Monsters Inc. is one of my all-time favorite Pixar movies, and so Monsters University, its prequel, had some pretty big shoes to fill if it wanted to please me. Although MInc. is still my favorite, MU was very funny, and it’s a movie that anyone will be able to enjoy in the theater, and it even has a few “hidden nuggets” for people familiar with the first film.
Before Sully (voiced by John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) were working on the scare floor at Monsters Inc., they attended Monsters University, in the Scare School. Mike wore braces and was a bit of a geek – but a bookworm and very smart – and Sully was invited to pledge one of the most popular fraternities on campus. Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), however, doesn’t think either of them will be good scarers – Mike because he’s, well, not scary, and Sully because he relies too much on “the Sullivan name” to get him through life – and she throws them out of the Scare School. Mike and Sully decide to pledge Oozma Kappa, the “geek” frat, so they can win the Scare Games. The dean says that if OK wins the games, then all of their members can enter the Scare School; but Mike and Sully have to stop arguing long enough to ensure that they will win the games.
The details in this movie were fantastic, from Sully’s fur (so soft-looking!) to the types of people who attended MU. In Oozma Kappa, for example, there was one older student who wasn’t doing well in the workforce, so he came back to get another degree; this is very typical nowadays in the real world. There was also that one frat that everyone wanted to join (Roar Kappa Roar, I think was the name, or RKR) and the one where the “losers” were in (Oozma Kappa). I also didn’t know that Randy (Steve Buscemi) and Sully were dorm roommates for the first part of their freshman year; in Monsters Inc. (SEMI-SPOILER) Randall ends up being a bad guy at the end.
Yes, see this film, but you can skip the 3D – it was fine but didn’t really add much to the movie. I enjoyed seeing Sully and Mike back on the big screen, and their friends and foes in this movie were fun to watch, as well. Helen Mirren voices Dean Hardscrabble, a scary-looking monster who can fly, and she’s perfect in the role; Charlie Day, Nathan Fillion, and Aubrey Plaza round out the voice cast, which I didn’t know until browsing the film’s IMDb page. I would say that Monsters Inc. was more cute, while Monsters U is more funny, and even though MInc. is my favorite of the two, MU is definitely worth seeing in the theater.
Monsters University is in theaters today, June 21st, and is rated G with a runtime of 110 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.