I was going to do a joint feature with Frazer but he went gallivanting off to Las Vegas right after we saw the film so I thought I’d do it myself instead!
Very excited! Monsters Inc. is easily one of my favourite Pixar (or any animated) films, so even though sequels are virtually never as good as their predecessors, I was still eager to see a younger Mike and Sully.
Did it live up to your expectations?
Overall, yes. It wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t have unrealistically high expectations as I was mainly just looking forward to spending time with those two lovable characters again.
Please remind us of the plot?
Monsters University is set long before Mike and Sully find success as a scaring team. With a first glimpse at Mike’s scaring inspiration, the bulk of the film is set (as you may have guessed) at Monsters University as the pair struggle with their classes, fraternities and becoming the best scarers in the school.
Isn’t that a bit clichéd?
When described like that, as a typical college underdog movie, then yes you might think it is. Bits of it are, but generally the fact that it’s based around monsters makes it totally different to anything else; there are so many laughs and plot devices that work for monsters and not humans!
So what did you like about the film?
Basically all the monsters themselves. Baby Mike was absolutely adorable. College Mike was still pretty adorable with his tatty baseball cap, retainer and penchant for learning. Sully was initially a bit less likeable (although the pig chase itself and his “this isn’t my room!” was fun) but by the end I wanted to give him a massive furry hug, as I did for the whole of Monsters Inc. Dean Hardscrabble was definitely creepy enough, the Nathan Fillion voiced frat leader Johnny Worthington was perfectly intimidating (although I may have just swooned at the voice…) and the whole Oozma Kappa fraternity was completely endearing; I was going to mention them individually but it would be too much gushing.
Other than the characters, I liked the atmosphere of the college: whatever they were getting up to at that point, we were swooped up in it with them, and feeling however they felt in this vast but architecturally astonishing university. I was extremely impressed with the level of the animation: it really is only getting better and better.
You’re clearly saving up some negative points…
My main problem with it was the story: it often felt quite loosely put together, and you could tell that Pixar had thought “right well they liked Sully and Mike, a prequel could show how they met and studied scaring… GO.” Equally, there were probably about five moments nearing the end when I thought it was about to end or could have ended and then something else happened; there’s nothing wrong with a climax that keeps moving somewhere different, but this sensation proved that it was losing momentum and power.
What’s your overall verdict then?
Overall, I still had a blast! Again, the characters and the setting really made it for me, so even with a weaker plot you could still have a good time with them. Also, there were lots of foreshadowing of Monsters Inc. and I’d now love to do a double bill of them both together when this one’s out on DVD to savour and recognise more of these cleverly constructed moments. A lot of love and care obviously went into it, even if bits were rushed, so it is definitely one to remember.