Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters Inc., begins with a young and very little Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) still in primary school. After a field trip to Monsters Inc. he has only one dream: to become a scarer. Years later he arrives at Monsters University but soon learns he still has a long way to go. His main problem? Mike isn't scary at all. He befriends his roommate young Randall (Steve Buscemi), who at that time is an unimportant loser (and later gets seduced by the dark side). The first night he makes an enemy out of Sully (John Goodman), a freshman who thinks that his family name (of legendary scarers) is enough to get him through school. A personal vendetta is born.
Things go wrong when Mike and Sully accidentally destroy a sacred item that belongs to the devilish Dean Hardscrabble (a brilliant Helen Mirren). They get expelled from all Scare Classes and will not graduate as a real Scarer. Luckily Mike comes up with a plan, a bet with the dean. If he finds a team to compete in the Scare Games and if he indeed wins, he's allowed to follow the Scare Classes until the end. Dean Hardscrabble approves. Now it's up to Mike, Sully and his team of losers to work as a team and go the distance
In Monsters University the Scare Games are very well done. I can see both kids and adults laughing their socks off when Mike and Sully, in the same team but still enemies, are doing their first race and try not to step on the items that make their body grow. Bizarre, but hilarious! Their next assignment, when they have to steal something in the library, is also a winner. But what really works in Monsters University is that the story is mainly about friendship. We not only see how Mike and Sully turn from big enemies into big friends; they become soul mates for life. To join the Scare Games Mike must find five extra members to form a team and the only ones left are a bunch of nerds that no one pays attention to and a big blue monster that he absolutely hates (Sully). Still Mike succeeds in making it work.
Even when you know that Mike and Sully will win the Scare Games (that isn't a spoiler, is it?), this film isn't predictable at all. It doesn't end with Sully holding up the Scare cup but it takes one more great scene to bring Mike and Sully definitely together. I will not spoil it for you, but it involves a door to the human world and a little green monster that's depressed.
Monsters University is a great film. It's both funny and sentimental in all the right places. Fans of the first movie will see a lot of cameos in this one (Yeti!). The story ends when Monsters Inc. begins. I will even advise the next generation to see Monsters University first and then go on to Monsters Inc.
Yeah, my faith in Pixar is restored. Although I must confess that with Planes coming up, things can change very fast in the wrong direction. But maybe that's because I have never liked the Cars movie.