Entering college I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I mean, I alway wrote, but that doesn’t make me good at it. I played basketball, but I wasn’t going to get a scholarship. I also liked to draw, and I was actually pretty good at that. So, I thought maybe I should go into computer animation because that seemed like a logical progression. That is, until a guidance counselor talked me out of it because I couldn’t make that much money doing it. Eighteen years later, as many, many Oscars and truckloads of money are raining down on Pixar they have released their fourteenth feature film, Monsters University.
In this prequel to Monsters, Inc. we find Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan, aka Sulley (John Goodman), as freshemn in college at Monsters University. Both characters knew from day one that they wanted to be Scarers at Monsters, Inc., but it wasn’t exactly an easy entrance. The story focuses mainly on Mike Wazowski, who from a small eyeball was always an optimistic outcast. Whereas, Sulley’s over-confidence is a result of his respectable bloodline, and the fact that he’s a gigantic blue monster. The two don’t see eye to eye in the beginning and eventually have to learn from one another to become better scarers, and monsters. This, I would say, is Pixar’s safest film to date. Not a bad thing at all, but it follows a formula that you’ve seen in any movie where a group of outcasts have to band together to accomplish something great. Nevertheless, the film is delightful because of the Pixar touch, the solid story, and the wonderful characters.
Going back to the college years gave Pixar the chance to introduce a whole new cast of monsters. One of my favorites is a scary dragon-esque character named Dean Hardscrabble voiced by Helen Mirren. There is just something about characters minus a nose. There’s also the entire fraternity, Oozma Kappa, which consists of Squishy (Peter Sohn), Don (Joel Murray), Terri (Sean Hayes), Terry (Dave Foley), and Art (Charlie Day). Day really does steal the handful of comedic moments he gets to be involved in. Wish there was more time with Art. I also have to mention the Pinks, a medusa-like sorority that will be the favorite of many little girls.
This film isn’t perfect, but some things about it are, such as the wooden floors in Mike’s dorm room, and a scene where he holds up his worn down MU hat. We get it Pixar, you’re pretty good at this animation stuff. Can’t wait until you guys start introducing some original material once again. It’s a bit long, and I think it has to do with a third act that could have ended multiple times. I also thought they dragged out a lot of the more dramatic stuff. I just felt like it was a few edits away from being amazing, but what do I know? I don’t work for Pixar, do I?
The Good: It’s Pixar, and you can’t lose when Mike and Sulley are around. Plus, they are backed up with a very enjoyable story, and a great cast of new characters. Squishy’s mom is awesome.
The Bad: Little long and dragged out at points, which left me feeling like it lost a lot of momentum from the good comedic moments.
The Ugly: Not much. This is Pixar, so don’t expect these college days to consist of keg stands and beer pong.
Pixar Short – The Blue Umbrella
When you are dealing with Pixar you know you’re going to get to watch one of the awesome Pixar shorts before the movie starts, right? Well, I have never been as disappointed in a Pixar short as when I saw The Blue Umbrella. It’s cute, in a way, but it’s also pretty much a direct rip-off of the great Paperman. Instead of two people, it’s umbrellas. It’s also six-minutes long, after about fifteen minutes of trailers. The positive about the short film is that they did some things with animation that I’ve never seen before. It’s definitely worth a watch, but not nearly as special as La Luna or Disney’s Paperman.