I wasn’t too excited when I heard that a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” was in the making. Yes, I LOVE “Monsters, Inc.” (it’s my favorite Pixar film), so I was excited to see my favorite characters return in a cinematic production. But at the same time, I didn’t want to be disappointed by them appearing in a less-than-mediocre prequel.
Anyway, I finally watched the movie. What did I think of it? Well, let’s talk about the film first.
The film is a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.”,
and features Mike and Sulley as college students in the prestigious Monsters University. They are not friends in the beginning and actually don’t get along very well. But they constantly have to deal with seeing each other, because they are both majoring in the same field: “scaring” (or “scareology”).
Sadly, the are both kicked out of the scaring program by the dean, Abigail Hardscrabble, after destroying college property and failing the scaring final.
But, Mike gets an idea on how he can get back in the program. He joins the college’s “Scare Games”, a sort of competition between fraternities in which each fraternity has to go through a number of rounds of scaring exercises. The loser fraternity of each round is disqualified and the victor is the last remaining fraternity.
To qualify, Mike joins the Oozma Kappa fraternity, an unpopular fraternity comprised of not very frightening monsters who have all been kicked out of the scaring program at what point or another.
Sully also joins the fraternity, since they need one more monster to qualify, much to Mike’s displeasure.
Mike then makes a deal with Dean Hardscrabble that if his fraternity wins the Scare Games, then she’ll have to accept them all back into the scaring program. Dean Hardscrabble agrees and adds that if their fraternity loses, then they’re all to leave Monsters University for good.
And the rest of the film is about them training for the Scare Games and going through the ups and downs of being a team.
Ok, so the story isn’t really that bad, and actually kinda cool. I wouldn’t call it clever, but it’s definitely an interesting premise. The only problem with the story is that many scenarios/events occur in this film that very much ruin the continuity of the original “Monsters, Inc.”. It’s an annoying trait, but I guess, not a detrimental one.
Now, let’s talk about the other aspects of the movie. What can I say about the voice acting? Many of the voice actors from “Monsters, Inc.” reprise their roles in this film (Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Ratzenberger, etc.) and they all do their jobs as wonderfully as they did in the first movie.
This film also features new voice actors such as Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Joel Murray, and Aubrey Plaza amongst others. And I thought they all did very well. I especially loved Joel Murray’s performance as Don Carlton, a middle-aged monster who’s returned to university. He makes the character so likable!
The animation is very detailed. The animators animated college buildings and frat houses with immaculate detail. I am a university student myself, and the animation is so accurate that it makes Monsters University feel like a real place.
Apparently, some of the animators even spent a few weeks in frat houses just to get enough accurate information for their work. Well, at least, I HOPE it was accurate information they were getting and not other things.
So all in all, what did I think of the movie? I liked it…
BUT…it’s definitely part of what I call Pixar’s “OK movies” era. These are the movies in Pixar’s Canon that aren’t horrible, but they’re at such a lesser quality than Pixar’s previous works that they stand out as being inferior, i.e. the effort and creativity put into these films seems much less than the effort and creativity put into the earlier films. I liken them to the second half of the Disney Renaissance (“Pocahontas” and “Hercules” are nothing when compared to “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King”). In my opinion, Pixar’s “OK movies” era started with “Up”, and continued with “Cars 2”, “Brave” and now this.
Summing up, I’m glad I saw it, and would see it again. But it’s not incredible and the original is, of course, a better film!