Monsters University

Monsters University is one of the better prequels that you will see. While it’s not as fresh as Monsters, Inc. the laughs aren’t quite as big, and the message is a lot more predictable, it’s still a lot of fun and the voice acting is top-notch. That it gives plenty of respect to its predecessor helps Monsters University quite a lot.

Here’s a trailer:

The deets:

Released June 21, 2013

Written by Dan Scanlon, Daniel Gerson, and Robert L. Baird.

Directed by Dan Scanlon

Starring Helen Mirren, Aubrey Plaza, Julia Sweeney, Bonnie Hunt, Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Alfred Molina, Steve Buscemi, Nathan Fillion, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, John Krasinski, Bill Hader, and John Ratzenberger.

Rated: G

*     *     *     *     *

Story

Mike Wazowski (Crystal) has been dreaming of attending Monsters University since he was around the size of a pea. When he finally makes it there, determined to be a scarer, the odds seem stacked against him. How could a one-eyed walking green grape that talks with a New York accent ever be scary?

Making things harder and worse is Sullivan (Goodman), a big, naturally scary monster that comes from a long line of good scarers.

These two butt heads in their first days at MU, getting both of them in trouble. In order to redeem themselves, they have to learn how to work together, helping a team of scarer rejects become the champion scarers at the university in order to get back into Dean Hardscrabble’s (Mirren) good graces.

As they fight to become the best scarers that they can be, they make friends and enemies with all kinds of characters, one being Randy, who we remember was their sworn enemy in Monsters Inc. But in this prequel, he’s their friend. It’s nice to see how the bad blood came between these monsters.

We also meet Jonny Worthington (Fillion), a smug scarer whose fraternity is basically the royal blood of the university. This guy and the pride of Mike and Sully serve as the villains of the story in Monsters University.

Critique

As Disney/Pixar has become quite adept at doing, Monsters University delivers plenty of clever laughs for all ages, packaging a nice message and a story of a person or people who have to overcome their pride in order to win the day.

Formulaic? Of course. Formula is familiar and Disney/Pixar is a pro at serving up well-polished stories and characters and fun dialogue. Helping things along are all of the very talented voice actors. Also helping the movie stay entertaining is a cast of interesting side characters, each with their own quirks.

Made up of fun, freshness, and the familiar, Monsters University entertains for all of its 104 minutes, surprising the audience at times with its heart and understanding of relationships.

This is a well-crafted movie that knows how to hit all of its marks without being too obvious about being so smart.

Go ahead and give Disney some of your money; you’ll enjoy this one. Monsters University won’t change your life or even leave you with lingering questions, thoughts, or memories of the movie, but it’ll entertain you.

Content warnings: Cartoonish, silly violence and a scene or two of child-scaring.

Writing: 4.5          Acting: 5          Overall: 4

Be a sharing monster and spread this review and website all over the place. Seriously, go ahead. If you don’t, a possessed grape from New York will find you and scare you in your sleep.

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About jared

Jared Garrett works as a writer, the manager of a program development department in the corporate world, and an instructional designer. He is a family man with an adorable, fun, and way-too-smart wife, six silly kids, a new house with an overgrown back yard, seven fish, and a bunch of chickens. He has written fiction, user manuals, SEO copy, radio scripts and textbooks and has won first place in the Mayhew writing contest at BYU and received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. He lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains and is currently seeking representation for his myriad completed novels.
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