Film Review: Pixar Scores Again With Delightful ‘Monsters University’

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CHICAGO – Let’s everybody say it together, “the key to great animation is a great story.” This has to be the motto for Pixar Animation – now part of Disney. Their latest, “Monsters University,” is a prequel with a heart, soul and attention to what makes this type of entertainment work. Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

With a story that takes place before the first film in the series, “Monsters, Inc.,” the college bound characters of Sully and Mike (the buddy Monsters) are just as fresh as when they were the company men in movie number one. The creative team – screenwriters Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson and Dan Scanlon (who also directed) – expand upon the origin of the two, and imagine a sort of Harry-Potter-meets-Animal-House vibe. The adventures in the film, and the steps they take to get through those adventures, are natural, moral and very funny. The inventiveness of putting our heroes through their paces before the beginning of “Monsters, Inc.” was a stroke of genius, allowing the the animation team to whip up a fresh stew of time, place and new characters.

As the film begins, the unpopular boy monster named Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) is on a field trip with his grade school class. They are visiting his future employer, Monsters, Inc., and the magic of the place captures the aspiring “scare student.” An incident while he is there convinces him that Monsters University would be the best place to learn the scare system, and he works diligently until the end of high school to get there, and is rewarded by acceptance.

Mike’s popularity is no better as a Freshman in college, opposite to the popular Sullivan, nicknamed Sully (John Goodman). The two immediately clash, because Mike is determined to become a Scare major and Sully is a disconnected and lazy, but both can only be accepted by the Chairperson of Scare, Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren). Sully and Mike end up joining a team of losers from the least desired fraternity at the school. It’s the snobs versus the slobs, and with Mike and Sully there may be a chance to win the university’s Scare Games.

“Monsters University” opens everywhere on June 21st in 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for 3D theaters and show times. Featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day and Alfred Molina. Screenplay by Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson and Dan Scanlon. Directed by Dan Scanlon. Rated “G”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Monsters University”

Monsters University
FreshMonster: Mike (Voice of Billy Crystal) Arrives in ‘Monsters University’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Monsters University”

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