Returning to characters of animated classics seems like a catching theme for Pixar that has some of us fans of the G-rated cash cow a little concerned.
And in the vein of sequels, prequels, revisions and alternate beginnings, movies lately have been less than original. However, MonstersUniversity doesn’t cower from the fact that it doesn’t have much new to scare up for its characters, but it’s proof to the rule that simple is beautiful. It rightly plays to its strengths, taking a page from the playbook of Mike & Sully’s fraternity, Oozma Kappa.
Having said that, the frat monsters are united more in their shortcomings than in their strengths. Its team of six includes: Don, an aging squid-limbed salesman with a Midwestern accent and suction cup pattern baldness; Terri and Terry, conjoined twins (of which only one is a dancer); Squishy… picture a gummy bear with five eyes wearing a sweater knit by his mother; Art, a furry body pillow with t-rex arms and a criminal history; and Mike and Sully round out the newly formed fraternity, proudly called, O.K.
Even knowing how the monster duo ends up in Monsters Inc., the stakes are high in its prequel. Mike is the driving force of the O.K.’s with a technical proficiency that would intimidate any scare nerd, but the “pupil” (couldn’t resist) at M.U. hasn’t got the scare to impress Dean Hardscrabble – who looks like the love child of a millipede and a dragon – with impossible standards and the inevitable cold, British accent. But what Mikewazowski lacks, Sully has in spades. Sully’s the cool guy with a natural skill that makes him the big monster on campus. What Sully lacks is the confidence to really apply himself to the work he loves, living in the fuzzy shadow of his father.
The two set out to overcome both ends of the spectrum of pride and enter into the famous Scare Games in order to prove their worth to the university and themselves. What they discover is that the pathway to success is as complex and awful as the wrinkles in the campus librarian’s jowls.
My overall rating: 4 stars out of 5