Monsters University (2013)
Directed by Dan Scanlon
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren
Mike Wazowski (Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (Goodman) are starting college at Monsters University. Along with future friends and enemies they’re working for a chance to stay in the Scare Program run by the horrifying Dean Hardscrabble (Mirren). Sully has all the natural ability that a monster could ask for. Mike has the study habits of a professional. Unfortunately this puts them on the ropes when it comes to the final test of the semester. Soon they’re competing in the Scare Games for their chance to chase their dreams.
When Monsters Inc. came out in 2001 it was a hugely successful film. Now 12 years later Disney and Pixar have revisited this classic with a great prequel. Dan Scanlon took on this film as his first major project as director. His cast is an amazing list of big stars that includes Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally), John Goodman (The Artist, Argo), Steve Buscemi (The Big Lebowski), and Helen Mirren (Red). Throughout the film there dozens of other familiar voices for this amazing range of ridiculous monsters. This might be as close to Animal House as Disney and Pixar could get. It’s got the same Disney charm that has worked so many times before, along with a fantastic interpretation of college life.
The story is top-notch and works perfectly in telling the story of how Mike and Sully came to be the great scare team from Monsters Inc.. The development of the characters really stands out throughout this one. In particular, the relationship between Mike and Sully and how their characters became who they were in Monsters Inc.. Thankfully, Disney and Pixar have continued to improve on the stories for their projects to avoid resting on the incredible visuals that got them started. This time the story isn’t only hilarious, but it also works for audiences of all ages. There are moments that feel a bit predictable, but nothing that really takes away from the experience.
The visuals continue to get more amazing with each new film that Disney and Pixar get their hands on. I saw this one in 3D and it was worth the added expense. Like other recent 3D films, this one didn’t overuse the technology and take away from the rest of the film. This movie also showcases a huge range of new monsters with great designs and animation.
Overall, this should be one of the top box-office draws this summer. Like most of the Disney-Pixar films, this one has something for everyone. The story does have heartwarming moments and a ton of laughs. It also brings back Mike and Sully, two of the best characters that Disney and Pixar have created. If you want to see a great animated film, take the time to see Monsters University. I give this one 4.7 out of 5 stars.