Monsters University, a worthy prequel.
Pixar have done a really good job here with this prequel. We find Mike and Sculley, a bit before Monsters Inc., heading off to Monsters University to learn how to be scarers. Mike, the small, one-eyed swat / bookworm busily trying to read up on every bit of learning that can be done in order to pass his exams (Hermione Granger on steroids); Sculley, the oversized, overconfident, ‘I come from a famous scaring family so I don’t need to do anything’ type. Such opposite characters quickly find themselves both getting things wrong and both hating each other, however the way things turn out they find themselves in the same group, a group of all the other misfits who did not naturally fit into any of the other fraternities, who must not just pass but win the Scare Games in order to continue on in the university.
So we have this conflict of wanting to do well, but in order to do so they must co-operate with the one person they don’t want to. This is a great film for kids with plenty of monsters, action and adventure, and ‘what is a friend’ type questions; it’s great for teenagers giving an interesting yet in many ways quite accurate representation of the way some colleges and universities work, so there’s plenty for them to relate to (especially in the range of characters, both good and bad – whoever you are there will be someone there you can connect with); it’s also a great film for adults too looking into some of the more serious issues to do with relationship situations.
It’s also not as a predictable film as many might expect. There’s a suitable number of twists and turns to catch you out and quite an interesting ending which does not stop at the obvious end point but continues on before completion.
Pixar’s animation is excellent. The attention to detail and realism was amazing, you could totally lose yourself in their world.
However, despite all this praise I did prefer the original Monsters Inc. film. Somehow it had that extra spark of novelty for me. It could be because (seeing it first) there all the characters were new and novel, where here we already know quite a bit about our two principal participants, but this should not be seen as anything negative against Monsters University, but as something extra positive for Monsters Inc.
(Don’t forget to stay for the extra bit half way through the credits.)