12 years after the extremely successful animated hit Monsters, Inc was released, Disney Pixar, under the directorial guidance of Dan Scanlon, have released the highly anticipated prequel Monsters University, that sees the return of monsters Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman).
The 2001 original followed both Mike and Sulley as they worked on the scarers floor of the Monsters Corporation. Despite the fantastic tale that unraveled, we still did not know how Mike and Sulley became scarers and best friends. This is what Scanlon’s new film sets out to tell us.
Both Mike and Sulley end up at Monsters University, the renowned scaring institution, and clash immediately. Mike, who has dreamed of becoming a scarer since he visited the scarers floor on a school visit, and Sulley, who lives off of his family’s name, certainly do not see eye to eye, of which eventually ends in disastrous consequences.
The prequel is an enjoyable ride through their experiences at university and successfully answers the questions about how and why they are where they are in the original. It is a fun-filled spectacle, but lacks the same charm and humour that made the 2001 hit so successful. Randall Boggs added the sinister factor to Monsters, Inc, but Monsters University fails to capture that same feeling with the strict Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren).
The relationship between Mike, Sulley and the ‘O.K’ fraternity, of which they become apart of, is the most charming aspect of the film. They are a lovable quartet that the pair join with in order to compete in the Scaring Games, a competition to prove your scaring capabilities, consisting of Don (Joel Murray), Terri (Sean Hayes), Terry (Dave Foley) and Art (Charlie Day) – a group of misfits that will bring a smile to even the most miserable of audience members’ faces.
Monsters University is a film of strength and persistence personified by the relationship between Mike and Sulley. Both are shown as vulnerable in contrasting ways, but by the end of the film that all changes. Scanlon has done a good job in capturing the spirit of the original, and although it still does not quit hit the heights of Monsters, Inc in regards to quality, it is an enjoyable cinematic experience suitable for the whole family.