Monsters University Movie Review

Monsters University
Releases: 11th July 2013
Rating: G
Duration: 104 minutes 
Genre:  Animated
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Buscemi, Frank Oz, John Ratzenberger, Helen Mirren, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina, Aubrey Plaza, Nathan Fillion and Bill Hader
Director: Dan Scanlon (Mater and the Ghostlight)
Reviewer: Jon E Clist 

The Premise>> Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn't always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. "Monsters University" unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

The Review>> Loved Monsters Inc. Loved it even more in 3D. So as you can expect, I loved Monsters University. I really enjoyed that it was a prequel and took the characters back to where it all began for them. Kind of like a super hero origin story.

When sequels and prequels come out for family films it is a bit of a gamble as to whether they can continue to grab the attention not only of the kids in the audience but also the parents without just repeating the same jokes. Here we have a great execution of expanding the concept while staying true to the original feel. Sure there are some of the same kinds of jokes but because it goes back before these characters figured out who they are, there is an interesting fluidity to their personalities.

Mike is so determined to become a scarer however despite his drive and knowledge struggles without any natural ability. While Sully has all the natural ability possible but lacks Mike's drive and hence is lazy. Both must learn to grow and work together if they are to achieve greatness. I guess that is one of the really Strong elements of Pixar films, the ability to teach a lesson to our kids while also entertaining them. A good Team is worth more than the sum of it's parts.

There were plenty of genuinely funny moments in this film, while the animation Team once again take the detail to a whole new level. In the first Monsters movie they created a new level of brilliance with the beautiful detail in Sully's fir. The way it moved was amazing to watch and here they continue to deliver this intense level of dynamic animation.

Then of course you get to see a couple of other origin stories going on in the background. We get to see how one of Monster Inc's villains turned to the dark side. It is this multi-layering that really helps Pixar to stand apart in so many ways from other animation studios.

Of course it wouldn't be a great animated film if not for more amazing performances by the voice actors. The usual suspects Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi return and bring the laughs as we expected. However it is the additions that add weight to bring the cast together in the form of Nathan Fillion and Helen Mirren, who really bring a good balance of menace and annoyance to the story-line.

The Verdict>> As expected another brilliant piece of family entertainment from the Disney Pixar Team. A must see!!!

Monsters University Trailer

Some extra bits to know about the film and to look out for>> The first prequel to a Pixar film.

Mike's parents were originally planned to be included in the story. They would drop Mike off for his first day at Monsters University. However, director Dan Scanlon decided to drop them from the finished film to make Mike seem just that much more vulnerable.

Professor Knight's lecture hall is room A113, a reference to a room at CalArts where animation classes are taught. All Pixar films have a reference to "A113".

Pixar's "Luxo Jr." ball appears as a drawing on the stone wall at the beginning of the first Scare Games task.

The area code on Don Carlton's business card is (510), which is the same as Emeryville, California, where the Pixar studio is located.

WILHELM SCREAM: As Mike runs over a student with the floor waxer.

The Pizza Planet truck, first featured in Toy Story can be seen parked by the left of the ROR fraternity house during the party. This truck is present in all Pixar feature films, except The Incredibles.

When Mike is riding the pig through a fraternity house, one can spot a poster of the 1976 KISS album "Rock And Roll Over" on the wall in the right corner.

When Sully enters Mike & Randall's room with Fear Tech's pig, a motivational poster can be seen above Randall's bed that reads "Winds of Change: Shh... Can you hear them?". This is a reference to a line Randall says to Mike in the locker room during Monster's Inc.

The Monsters University campus is based largely on the University of California at Berkeley campus, which is very close to Pixar's headquarters in Emeryville, CA. The Monsters University gate is based on UC Berkeley's famous Sather Gate, and the clock tower in the film is based on Berkeley's Campanille clock tower. (UC Berkeley also carries the 510 area code, seen in the film.)