M.U. Scares up Some Fun, but just Some.
Well, it’s not actually scary, not even remotely so, but then again, it’s not meant to be. It is fun though. Monsters, Inc. (2001) was far from Pixar’s best but it was charming and entertaining and teamed Billy Crystal and John Goodman in the roles of Mike and Sully (respectively), an animated duo that connected the viewer to the movie.
Monsters University takes the viewer back this time. It explores the origins of Mike and Sully in typical ‘buddy movie’ fashion. At first, they don’t like one another, but their friendship grows into the inseparable bond we see in Inc. It reveals the history of Randall (Steve Buscemi) and why he grows to resent the two heroes so much, but the role is relatively small here.
For Mike, this is an underdog tale, as he enters the Scare Program where he meets his roommate, Sully. Sully has yet to realize his potential, but over the course of the movie, through their various challenges, the two (of course) overcome and succeed. Mike is the little guy who must rise above all challenges to find his way. Sully is more like a college athlete who is riding on talent and reputation, and lacking a work ethic. He too, must overcome. Add the talents of Helen Mirren, Dave Foley and Nathan Fillion and the viewer gets above average entertainment, very much targeting pre-tween children.
Monsters, Inc. had a universal appeal, which is lacking here. There are attempts at creating an emotional attachment that are somewhat successful as the fledgling friendship grows, but nothing in Monsters University captures the Sully-Boo emotional connection.
And so it goes for the viewer, too. Entertaining, yes, but quite creating the connection we previously had and want to experience again.
Is it recommend, sure, yes. Especially, if you have children. My eight-year-old enjoyed it much more than I did.
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Review by Gordon Shelly, special to Influx Magazine