Friday, August 09, 2013

Monsters University

"Monsters University" is a 3D computer animation produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 104 minutes long film directed by Dan Scanlon is a prequel to "Monsters Inc." and we all know that prequels and sequels most often aren't as good as the original films. This is also the case with "Monsters University", but luckily "Monsters Inc." was one of the best Pixar animations ever, so even though "Monsters University" is a prequel, it is still very, very good!

The plot is fairly simple. Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), the little green one-eyed monster, arrives as a freshman at Monsters University, intent upon becoming a scare major, scarers being the fearless monsters who enter the world of the humans to collect the screams of children, which power the entire monster world. At university he bumps into the huge, furry blue monster, James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman), a fellow scare student. The two of them don't get along and after an accident during their final exam, the chair of the scarer program, Dean Abigail Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) decides to kick them out. Sully being arrogant and relying on the reputation of his scary ancestors and Mike being singled out as too small and cute to be scary, they face a future building yellow scream containers. The only way to get back into the scarer program is the win the annual Scare Games. As the games are only for fraternity or sorority members, Mike and Sully join the fraternity Oozma Kappa ("We're OK!"), consisting of nice and anything but scary campus outcasts. There's the middle-aged unemployed salesman Don (Joel Murray); a two-headed monster named Terri (Sean Hayes) and Terry (Dave Foley), the all-legs monster Art (Charlie Day), and the one-horned, five-eyed blob Scott "Squishy" Squibbles (Peter Sohn), who still lives at home with his mother Sherri Squibbles (Julia Sweeney). This unlikely fraternity now has to battle against the biggest and scariest monsters on campus.

The film makes use of the voice talents of a lot of famous actors, Billy Crystal and John Goodman repeating their parts as Mike and Sully. To me, however, Squishy's mother, Sherri Squibbles voiced by Julia Sweeney, is the funniest character of the film and I like all of the Oozma Kappa characters as well. Helen Mirror is a good addition, delivering probably the best voice as Dean Hardscrabble whereas you'll hear Alfred Molina as the voice of Professor Derek Knigh and Steve Buscemi repeating his part as Randall "Randy" Boggs from "Monsters Inc.".

"Monsters University" a nice little film about friendship and believing in yourself and it's funny, but never particularly exciting, as you know the outcome in advance. When I saw it, the cinema was packed with families, mostly young children and their parents, and I noticed that it was the parents, who were laughing, not the children, although the kids seemed to enjoy the cute and colourful world of the monsters too. All in all it's a good film and you don't have to see it in 3D to enjoy it.

As I gave "Monsters Inc." 4 out of 5 stars, I'm inclined to give "Monsters University" 3 - or maybe 3½ - out of 5 stars: * * * ½.

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