Blu-ray Review: “Monsters University” Is A Worthy Prequel To Its Predecessor

Pixar has always made excellent movies. From “Toy Story” right up to “Monsters University” (and beyond!), the quality of their movies along with the stories themselves have always been in a league of their own. When “Toy Story” first came out in 1995, the animation and overall look of the movie, had never been seen before and audiences lapped it up. Pixar has never made a bad movie, although personally, I never cared for their “Cars” movies and the spin-off movie “Planes”, they just didn’t appeal to me but pretty much every other movie they’ve made, was perfect. My personal favorite is “Up”, with “Monsters Inc.” a close second. When Pixar announced that they were going to do another “Monsters” movie, I got excited but when I found out that it was going to be a prequel, my expectations began to crumble.

I don’t care for prequels. For the most part, they’re unnecessary. The less we say about the three “Star Wars” prequels the better and here’s hoping that J.J. Abrams and co. will be able to take that bad taste out of my mouth with their upcoming trilogy. I will admit however, and I know I’m in the minority here but I actually liked “The Thing” prequel which came out in 2011. I just love that universe and hope someday, that Universal will have the courage to make a flat-out exciting sequel to Carpenter’s 1982 classic. With “Monsters University”, Pixar has another great story with wonderful and vibrant characters. The details, from the color of the trees to a blade of grass to the hair on Sulley’s body, is absolutely spectacular. At times, I honestly thought I was looking at a live-action movie with the characters digitally added in afterwards.

The story tells us how Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) became best friends although in the beginning, there is a lot of animosity between the two. Naturally, they don’t hit it off because Mike is tenacious, determined and very meticulous but also small, an outcast and a loner. Sulley is unprepared, a slacker and lives off his family name as a Sullivan. He expects everything will come through his natural ability to scare but soon realizes, it will take a lot more to succeed in this university. After making a wager with Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), they’re thrown together into a Scare Games contest, where they grudgingly band together, along with other loners, to complete a series of challenges to stay enrolled in the college.

Each game played against the other rival fraternity houses gives the film a story structure that helps to understand each of the character’s strengths and how to use them. The overall story shows the reality of their situation and the hard life lessons that are thrust upon us. All the pitfalls life gives us are just one of the major resounding themes. “Monsters University” is a great film. It’s both funny and sentimental in all the right places and I give the filmmakers kudos for an ending that was both surprising but also very believable. Just because it’s an animated film doesn’t mean that is has to have a happily ever after ending. Of course, as the credits begin to roll, we see the events that brings us right up to “Monsters Inc.” Highly recommended.

In stores October 29th


James McDonald
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