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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was skeptical that this second "Monsters" movie, a prequel, would be
close to as good as the first one. Disney Pixar has few misses, but
occasionally their sequels miss the mark, such as "Cars 2". I was
curious as to how the writers were going to make a story about campus
life but still hit the mark with the heart the first Monsters movie
had. Although this movie may not have as much "heart" as the first, it
does not underperform.
I thought the strength of the movie rests in the differences between the various monsters. There are many more monsters in this movie and we get a surface view of many of their strengths or humorous attributes and those with a larger storyline we get an even larger picture of. There are many different faces of the college campus, just like there are on a traditional college campus, and many of these different faces are entertaining or amusing. Although the voices and dialogue of the supporting cast is not on par with what we've come to expect in a saga like "Toy Story" it is fine, and often humorous, just not A caliber.
Also missing from this one is "Boo". Obviously she did not exist in this timeline, but some of the light hearted humanistic qualities are missing without her character. We do get some looks at some of the monsters that will be present in "Monsters Inc." such as Randall (Steve Buscemi), Roz, Mr. Waternoose, etc. My daughter personally loves George Sanderson (he was the tall orange furry monster from Monsters Inc. with the horn who was shaved after a child's sock landed on him) and even he has a few very brief cameos, but if you're not looking for them, you will miss them. Part of me wishes we could've seen more of this, but the filmmakers obviously didn't want this movie to just have inside jokes and relate to the next movie, they wanted it to be its own thing, and that it is.
I have recently seen Monsters Inc. a couple times in the last month, and probably 40 times or so over the past 10 years, many in the past few years with kids. That being said, although this movie doesn't have the newness of the monster world that "Monsters Inc." did, it was very entertaining, funny, and a lot of fun. There was nothing content-wise I would not want my children hearing or seeing, but very entertaining for people of all ages. I look forward to watching it many times in the future, and don't expect it to wear off anytime soon.
I just prepared for something more all these times after monsters company. It supposed to be a monsters world with some unique characteristics that tell the whole story beyond human things,but unfortunately "Monsters University" wasn't a good second tale about them,also with many goofs about the background of Mike and Sullivan which my 7 years daughter also noticed it!. But making joke about some old fashion universities legitimation,some crazy honored clubs and circles aren't bad at all.Somehow the whole story lowered as some teens movies about going to college and hell of being a freshman.I just hope nobody suggest it as Oscar Nominated animation of year!
Although I may not be the public's view or the best critic in the
world. My opinion as a movie loving person, regardless of movie type
(or social age expectation), has to be that Pixar has outdone itself in
Monsters University (MU). The movie is a great way to show how playful
and serious college can be, but with a twist and childhood fun that
many of us believe college can be. This movie, albeit mainly propaganda
towards kids and families, does have a charm for those attending
college/universities, as they can relate to some of the actions in the
movie (as is the case for me).
The movie starts out with a short animation film of the Blue Umbrella, quite entertaining and with a wonderful storyline.
The movie by itself, is a great work of animated cinematographic work. Although it is mostly CGI, with the use of realistic sounds and background art, makes the movie appear to come to life, as you were right there in the film (3-D or no 3-D). It keeps you laughing, entertained and happy all at the same time. Monsters University in my humble opinion, will be set apart as one of the great sequels Pixar has made in the past few years; with expectation to the hugely awaited Toy Story 3, as a great family movie as well as one that has a good chance of creating a series for the Monsters Inc. brand.
I do greatly hope that Pixar could create this into a Trilogy or expand it into something great. Doing so however, without losing it's charm and playful nature that has attracted us to it from the beginning will be a challenge. A challenge that I hope Pixar will gladly make it into a future success.
Kudos to Pixar for creating a great movie once again!!
"Monsters University" has my vote for the most unnecessary prequel,
story-wise at the very least. If Mike Wazowski is working at Monsters
Inc. in the original movie, then this movie's ending is a foregone
conclusion; he'll either triumph over adversity or find a loophole.
It's got a pretty good cast, but Charlie Day steals the movie easily (and it's not the first time). But it lacks the heart and soul of the original. Even Ratzenberger feels shoehorned in, and he's the studio's quirky Easter egg. It's not a weak effort because a lot of work went into this. But the story's deeply lacking.
