Cute fright frat folly

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

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.

Mon­sters Univer­sity.

Mike Wa­zowski, voiced by Billy Crys­tal, in a scene from the an­i­mated pre­quel

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