Release Date: June 21, 2013
Running Time: 110 minutes
Pixar hasn’t done a good job spacing out its prequels and sequels. Since 2010, Pixar’s given us Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and nowMonsters University, with only last year’s Oscar-winning Brave breaking up Pixar’s obsession with duplicating past successes. While Monsters University isn’t essential Pixar, this Monsters Inc. prequel that feels closer in intent and execution to the near-classic Toy Story 3 than the blatant money grab that was Cars 2. This prequel takes us back to Mike and Sulley’s college days, when they were bitter rivals both majoring in scare at the aptly named Monsters University. Mike’s always got his nose in his books in his bid to become a scarer at Monsters, Inc. Sulley coasts on his inherent scariness and his good family name. He comes from long line of famous scarers. The competition between Mike and Sulley results in many hilarious slapstick-y moments that good-naturedly take aim at college traditions, frat-boy antics, and blind ambition. The fun isn’t diminished by our expectations that Mike and Sulley’s battle for supremacy will ultimately result in their lifelong friendship. As the voice of Mike, Billy Crystal informs his wisecracks with nervous energy. John Goodman recaptures Sulley’s occasionally hazardous laidback mentality with real ease. Steve Buscemi also is as pathetically slippery as ever as Mike’s “pal” Randall, whose treacherous presence serves as a necessary bridge between Monsters University and Monsters, Inc. An intimidating Helen Mirren makes her mark as the wise but stern university president who believes Mike and Sulley are cut out to be scarers. As expected, director/co-writer Dan Scanlon fills Monsters University with many visual references to Monsters, Inc., which helps warrant this trip down memory lane. Pixar plans to release two original animated films, The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out, before unleashing its next sequel, 2015’s Finding Dory. After that sequel, let’s hope Pixar has the good sense to look forward, not back, as it has done too many times in recent years.
Aired: June 20, 2013
Web site: http://movies.disney.com/monsters-university