"Monsters University" Review

‘Monsters University’ Review

Pixar has been setting animation standards since their debut film, Toy Story, debuted back in 1995. Over the years, Pixar has become synonymous with quality and heart felt animation. Some argue that they have declined in recent outings, specifically Cars 2, but I still think Pixar is the Blizzard of the movie world. With such a high reputation comes a high level of expectation. This is another reason people are so hard on certain Pixar films. Monsters University is a key example in this debate. Some people may find it just goes through the motions. Others, including myself, will find it a taut, fast paced movie with great character development and non stop smiling.

This is Pixar’s first prequel film and features most of your favorites from the first film, Monsters Inc. The main duo, Mike and Sully, are back as college students at the titular Monsters University. From this initial setup we are treated to an Animal House-like narrative that isn’t exactly new but just happens to fit so well with the values and goals of a kids film. It’s an underdog story, a buddy comedy, a thematic coming of age story and, at its core, a film about the start of a friendship. As I said earlier, those more cynical viewers may find the film a bit generic, but I for one thought it was fun to see these characters in this setting. The voice acting is fantastic, the animation is top notch and the humor is subtle and more thorough then lesser animated films.

One of the movie’s strongest suits is its overall fast paced narrative. Once the movie starts, there is some sort of emotion being displayed in every scene. Nothing feels drawn out or unnecessary. Plus, fun cameos from Monsters Inc really make it a healthy prequel film. This movie may not have the emotional punch of Toy Story 3, or the outright innovation of the original Monsters Inc, but in terms of delivering a well thought out prologue to a set of beloved characters, Monsters University delivers solid marks across the board.

What Monsters University really feels like is Pixar’s attempt to pull back and do something basic. Wanting to prove that they still have what it takes to make a visual feast with strong, witty characters. It similar to when a band has reached its 6th, 7th or 8th album. By that time, they should be able to pull out a better then average effort without breaking much of a sweat. Pixar is well past it’s 8th film and at this point it seems like people expect a masterwork every time, which is understandable given the amount of masterpieces Pixar has pumped out in just under 20 years.

Not everything will be perfect, however, and this includes Monsters University. It may not be perfect, but it’s a damn good film.

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