Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monster’s University ★★★★

Excelling in A-Grade Entertainment 

Opens in Australia: 20th June
Other Countries: Release Information

Disney Pixar’s 'Monsters Inc' set the standard back in the early days of animation.  Our eldest watched it all through his baby and childhood and so did we, over and over. When we saw the re-release this year of a 3D version of the twelve-year-old film we still marveled at the freshness and wit.
Over the past year Disney has taunted us with trailers for the prequel ‘Monsters University’ (MU), so by the time we snuggled down into our seats we were absolutely ready to attend school with our pals, Sulley (John  Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal).  
Robert L. Baird who wrote the screenplay for 'MU' and the original, along with ‘Cars’ and ‘Tangled’ has the real ability to infuse true life into his characters.  He writes a script with depth and heart. Add to this the voice talent of John Goodman and Billy Crystal and magic happens making you totally forget you are watching animated characters. 

Pixar rarely misses with their animations and it was a wise move bringing these beloved characters back to the screen with a prequel, allowing us insight into the friendship between the leads and the conflict with rival scarer Randall (Steve Buscemi). 
It’s not many films where we enjoy clichéd characters but they work here played for laughs; the retrenched salesman returning to University as a mature age student; the pudgy kid nobody wants on their team; the stern Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) who takes no prisoners; the sport’s jocks who rule the campus; and the nerd kids.
We attend Monster’s University with Mike before he and Sulley became best friends; in fact, when they don’t even like each other.  Mike is the not-so-scary wannabe desperate for a career in the craft of scaring children, whose captured screams power the city of Monstropolis.  He spends all his spare time studying.  Sulley, son of a great scarer, doesn’t bother to study believing his fantastic roar and pedigree guarantees him an automatic pass.
After a mishap, which finds them both expelled, the pair is forced to team up, not just with each other, but the misfit O.K. (Oozma Kappa) fraternity to compete in the annual Scare Games which involve a series of inventive tests.  If they win, the entire team will gain admission into the Scarer programme. 
There are sub-plots galore and the Monster world is expanded imaginatively. Watch for fabulous cameos of Monster Inc. characters.

Since the original ‘Monster’s Inc’, animation fans expectations have grown and been dashed many a time.  Pixar led in the beginning and with the delivery of 'MU' they are still winning.   Perhaps we need a Pixar University for other studios to study the art of making films with heart.