Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) heads off to Monsters University, where he meets James P. Sullivan (John Goodman). These two instantly come into conflict with each other, culminating in an incident that gets them removed from the school’s Scare Program. In order to get back into the program, they join the least respected fraternity on campus, Oozma Kappa, and enter the annual Scare Games. If their fraternity wins the games, they will be excepted back into the program. But if they lose, they must leave the university.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to see Monsters University when it hit theaters earlier this summer, so I was itching to see it when I heard it was returning to theaters this Labor Day weekend. Monster’s, Inc. is one of my favorite Pixar movies, so I was excited see more of my two favorite monsters. This new adventure with Mike and Sulley is almost as exciting as the original, but felt unnecessary.
Monsters University is your stereotypical college flick, but with monsters. Mike is the nerd who studies hard and concentrates on schoolwork, and Sulley is the jock who rides on the coattails of his family legacy. Then you have the fraternity and sorority stereotypes: the jock fraternity, the nerd fraternity, the cheerleader sorority, the goth sorority, and several others for filler. Pretty much all the same parts seen in countless other movies. It is a weird setting for a movie aimed primarily at children, but it does an adequate job of avoiding the more grown-up themes usually seen in movies set in college.
What makes Mike and Sulley such a great pair, like other memorable movie pairs, is their differences, both physically and mentally. Mike’s brains mixed with Sulley’s brawn make for an unstoppable team. But Mike is arrogant and thinks he is the smartest in the group, whereas Sulley is cocky and inpatient. When these vastly different personalities grind against each other, it makes for some fun scenarios. Their friction causes problems during most of their challenges, but my favorite is when their team needs to get their flag in the library without getting caught by the 30-foot librarian.
The script is both witty and insightful. It offers up many laughs, although usually nothing more than a chuckle. Some of the lessons and bits of wisdom dropped throughout should be taken to heart. These messages laced throughout Pixar films is on of the reasons I enjoy them so much.
Despite all the positives about Monsters University, this film feels forced to me. It’s as if Pixar made this movie as filler to tide us over until their next original film. And because of that, the heart that was in Monsters, Inc. isn’t here this time around.
Though not as entertaining as Monsters, Inc., Monsters University has its own unique traits that separate it from its predecessor. Unfortunately, Pixar’s dip in quality movies continues. Though it may be unnecessary, Monsters University is a funny, and surprising insightful, movie that is a good addition to Pixar’s vast variety of stories.
Oh, and be sure to watch until the end of the credits.