Now! On to the review! The story of the origin of the friendship between one-eyed Mike Wazowski and the blue furred James P. Sullivan in their freshman year at Monsters University. This film has homages to all the classic college comedy movies, and as it doesn't hold out on laughs for the kids and adults, it has a great amount of heart. Questions of what the future holds, and if our dreams are as possible as we hope they are. Punches aren't pulled on these questions, which is why it isn't just some animated movie to take the kids to see. Now! On to the review! The story of the origin of the friendship between one-eyed Mike Wazowski and the blue furred James P. Sullivan in their freshman year at Monsters University. This film has homages to all the classic college comedy movies, and as it doesn't hold out on laughs for the kids and adults, it has a great amount of heart. Questions of what the future holds, and if our dreams are as possible as we hope they are. Punches aren't pulled on these questions, which is why it isn't just some animated movie to take the kids to see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The boys are back in town only its not a sequel but a prequel and we
gonna see how Mike and Sulley became friends. Yep its back to school
for this next adventure into the world of scaring.
Mike is off to Monsters University to become a scarer, only problem is he's not very scary, but he's book smart, so he learns all he can on the art of scaring. Sulley is a bit of a jock and thanks to his privileged family background he has a good reputation and following. He's a good scarer and indeed scary but not so book smart, so in essence these guys need each other. Even more so after getting kicked off the scaring programme they must both work together with a team of nerds to win the scare games and get back into the scare programme (the word 'scare' is used by the bucket load in this).
My initial thoughts on this were sceptical I admit, another prequel which seems to be the trend these days, why not a straight forward sequel. These thoughts were virtually obliterated as Mike jumps off the bus and enters into the Uni. Do I really need to talk about visuals here? one word...awesome! these animated films just get better and better. Everything just looks so damn real! the slimy monsters look slimy, the furry ones look perfectly furry, everything has such a solid realistic sense and weight about them its fantastic. The colours are bright, bold, vivid and gosh darn beautiful.
On top of that the detail here is astounding, everywhere you look in each frame or scene there is something going on. Of course being set within a school there is plenty to create, plenty of visual gags, homages, in-jokes, parodies etc...the possibilities are pretty endless and sure enough its all covered here. Yeah sure a lot of it is cheesy and clichéd, we've seen many of these high school-like pranks and party scenarios with jocks and dweebs before, its an old concept, but it all looks good enough to eat.
Its actually pretty cool to see a very young Mike Wazowski, he looks so adorable, I really felt sorry for the little guy when he gets pushed around. Once he's grown up a bit and voiced by Crystal that cuteness falls by the wayside but never mind. I really liked all the other characters in the school, it must have been hard to create so many unique looking creatures, there are some that look a bit lame, a bit similar, a bit Dino-esque but in general a nice selection. The middle aged textile salesman monster Don Carlton was a great little creation although he does look somewhat like Mario.
I really did like some of the fraternity monsters especially, the monster that looked like an eagle with horns and his mohawk/mullet- like hair. I also liked how they came up with stereotypical types of monsters which parody reality...the goth/emo kids, the girly cheerleader types, the porky kids, the poindexters etc...I REALLY liked the brief appearance of the scream can design teacher, like an overly hairy Muppet. It was also cool to see 'Randall' back as for some reason I didn't expect to see this guy. So not only do we get to see how Mike and Sulley become friends we also see how Randall comes to hate Sulley.
The scare games predictably do go the way you know they're gonna go, but the finale scaredown is cool and fun to watch. What I liked is the actual ending to the film doesn't play out as you'd expect, there is a little twist and the good guys don't totally win in every way you'd expect them too...which is cool.
There are absolutely tonnes of good morals, good values and good lessons to be learnt in this film, a great motivational spirit lifter for all ages (especially the younger gen of course). Maybe a little bit more for the kids this time but still thoroughly entertaining, the perfect underdog story, or should that be undermonster? zing!
I remember the first time I have seen Monsters University and by far it
was Pixar's best animated film since Toy Story 3.
Dan Scanlon has done an excellent job directing Monsters University, a huge step up on his works on direct to video sequels to Disney classics, as a storyboard artist for The Little Mermaid II:Return to the Sea and 101 Dalmatians II:Patch's London Adventure, which is a huge step-up to the big league animators. Well done, Mr Scanlon. The story was an excellent story that preceded the original film. The characters from the original Monsters Inc., Mike Wazowski, James P. Sullivan and Randall Boggs which made the film memorable. The new characters were really good also. The voice acting was top-notch. Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi as the voices of Mike Wazowski, James P. Sullivan and Randall Boggs have also returned. The new voice cast including Sean Hayes, Helen Mirren, Dave Foley, Joel Murray, et cetera were also excellent. The music by Randy Newman was also excellent as he continues to do memorable film scores to Pixar animated films.
