Peninsular Place

Movie Reviews

June 21, 2013

Monsters U

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Written by: Drew Waller
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[with guest reviewers EVA – age 3 and her mother AMBER]
TOWERS: 4 out of 5

Pixar has created a true art form with the meticulous, gorgeous computer animation for the silver screen and its family-friendly approach at plot formula for success with numerous franchises on behalf of their dynasty and Disney. MONSTERS, INC., as a stand-alone film in and of itself, commands the word “classic”, so graduating to a sequel seemed like a scary reach into the box office guaranteed success that might have led to even scarier tarnish of the original work.

What results though is true craftsmanship, strong artistry that comes from this studio: both in visuals and, most needed, in story. You get to see the beginnings of one-eyed Mike (you can hear the sheer glee in the voice of BILLY CRYSTAL reprising this role through the screen) as he strives for more as a “scarer” even though everyone says it can’t be done. Education to him is key and inspires him to find solace in aiming for the upper echelons of MOSTERS UNIVERSITY, the film’s academic leader in getting the monsters needed to scare up the energy that fuels their alternate world. There, Mike runs into loveable Sullivan (played once again by JOHN GOODMAN) who doesn’t befriend Mike but becomes his arch rival to get into that special school for “scarer”-ing and be the best at it. The plot that ensues is both completely plausible alongside the original, poignant for all ages and hilarious with its new academic world of characters who help and hinder the graduates-to-be along the way. Some of the best moments come from the monsters-in-academia learning the hard way from their teachers (HELEN MIRREN is sublime as the Dean of Scarers at Monsters U, Hardscrabble) and peers (sorely undervalued NATHAN FILLION scores big as the overbearing frat pres Johnny). But how does it rate with the people who really matter: the families? Pixar needs mass appeal with the families who loved their previous work to make this receive honor roll alongside its winning stable. For that, I politely move out of the way in the commons cafeteria line and let my guest reviewers – three-year-old

Eva and her mother (and avid Disney fan herself) Amber – give their take on the students of Monsters U.

Amber, how did Monsters U fare with you as a Disney-loving mom and your three year old?

“I really liked the movie. It was a great back-story to how Sully and Wazowski became friends and how they came to dislike Randal so much. There was also a lot of good college humor! I do feel that this film is not the best film to bring children under 5 though. This film was designed more for 7-12 year old, where MONSTERS INC. was more for a younger demographic. This makes it a bit more difficult when a young child liked MONSTERS INC. [My girl] Eva noted that “Mommy, monsters are supposed to be scary!”, but , these Monsters were not, eexcept for the “dragon lady” [meaning MIRREN’S Dean Hardscrabble]”

Where this film as a reviewer could have slid through with a resournding A+, the run time is what made it move back a row or two in class. As a mother, Amber agrees.

“For me it did not overall affect my end enjoyment, but. for Eva it was a bit long. She did really well for the first 90 minutes, but then she started to loose interest.”

All in all, the film wins and endears you again to these characters in a film that easily could stand on its own, but with a bit more editing magic, the film had the potential to lead the class.

About the Author

Drew Waller
Drew Waller

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