One thing that I miss from cinema today is movies about college. Yeah, yeah, you can tell me that there are plenty of movies that are set in college that are still the subject. I understand that there are a lot of romantic comedies and inspirational, dramatic stories about college, but I wanna talk about those good old college comedies. Let’s set the way back machine to the late seventies and eighties. Remember Animal House and their debut of the classic toga party? What about Revenge of the Nerds and the cool concept of Greeks ruling over the campus? College life has plenty of comedic potential these days.
I guess one thing I can mention is that college is funny how it really changes the people that come out. College certainly taught me that the rest of the world doesn’t care what I do…and that’s actually a good thing. My entire life from grade one through twelve was built up on peer pressure; you just have to follow what everybody wants. On a college campus, I didn’t see any top ranking peers, just students that have come to find themselves. Since there wasn’t anyone saying no to my choices, I was able to do many things that made me a better person. I guess even monsters have to do a little growing in Monsters University.
This is a prequel to the 2003 hit Monsters Inc. This story reveals how Mike and Sully became friends. Starting back about twenty years before the first movie, Mike (played by Billy Crystal) has just been accepted to the prestigious Monsters University, which must be the equivalent to our Harvard University. Mike has always wanted to be a scarer, so he has spent all of his time studying on every factor on bring out the most effective scare on a child.
On his first day in class, Sully (played by John Goodman) arrives late, but is nevertheless, popular, due to coming from a family of scarers. He’s a natural scarer, but he’s lazy and does not like to put in his share of schoolwork. Mike and Sully become very competitive with each other, until a fight in front of Dean Hardscrabble (played by Helen Mirren) causes both of them to flunk their first exam, therefore, both being kicked out of the scare program. Mike doesn’t give up as he has the idea of joining a fraternity to win the annual Greek scare games. The two put their differences aside as they do everything they can to win and hopefully, get back into the scare program.
I’ll admit that out of all the Pixar movies, Monsters Inc. was one that I really wasn’t interested in seeing continue. But since the original came out when I was a child, I certainly had a nostalgic interest in seeing what a prequel can do with Mike and Sully. I wasn’t even sure that this was going to be a good movie (Cars 2 and Brave were steps down for Pixar).
The best word that describes this franchise is cute. It’s clear that something like Monsters University is more intended for children with its more colorful design and G rating. But I’ll also admit that I liked this movie. It doesn’t have the same emotional tug that the first one, but I was entertained by the story. The story of Mike and Sully’s early days are interesting. I liked how they were enemies before they were friends. Except for these two and a few others, Monsters University has all new characters that are along for the ride including those in their fraternity, Oozma Kappa (the name alone got some laughs like “We’re Ok!”).
The only problem I had was that I didn’t really care for the new characters. They all have creative monster designs, but they have very stereotype characters. The only new ones I liked were Dean Hardscrabble and the Librarian who has the creepiest design. Is this movie an accurate portrayal of college life? No, but that’s okay, because this movie was trying to be something along the lines of a comedy like Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. And for the most part, it was good. What I liked was that even though this movie was using a lot of clichés of 1980’s college films, this still throws a lot of twists and turns for the story. And without giving anything away, this movie’s third act was the best. It’s completely unexpected, but it still ends well for Mike and Sully.
I’ll give this four Oozma Kappa Greek letters out of five. Monsters University is not a classic Pixar film, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction they needed. This family friendly film at least passes the exam makes the grade in terms of entertainment.