Monsters University
July 14, 2013

Just got back from seeing Monsters University, and while I enjoyed it, it was definitely a sequel that didn’t reach the heights of the original Monsters Inc.. We already know the characters, and the plot here is very familiar. In fact, if you’ve seen a college movie, you know what happens.

There’s the devoted youngster whose dedication takes him through every challenge (Billy Crystal as Mike), his buddy who learns the true meaning of friendship (John Goodman as Sully), the underdogs (including Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, and Dave Foley) who make good against the stuck-up popular kids, and the weirdos who show that it’s what’s in your heart that counts, not your appearance. (Since I knew the movie’s story, due to my playing with the iPad app, I went mostly to hear Nathan Fillion as Johnny Worthington, leader of the Roar Omega Roar frat boys. And yes, I enjoyed that part.)

Mike goes to college in Monsters University

Mike goes to college in Monsters University

Typical of Pixar films, there is also a lack of female characters. The main roles for women include the scary dean (Helen Mirren), who picks on our heroes because they mess up her trophy; a group of interchangeable sorority girls (with a funny one-note gimmick); one of the competition announcers; and the housewife mother of one of the frat brothers. It’s also slow getting started, as we have to watch young Mike Wazowski get inspired (and picked on) on a school field trip to the Monsters Inc. factory scare floor long before we get to the college stuff.

Also, the whole plot about Mike not looking scary enough was hard to manage, as most of the monsters look like various rainbow flavors of Jell-O. Since this is a kids’ movie, they’re cute, not repulsive, so that part of the plot falls a bit flat. The animation is terrific, though, with all the characters seeming authentic and well-done.

Oozma Kappa (OK) frat in Monsters University

Oozma Kappa (OK) frat in Monsters University

In short, the movie was just what I expected. If not released under the Pixar brand, I would have been perfectly happy with a competent piece of summer entertainment. It’s just that Pixar used to mean having much higher expectations. It’s not as bad as Cars 2, though.

4 Responses  
Ralf Haring writes:  

While I think it’s slightly disappointing that they’ve started dipping their toe into making franchises and sequels, I recognize that asking to maintain their absolutely stellar run from Finding Nemo through Up (5/6 superb movies over 6 years) was probably impossible. I’m encouraged that 3 out of their next 4 movies look to be original properties again.

Johanna writes:  

That’s good to hear. And yes, a merely good Pixar film is still better than a lot of what else is out there.

Upcoming Pixar Releases: The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, Finding Dory, Toy Story of TERROR! » DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[…] The Good Dinosaur in theaters is a new six-minute Monsters University short called “Party Central”. Their Oozma Kappa frat is throwing their first party, but […]

Pixar Not Nominated for Animated Oscar This Year » Comics Worth Reading writes:  

[…] found this Twitter thread informative for pointing out that Pixar’s Monsters University wasn’t nominated for the Animated Feature Film Academy Award this year. The nominees were […]


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