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“Monsters University” – Review (POSITIVE)

July 3, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 2.11.11 PMI’m not sure when Pixar thought that making continious sequels over original works was a good idea, but it really isn’t. Pixar was the studio that brought us so many original/classic works. With the exception of the “Toy Story” franchise, sequels were not in the studios repertoire. Then came “Cars 2” (unnecessary), “Monsters University” (a prequel=why), and the recent announcement of “Finding Dory”, and yet two other sequels which have yet to be titled.

What made Pixar the best animated studio in the industry was the fact that they came out with vastly different pieces of pulp art, creating films for kids with proper adult themes, constantly winning awards, and releasing record breaking film after record breaking film a year. But, with the sudden change in…heart? The studio decides to jump on that sequel bandwagon. Some may feel like they’re selling out, others think they’re recapturing their original mojo. For whatever reasons, I feel that fans of the studio are starting to become split on the whole sequel notion.

Nevertheless, Pixar releases their first prequel, “Monsters University”. My first reaction when I read the announcement was quite simple…why?! Why make a prequel to a film that we already know the outcome. Clearly they’re making this films lead characters, Mike (Billy Crystal) & Sully (John Goodman), out to be ‘frienemies’. So why? We know they’ll end up as friends in the end, hell, the prequel takes similar steps the original film did.

We find Mike as a young 20-something college student who’s majoring in Scaring at Monsters University. Sully, a prodigy skates by school till he clashes with Mike in their Scare 101 class. Forced to be kicked out of the program, Mike comes up with the idea to take part in the schools spirit competition. Mike and Sully join a (lame) ragtag fraternity, and beat the odds that have defined them as losers.

The movie borrows elements from a lot of college-themed movies; “Animal House”, “PCU”, “Old School”, and “Revenge of the Nerds”. And for all intents and purposes that’s what this movie is, just a kid version of those movies mixed into one colorful 2+ hour film. Is that enough for us nostalgic fans? I guess so, personally I enjoyed the film for what it was; nostalgic.

I saw the original film when I was 12 years old and seeing the new film today as a 25-year-old takes me back. The story isn’t strong or endearing as the original movie, but it’s good fun. If there are any “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fans out there, watch out for Charlie Day’s scene stealing character Art, he makes two references to “Sunny” Charlie within the first half hour.

It’s not a bad movie, hell this could’ve been “Cars 2” bad, but the fact that this rebirth-quel is based on a film I loved as a child, made it ok to see in it’s completion. “Monsters University” will entertain kids and will leave plenty of room for the “Animal House” generation parents to enjoy.


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