12 years ago a 14 year old girl sat staring at the cinema screen in wonder: how could a kids’ cartoon be this good?! Even teenage angst and hormonal scepticism were no match for this heartfelt flick. The film? MONSTER INC. The spotty teen? Me.
Naturally, with such fond memories of Sulley and Mike, I was more than happy to revisit the characters once more for MONSTERS UNIVERSITY.
Unlike most kiddy film sequels, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY takes us back in time showing how the oh-so –cute and (totally NOT scary) baby Mike first came to desire the job of ‘Professional Scarer’, as well as how he and Sulley came to be partners.
We trail after Mike and Sulley as they struggle through their first semester at MU, enduring the usual popularity contests, fraternity woes and nasty teachers you’d expect in any college flick.
So you get the idea; the storyline is not nearly as sophisticated as MONSTERS INC., with the themes reduced to the usual children’s fare of friendship, acceptance and team work. You know, the good old default message ‘it’s ok to be a loser – keep trying, do the right thing and you’ll win out in the end’.
If we wanted to be analytical, the illusion of grandeur and the ridiculously false importance attached to college life in America could be considered a major cultural flaw.
I can’t quite work out if Disney Pixar is using MONSTERS UNIVERSITY to ‘take the Mickey’ out of this empty glorification (see what I did there?!) or if the film is ultimately designed to perpetuate this perception…sadly I think it’s the latter.
God, they brainwash them young these days don’t they?
Ok…..so maybe I’m over thinking it a little (I am the one who, to this day, argues the TOY STORY trilogy is designed to make American kiddies OK with living in a nation of fear. Seriously, think about it: The toys live in a constant state of terror about what could happen to threaten their existence even though it hasn’t happened yet! Sorry…rant over!)
Maybe MONSTERS UNIVERSITY doesn’t have any underlying motive other than to entertain…but still… gotta keep an eye out!
As usual, the visual component of the film is beautiful. The dialogue is funny and the voices well delivered. There are enough links to the first film to satisfy our nostalgia AND there is a nice little surprise surrounding Randall (the baddie from MONSTERS INC.).
At nearly two hours in length, the film is a good 15 to 20minues too long. As much as I like the Monsters’ world and it’s characters (and whilst the teacher in me says children should be able to sit still for 2 hours!), the pacing of the film ultimately suffers.
Will your kids like it? Yep! Will adults who were kiddies when the first one came out like it? Yep. Could you watch this film without having seen it’s predecessor? Yep!
Basically it’s an enjoyable family film that’s better than your average cinematic offering, but not quite up to Disney Pixar’s usual standards.
I rate it 6 stars.
PS I STILL stand by what I say about TOY STORY!!!