Cute fright frat folly
PIXAR is no stranger to sequels, thanks to the Toy Story and Cars franchises, but in Monsters University, the team has ventured into its first prequel.
The result? While a fun PG-take on college frat life that brings back beloved characters from the original, Monsters University never reaches the high bar set by its predecessor.
Kids, and particularly Aussies, will be unfamiliar with the US college fraternity gags, but will enjoy it nonetheless thanks to its exuberance, while parents will find it cute, yet probably not remember exactly why days later.
Set long before the events of the 2001 film Monsters Inc, when we first learnt that Monstropolis was powered by children’s screams, Monsters University is an origin story for Michael ‘‘Mike’’ Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. ‘‘Sulley’’ Sullivan (John Goodman).
Ever wonder how these two became Monstropolis’s top scarers?
At university of course, where the most fearsome and therefore coolest monsters on campus are inevitably majors in scaring.
Since he was a wee thing, Mike has dreamed of being a scarer, as explained by a cute-asbutton prologue. But at uni, while he’s booksmart, the little green cyclops isn’t exactly built to terrify. Sulley, on the other hand, is your typical jock, oozing talent, overconfidence and little knowledge.
Naturally the two don’t get off on the right claw. When their competitive ego-clash gets them thrown out of the scare program, they and their misfit nerd frat team must work together to earn places as scarers.
Helen Mirren joins the voice cast as Dean Hardscrabble, a creepy dragon/cockroach monster, while old friends like Steve Buscemi’s Randy are also back.
Perhaps because of the absence of Boo, the child from the original film, this movie doesn’t have the same emotional punch, although it deals with themes like unfulfilled dreams, ambition and friendship.
Enjoyable and packed with laughs, Monsters University is fun, forgettable fare that isn’t Pixar’s worst offering, but also doesn’t make it into the same league as the classics.
Monsters University opens today.
Mike Wazowski, voiced by Billy Crystal, in a scene from the animated prequel