I highly recommend this film to every Monsters, Inc. and Pixar fan that showed the excellence of Dan Scanlon in his directorial debut. You will never regret it. 10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Walt Disney never went to college; neither did John D. Rockefeller.
Bill Gates did, he dropped out of Harvard before he graduated. Those
who have seen The Social Network (2010) probably recall Facebook
founder Mark Zuckerberg also dropped out of Harvard. I suppose college
isn't for everyone including *spoiler alert* Mike Wazowski (Billy
Crystal) and James "Sully" Sullivan (John Goodman). Academics can be
stifling after all.
In the prequel to the celebrated Monster, Inc. (2001) movie, the beloved Mike and Sully are students of the prestigious and aptly named Monster University. Both lack the je ne sais quoi to be graduating material at the College of Scaring according to Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren). That is until Mike comes up with a plan to win the Greek Council Scare Games. If he and his newly assembled fraternity can do so, they're all accepted into the College of Scaring and don't have to spend their college days constructing scream canisters. But can the initially antagonistic duo pull it off?
Think a family-oriented cartoon version of Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and you got yourself the basic premise of Monster University. Seriously Pixar? If you were going to rip off comedy staples at least lift from something better like Animal House (1978). All said and done, while there are some flickers of originality in the visuals, the story is a retread of College Humor jokes redressed and sanitized for the kiddies.
Of course unoriginality isn't exactly a cardinal sin in the film industry. When was the last time you saw something truly unique at the movie theater? But there's something insidious about the message behind Monsters University (2013) that doesn't compute. The two of course become good friends; understand the value of teamwork, blah, blah, blah. But instead of being allowed into the College of Scaring, they are expelled for reasons I won't expand on here; after all, I can't spoil everything. They end up starting in the mailroom of Monsters, Inc. eventually making it to the scare floor.
While that would be a nice message about how hard work can pay off, the message kids will undoubtedly receive from the last five minutes of the movie is success isn't dependent on college enrollment. Maybe fifty years ago the moral of this story would have been forgivable but in this day and age it's foolhardy to tell kids they too can start in the mailroom and be fine. You don't need a college education or failing that trade school/certification; it's all about hopes and dreams and elbow grease; yeah, not in today's economy.
I don't want to demean those who don't have a diploma from Student Debt University. Going to college does not make you smarter and certainly doesn't make you happier. Plus as I said before, there are a lot of successful people who chose a different career path that didn't involve a student meal plan and drum circle in the quad. But those people are the exception. The fact remains those who attain a bachelor's degree or higher have a better quality of life overall. College graduates earn almost twice as much as high school grads over the course of their careers, they're more marketable, can adapt to new jobs quicker and as highlighted in Monsters University, they make lasting social connections.
One thing I tell kids all the time is college indeed isn't for everyone. You just have to ask yourself two questions when you get to that age. Does what I want to do require a college degree? And, if I'm undecided, can I afford college? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then don't go after high school and ask yourself again next year. It was my way of telling the youth if they're not economically or socially mature enough to handle college don't waste your time and enjoy flipping burgers until they are.
It's hard to believe that it's been 12 years since the original
Monsters, Inc. graced the screens and introduced the world to a green,
one-eyed motormouth named Mike Wazowski and a lovable furry giant
called James P. 'Sully' Sullivan. Although it was far from Pixar's best
effort, Inc was charming and a surprisingly moving little film that
made a killing at the box office. So why the wait for a sequel? Cars 2
(2011) aside, Pixar have always prided themselves on putting story
above all else, so perhaps the writers simply could not come up with
something solid enough to warrant another outing for Mike and Sully.
But now Disney are in charge, I guess that if there's money to be made,
they'll make sure it's made.
Before the events of Monsters, Inc., Mike (Billy Crystal) is a young monster with only one goal in his life - to become a top scarer at Monsters, Inc. The only problem is that he's not scary. Inspired by an encounter on a school trip, Mike studies and studies until he is enlisted in Monsters University, the best place for any budding scarer to learn their craft. Sully (John Goodman) enlists too, with a legendary family name and a clearly formidable appearance. Sully's lethargic approach to study annoys Mike, and a fallout between the two leads them to be kicked out of the class by the terrifying Dean Harscrabble (Helen Mirren). With seemingly no hope, Mike sees the upcoming Scare Games as the chance to prove himself to Harscrabble, who agrees to let him back in if he triumphs, only he has to team up with Sully to make up the numbers.
