m o n s t e r s  u n i v e r s i t y 

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12th July 2013

Dan Scanlon  

Monsters  

104 minutes  

U

Jo

3rd August 2013

UK Release

Director

Starring

Runtime

Certificate

Reviewer

Reviewed

 

Monsters Inc has only very recently entered my life, pre child I was not particularly keen on watching 'cartoons' (KIDDING, I know they are not cartoons really....stop writing that post Pixar geeks) as would have rather been watching Eternal Sunshine for the 809th time. Priorities. Anyway, post child I have fully embraced the genre and, boy, are me and my resident midget movie expert picky. So, to Monsters University. Verdict? At least a 2.2, maybe even a first. I think the story is more entertaining than the first one and it was by far the clear winner in keeping myself and the tiny maniac entertained in the history of our cinematic outings. Go MU! 

Here we find little Mike Waszowsky wanting nothing more out of monster life than to be a scarer, those terrifying monsters that sneak into little ones bedrooms and scare the bejeesus out of them and making them scream, said screams then being used to power the Monster world. Mike is delighted to win himself a place at prestigious Monsters University and onto the monster-world famous Scare Programme. Waszowsky works harder and knows way more than any other teen monster. There's just one problem. He ain't scary. Enter one James P Sullivan, naturally scary and naturally lazy, the complete opposite of our studious Mike and it doesn't take long before these two are at each other's throats (although strictly speaking Waszowsky doesn't really have a throat...).  Eventually their high jinks grab the attention, in the worst possible way, of the terrifying Dean Hartscrabble, a monster who DOES NOT suffer fools gladly. Gulp. Our heroes hit rock bottom then have to team up to try find a way for Mike to achieve his dream and Sully not to erm..sully his good family name. One Hunger Games type event and some invaluable life lessons later.....

Well it's just really good fun isn't it? 12 years after the first outing and Pixar have managed to keep the qualities of the original whilst making it feel relevant. It's a neat idea doing a prequel set at a university and the story is well developed and thoughtful. It's a testament to how good the original animation was that the film still feels fresh and beautifully done whilst looking like a direct continuation from the first. The animation is stunning, breath taking and photo realistic (if monsters were real). I can't comment on the 3D as the midget is too young for that, in 2D however it looked just dandy. The other packs of monsters at the university are imaginative and fantastically realised – from the jockish frat boys to the flirty pink ladies, all types of uni cliches are exploited and poked fun at here in a most effective fashion.  

Crystal and Goodman are of course amazing, I can't imagine another actor voicing Waszowsky with the same aplomb and humour, it was inspired casting for Monsters Inc and works this time around even with Mike as quite a different incarnation. Goodman is also having fun with the arrogant young Sully almost throwing his career and family name away. Steve Buscemi is back as dastardly Randall and Helen Mirren is on particularly Mirren-ish form as Dean Hartscrabble. Alfred Molina also has a lovely touch as Professor Knight.  

Charming and good hearted with the usual life lessons to be learnt from a children's animation, Monsters University definitely graduates with honours and I promise never to use any more university puns again. 

NB: The Blue Umbrella that plays before the movie simply must be mentioned, written and directed by Sashka Unseld, it is a sweet, beguiling and beautiful piece of animation that had me in tears.  The tale of two umbrellas, one blue (funny that) and one red, circumnavigating a busy city street on a blustery autumnal evening is simply magic.  Catch it if you can.  

Check out the trailer here

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