Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODFUN -

PIXAR has a pretty solid track record when it comes to se­quels (think Toy Story). But un­til Mon­sters Univer­sity, a new ori­gin story set sev­eral years be­fore the ac­tion of Mon­sters, Inc., the ac­claimed an­i­ma­tion shop had never at­tempted a pre­quel. The char­ac­ters Mike (voice of Billy Crys­tal) and Sul­ley (John Good­man) are funny enough and their re­la­tion­ship rich enough to make the back story worth telling. Set at the tit­u­lar Mon­sters Univer­sity, the film is the story of how fresh­men mon­sters Mike and Sul­ley – as­pir­ing stu­dents of the fine art of scar­ing – met and be­came fast friends. It’s also the story of how they be­came, more essen­tially, them­selves. Where Mon­sters, Inc. was a heav­ily plot-driven tale, Mon­sters Univer­sity is a two-mon­ster char­ac­ter study. It may be chil­dren’s ter­ror that pow­ers the movie’s fic­tional universe, but it’s the en­ergy of its stars that lights up Mon­sters Univer­sity.




SUR­PRIS­INGLY en­ter­tain­ing, even fit­fully ex­cit­ing, the film is pri­mar­ily an ex­er­cise in ex­pec­ta­tion man­age­ment. For­get those trail­ers sug­gest­ing a rock ’em, sock ’em, blow-it-all-up ex­trav­a­ganza or a Grand Guig­nol of can­ni­bal­is­tic, face-eat­ing zom­bies. In­stead, be pre­pared for a rel­a­tively grown-up, mod­estly in­tel­li­gent and re­fresh­ingly un-bom­bas­tic thriller. An­chored by a solid lead per­for­mance by Brad Pitt, who plays a happy Philadel­phia house­hus­band pulled back into his old pro­fes­sion of UN in­ves­ti­ga­tor when a zom­bie apoc­a­lypse threat­ens to de­stroy the world, World War Z may not break new ground in ei­ther of the gen­res it strad­dles. But it de­serves a cer­tain amount of credit for re­fus­ing to buy into the cur­rent cin­e­matic arms race in Big­gest, Loud­est and Dumb­est. This film must be some kind of psy­cho­log­i­cal ex­per­i­ment. Per­haps the film­mak­ers sat in a lab, rub­bing their tem­ples while won­der­ing aloud how aw­ful they could make a movie and still score at the box of­fice. It’s the only rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tion for this lazy bor­ing, vile and trag­i­cally un­funny at­tempt at a horror-film spoof that is sure to kill brain cells and may sig­nal the im­pend­ing apoc­a­lypse. – Wash­ing­ton Post

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