The main problem with Pixar's output in the last few years is that they seem to be slowly moving away from making movies that please adults in equal amounts to children. Toy Story 3 was their last great movie and that was three years ago. Cars 2 and last year's Brave were mediocre efforts, certainly beautiful to behold but relatively hollow inside. Much of the same can be said for Monsters University, as although it's nice to see these characters again, it lacks that Pixar touch that led to so many of their films to now be considered classics of the genre. We are left with not much more than a collection of wonderfully constructed set-pieces based around a thin plot that we all know the result of anyway.
Of the new additions, Charlie Day's Art and Helen Mirren's Dean Harscrabble steal the film, the former a truly bonkers creation and the latter given some quality thespian backing. We also get the welcome return of Steve Buscemi's Randy, who's downturn we get to witness thanks to a very clever moment. But ultimately, Monsters University's biggest problem is that it's just not that funny. The best moments are seen in the trailer (such as the snail monster trying not to be late for class on his first day), and the best aspects of college life can't be played with as they involve alcohol, drugs or boobs, a no-no even for Pixar. So we are left with a very pretty film (possibly the finest animation-wise to date) full of breathtaking set-pieces, but one that lacks that special touch I came to love from Pixar and one I am becoming reluctantly resigned to never seeing again.
The Incredible, Brave and universally Monstrous animation studio Pixar
have undeniably been heard roaring the loudest with their 14 feature
films amounting to their reputation at the forefront of motion picture
animation, and film in general. The studio's small in number yet great
in quality features make it unsurprising that there is a particular
expectation for the animators to deliver more masterful art in the
present and future. However, most recently Pixar have delved into the
past with their first and very highly anticipated prequel, Monsters
Monsters, Inc. (2001) brought Pixar into the 21st century by opening doors into an entirely unique universe for audiences of all ages to enter. 12 years later, and the children who grew up with Sully, Mike and the rest of Monstropolis have been invited back to experience a stage in these great characters' lives that many of us also find ourselves in: university.
Monsters University sees Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan meet for the first time as they both desire to attain their major from the Scare Program but both have different views on how to pass the class. While Mike operates as the educated, hardworking, fearless yet physically unintimidating scarer, Sully excels fearsomely well at the scaring, but lacks the motivation, courage and book smarts Mike possesses, causing the pair to become rivals.
The writers constructively use the beloved on screen relationship between Mike and Sully to explore their differences in Monsters University, which are ironically everything they need to complete each other as a pair, as classmates, as colleagues and as who knows what if Pixar decide to expand the Monsters franchise further. This prequel justifies itself solely in the exploration of Mike and Sully's match as the perfect scare team; yin and yang embodied on screen.
As if Pixar were not punctual enough with the timely release of Monsters University (MU) for those who grew up with the original, but its setting also plays host to the film's central storyline which follows the MU Scare Games. With the release of this monster movie coinciding with the one year anniversary of the hugely successful London Olympics, Pixar manages to capture a marginal fictionalised element of magic that the 2012 Games accumulated, but a fraction alone is enough to captivate audiences, which Monsters University does indeed.
The parallels between the challenges that the MU fraternities must face and those accomplished last summer are certainly not forced in this prequel, and so make for delightfully relevant entertainment as we see Mike and Sully reluctantly join the same fraternity to fight for their survival in the university's Scare Program, overcoming numerous, humorous obstacles along the way.
Monsters University has a mix of fun features, all contained within a single, fun feature film. Whether you're a toy, bug, monster, fish, superhero, car, rat, robot or most likely just an everyday human, Monsters University will almost definitely delight and satisfy with enough laughs to energise the whole of Monstropolis. Pixar really unhooked the leash in 2013, having changed the tone from Monsters, Inc. whilst still managing to keep the collar on this prequel to ensure it belongs to the 2001 animation. While it lacks the heart and depth of the original, Monsters University surpasses its predecessor with a blend of humour, visual vibrancy and enough universityisms to keep any student mentally reaching out to the screen in relation, as the film reaches out to us in so many ways.
Monsters University has many welcome throwbacks (or throw forwards chronologically speaking if you prefer) to Monsters, Inc. that are only supplementary magical moments to the energetic, Monstrously good, nonstop party of animated fun. Monsters University proves that Pixar can graduate to prequels and still remain successful. The studio has just about every metaphorical studious qualification imaginable, and yet their fantastic writers, directors, animators and actors continue to imagine and conceive new, unique artwork. This provides us with excellent family fun, heart-warming stories and allegories, with Monsters University as the latest, and certainly one of the greatest. In all fairness however, most of Pixar's features sit atop their greatest offerings as it is difficult to favour one over the other.
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