I am a huge fan of Pixar! Ever since I saw the original Toy Story, when I was about 4-5 years old, I was addicted to the art and magic that Pixar created. It is not simply an animation studio, Pixar is a place where dreams are made. But even though they continually redefine modern storytelling with their amazing films, they can’t stay away from the inevitable: sequels. Or rather, in this case, prequels.
Monsters University, directed by Dan Scanlon, is the prequel to Pixar’s 2001 film Monsters Inc. The story of MU centres around the considerably younger versions of Mike and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman) as they enter university to learn how to become “scarers”. Mike is the dedicated brainiac that studies 24/7 and Sulley is the typical laid-back loafer that rides on his dad’s reputation as a legendary scarer. Add a couple of misfit monsters to the mix and you’ve got a team that wants to prove that they can be the best scarers on campus.
A little part of me was a little bit disappointed with Pixar’s choice to make a prequel. It feels like they wanted to play it safe. However, I adored Monsters Inc. back in my childhood years, so I was actually very excited to see it, prequel or not. There will always be a big part of me that will always love Pixar and everything they do.
MU is essentially a film for the kiddies, but I believe older generations will enjoy this as well. Being at university, I can completely relate to this film. It highlights a lot of stereotypes of campus life (which are unfortunately mostly true) which I find absolutely hilarious.
The storyline, albeit a little predictable at times, was still really entertaining. I laughed and felt happy and sad for the characters and what they go through. There were even times that I bit my nail and took hold of my seat with the tense moments of the film. It made the film feel more “real” in a sense (don’t think too much about that statement). What the film lacks in storyline, it makes up for in its beautiful execution and style.
The voice acting was absolutely superb. In animation films, in general, there is always a slight disconnecting gap between animation and voice where the two just simply do not add up well. Pixar is one of those few animation studios that manages to match the animation up with the voices brilliantly, and makes the story come to life.
On the technical aspects, the film is somewhat lacking. A lot of the scenes were playing it safe in terms of animation, with exception to a few challenging scenes. Also, many of the monsters resembled play-dough creations with sharp teeth. This is mostly due to the style that was chosen, to suit the kid-friendliness of the film (which is actually appropriate), but to have some more intricately designed monsters would have been greatly appreciated.
Overall, Monsters University is a prequel that does not disappoint. There are a lot of inside jokes that the newer generations would not understand if they didn’t see Monsters Inc. The animation is beautiful and the story is very heart-warming. If you feel like being in a happy mood and feel like a kid again, then I highly recommend it!