Who's in it?
Monsters University is the prequel to (my personal favourite Pixar film) Monsters Inc., and it follows Mike, Sully and a host of new monsters (including a young Randall Boggs) work their way through college, or attempt to anyway.
The winds of change certainly treated Randall well...
Mam had told me that before the film there would be a new short film, as Pixar are known to do, and this time it was The Blue Umbrella. It was a story about a blue umbrella among a sea of grey umbrellas and how he spots a bright red umbrella among the grey. This short film has to be my one of my favourites of all Pixar's short films, it opened with the sound of raindrops on different surfaces that came to form a really sweet song, the best part of the short film for me. It was a really sweet story to go with the song and the animation was absolutely incredible, the littlest things on the screen would suddenly form a face, and it was overall a brilliant opening to the feature film.
This picture doesn't do the animation justice at all
This is tied to Monsters Inc., so it was my immediate reaction to think 'this will be AWESOME' and I was delighted to see I was completely right. Watching this movie it struck me that the jokes in this would go over kids heads, this isn't so much as a children's film in terms of jokes, but more for people who grew up around Monsters Inc., which would include me and also the beautiful Grandmomma Cherry (who accompanied me to this showing) who would have watched it with me as a child. Said jokes weren't in your face adult, but very subtle to the point I wouldn't be surprised if Sully or Mike had turned around and winked down the camera and this really was a pleasure in terms of this film.
In terms of general animated films of late, this would be a masterpiece but following the actual masterpiece that was Monsters Inc. it just wasn't on the same playing field. It was without a doubt hilarious, but the story just didn't stand up to it's predecessor. The writing was in itself excellent, on par with the likes of Studio Ghibli anime movies (which I HIGHLY recommend), but very typical in the way of most college films go. As it reached the end the film did take after the original, that is until the climax, which was fantastic and the most original turn in any film (animated generally but also includes most films out today) I have seen in a good while.
Doooood it's about, like, our lives!!
The opening of the film follows Mike as he grows up, and continues to follow him for a short while longer until Sully in introduced as the typical college jock winking at the teachers and doing nothing in class. Now Billy Crystal did a great job voicing Mike as he did before, but for me more Mike Wazowski wasn't necessarily a good thing. John Goodman (another of my favourite actors) was absolutely brilliant, being able to switch the tone of his voice to match the situation or Sully's expression perfectly. For me anyone else would have just held Sully as the jock that everyone loved but the audience was supposed to hate, but Goodman really did shine as the Sully who would be the jock that everyone was supposed to dislike but they just couldn't. While Crystal and Goodman were stars in their own right, for me it was the supporting cast that really stole the show. The students of Oozma Kappa were truly fantastic, every one of them playing their part to a tee and Charlie Day(of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia fame)'s Art was the best of all. He was reminiscent of Kimmy Jin (the quiet one with the weird outbursts) in Pitch Perfect, but he talked a good bit more and everything he said was hilarious. And of course, Helen Mirren was excellent as Dean Hardscrabble, but in all fairness this is Helen Mirren so that would go without saying anyway.
I wanna touch it..
Overall this film is truly a fantastic movie in its own right, but falls just short of it's predecessor in terms of story. I definitely recommend it, if you have kids that want to see it, liked the original, or just want a good laugh with a really well written story then this film is perfect for you. I absolutely loved it, and the 3D is good enough to stand out even to me who is pretty much blind at 2 feet, much less in the very back row of a huge cinema. It even had Nan Cherry awake for the entire time, and when a movie can do that you know that it's something special. While I didn't find it as good as the original, I adored it and I can bet anyone who goes to see it will agree with me that it really was excellent in every aspect even if the story does take a little bit to become the style you're used to from the original. The animation blew me away, the opening scene on the bus looked like it was monsters actually CGI'd onto a real bus and it kept a constant standard all through the movie. And even if I didn't like the focus he got at the start, I can't help but love Mike throughout the film, ESPECIALLY baby Mike, he's unbelievably adorable!!
I can't believe it.. I was on a review!!
Now even though I found the story to be weaker than the original, I adored Monsters University and it is worth every penny you would spend going to see it, even if you just stayed for The Blue Umbrella you would get your money's worth. I can't recommend this enough, you just have to go see it for yourself to get what I mean when I say how well it is done, I know I'll be dragging Mama Cherry to see it with me again and maybe once more, as it really is that good.
I loved the original Monsters Inc., and like I said, Monsters University is for those who grew up or were around for the original as it features more adult aimed jokes but still will be loved by children, just look at the AWESOME Adventure Time (which Mother Cherry LOVES) for an example of a children's show that would be great for adults too with their jokes that are geared towards said adults that would be watching too. A well written, hilarious, for all ages film that falls just short of perfect, it may become a classic and I wouldn't argue that at all.
Tell us what you made of Monsters University in the comments or on Twitter if you've seen it, I'd love to hear what you thought of it,
The (sigh..) Eldest Gorgebag