Every child has a dream, and for a young, one-eyed Mike Wazowski, that dream is to become a big-time scarer. But for a smallish, not-so-scary monster, that’s going to be a big challenge, but it all starts by graduating from the hallowed hall of Monsters University.
Disney Pixars big summer movie sees Mike and Sulley return as the stars of this prequel to Monsters Inc., but this is really Mike’s movie. Determined to not let his physical limitations hold him back, Mike plans to be the hardest working student in the scaring program, a stark contrast to Sulley, the big man on campus loafing through his classes because he comes from a family of famous scarers. Things don’t go according to plan for either monster, and Mike and Sulley (not yet best friends) have to begrudgingly team up with a fraternity of misfits to win the campus’ Scare Games to avoid getting kicked out of school.
On the Pixar scale of Cars 2 (lousy) to Toy Story 3 (spectacular), Monsters University falls solidly in the middle, packing the expected gorgeous visuals and hilarious characters, but it lacks that extra emotional resonance, or that singular perfect moment that marks Pixar’s best movies.
But in typical Pixar fashion, there are well-told lessons for children to learn from. As Mike tries to lead the monsters of Oozma Kappa to victory, he and his fraternity brothers learn that they can succeed by being the best you that you can be, as well as the value of being a good friend.
It’s not all for children though, and adults should appreciate the college-related humor and the significant nods to classic frat movies like Revenge of the Nerds and Animal House.
The world of Monsters Inc. and Monsters University allows the Pixar animators to really cut loose with the character designs, and that is the real strength of this movie. There are great monster designs all around, including the nightmarish Dean Hardscrabble and the adorably loopy Art. The grounds of the university itself are also visually stunning, and I would gladly give Disney many of my dollars if they built that as a new addition to Disneyland.
The GamerPops Recommendation
It’s going to be a very busy summer for movie-going families, and Monsters University makes a great case being the best of the bunch. Mike and Sulley are great characters that fit perfectly into this prequel story, and children and parents alike should love their latest (and first) adventure, even if it doesn’t quite rate amongst Pixar’s best.