else. The movie is long for a animated feature and it feels long and redundant with scare games, scare contests and scarcely anything happening.

The good news is it isn't very scary and got a "G" rating. The bad news is there isn't much there for the adult in the audience. It is not funny.

There is a message about cheating and consequences but it gives the impression so what if you are kicked out of college. So what if there is nothing to this prequel except a big box office.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Pixar does it again

8/10
Author: Tom147
28 July 2013

Having really enjoyed Monsters Inc when I was younger, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that there was going to be a prequel released.

It was interesting to see how all the characters had met and what their friendships were like in the earlier days. The film has a good simple plot and is perfect for the whole family to enjoy as there is also some funny parts as well as heartwarming moments. It was great that Mike and Sulley (the two main characters) had the same voice-overs as the original film, this made it feel more authentic.

Overall I really enjoyed this film, but then who doesn't love a good Disney Pixar film?

8/10

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The prequel that no one asked for, but everyone will watch.

7/10
Author: MLBisMeMatt from Pittsburgh
30 April 2014

Monsters University: the prequel that no one asked for, but everyone will watch. It would appear that Pixar has recently run out of original ideas and has resorted to making sequels and prequels of older more successful movies (Cars 2, Planes, Monsters U and Finding Dory). That being said, the film was actually pretty decent and was rather watchable and enjoyable. The film had multiple unexpected twists, which avoided having an all too predictable ending. It also explained many of the features of its sequel, like Randall's rivalry with Mike and Sully and the Abominable Snowman.

Reviving the voice talents of Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi and adding Helen Mirren and Charlie Day, amongst others, this film stayed within the universe that the original movie had created, however in comparison failed to live up to its predecessor's greatness.

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