Thoughts on Monsters University


I will never doubt Pixar again. Truth be told, I really wasn’t anticipating Monsters University at all. Much like Finding Nemo, people absolutely adore Monsters Inc., but honestly it doesn’t really do anything for me. If I had to rank the Pixar films from top to bottom, I’d probably place it towards the bottom of the list. So, maybe it’s because I walked into Monsters University with lowered expectations, but still I must say that I really loved Monsters University.
Pixar continues to push itself visually, constantly delivering computer animation that is breath-taking. Yes, it is a movie about monsters, but the real world objects on display and on the actual monsters are so realistic that you know you’re watching something special. The buildings, the campsite and the lake all look amazing. One of the biggest critiques for Pixar has always been the animation of its actual human beings. Well, here the quick glimpses we catch of the sheriffs that are sent to investigate at the campsite when things go horribly wrong for one of our favorite monsters, well I believe Pixar has addressed that complaint and I was amazed at how the adults looked.
We’re familiar with Mike, Sully and a few other of the monsters but with this sequel, made over ten years after the first one but chronologically taking place first, it’s a great chance for Pixar to expand its monster universe and introduce a bunch of new creatures of all shapes and sizes. Having the film take place in college also allows Pixar to visit and explore themes and ideas that they had not had a chance to get into. Yes, we see Andy leave for college in Toy Story 3, but here we can actually get into and live that experience. The fraternities, the sororities and the competitions, it’s all here and it all pays off wonderfully. I can’t explain enough how much I loved the scare games.
While it can all be shrugged off as a silly story about monsters, it really is about more than that. By placing Mike as the center of the film and starting it off with him as a child with a dream, well it adds so much heart to the movie. You never forget that this has been his goal from day one so when he get to that final scare and the voices and critics start playing in his head, it’s hard not to feel all of that emotion. Another perfect touch was ending the film much like it started, with Mike and that line at Monsters Inc.
The silly stuff is certainly there, it’s on the poster and it’s what attracts the kids, but really Pixar is interested in more than that. The film digs deeper and it becomes about acceptance and not conforming to what others think you should be. Yes, it has that ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ vibe, only with so much more heart. People see cliché, or Pixar just playing it safe. I say look again because I see a great film that exceeding my expectations. Maybe I should pay extra attention now to Finding Dory, because while I may have been concerned about Pixar and all of the sequel talk, I must remember that this is Pixar, where story matters above all. I believe Pixar has earned the benefit of the doubt and an open mind from me.


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