07/09/2013

Monsters University (2013)

Film: Monsters University
Release: 2013, Theatrical
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Previous in the series: Monsters, Inc.
IMDB Page: Link opens in a new window
Description: Mike Wazowski is a young monster who've dreamt of being a scarer for Monsters, Inc. his whole life. Tons of challenges await when he starts his freshman year at Monsters University.

Hans' thoughts:

The thing about prequels is that the audience pretty much already knows what the outcome is going to be - so you better be able to pull a lot of very good red herrings. Which is exactly what this movie does!

Monsters University, or as I like to call it, Party at the Design Department, is a colorful and happy movie. If you watch this one and it's predecessor back to back you will notice quite a lot of changes. One thing I definitely noticed was the much better use of lighting. Okay granted, the original Monsters, Inc. had technological limits and I respect that but even going by that, this movie really had an ability to set the mood. This is a movie about monsters after all, and this is a very dark movie. As in, the blinds are pulled in almost all the rooms.

In fact, not till our main characters join a fraternity do we see a more light-hearted movie. Up until then the movie has been kinda silent, well for comedy standards anyway. It does have one wild scene before the movie "starts" but I'm not gonna spoil it. This is just a review after all. As you may have expected, we don't see a whole lot of actually going to school in this movie. It IS a kids film and our main characters sitting around in a classroom taking notes would be a horribly boring kids film. The plot of the movie is believable though, there's a passable reason for why this movie has all the energy that it has.

On the voice acting side, the returning characters have their voices intact. Buscemi, Crystal and Goodman all returned for this film. I'm actually pretty impressed by the voice-range of Buscemi, seeing Randall turning into the character we know from the original is quite the treat. Crystal and Goodman also both do a pretty good job, being able to convey the emotions well enough that you believe that these particular voices would come out of these characters. 

This movie also pumped up the imagery from the original. The original movie took place in a factory so there was a lot of walking through white hallways with not much to look at. This movie however, has some pretty well-designed locations and some very cool character designs. I'm especially impressed by the dean of the school, who plays a major part. She looked very imposing and could've been a creature from an actual horror film.

On the comedy side, this is a big step-up from the original. This movie has more characters to bounce off of each other and that makes for some very funny moments. I especially liked the character named "Don". This movie having more energy also makes for some very good physical gags. Monsters, Inc. was one of the least popular Pixar movies, so going ahead and actually making a sequel to it is a surprising move - if not a bit overzealous. I'm happy to say though, that this is a really good animated movie, capturing the spirit of the original as well as building upon it's lore.
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