Monday, July 1, 2013


Take a fun summer refresher course at 'Monsters University'

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this holiday weekend? Why not sign up for a refresher course at Monsters University? This lighthearted prequel to the Pixar/Disney 2001 animated blockbuster, Monsters Inc., reunites audiences with some of their favorite characters and introduces some cool new ones in a family-friendly tale of friendship, destiny, diversity, and higher education, told with maximum humor and heart.

Monsters Inc. is a hard act to follow, with its entertaining and audacious premise that the monsters that lurk under the bed and pop out of the closet to frighten children at night are not only real, they are proud members of an elite labor force who punch a time clock and take the work very seriously. The screams they harvest at night from the human kids they scare silly are captured in canisters to supply fuel for the city and the economy in the alternative reality where the monsters live.

There's no way to top this premise, so incoming director Dan Scanlon and returning scriptwriters Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird backpedal instead. Monsters University is an origin story on how two of the top "Scarers" found their path in life. The first film showed big, blue, fur-ball James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (voice of John Goodman), and his partner, diminutive, green, cyclops Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) at the top of their game. In Monsters U, we see their rocky road to friendship, and the personal obstacles each faces along the way.

 My favorite addition to the Monsters universe is the imperious Dean Hardscrabble (above). An upright reptile whose dozens of centipede feet scrabble ominously across the floor, with an impressive set of giant dragon-like red wings, she's part Maleficent, part "Night on Bald Mountain's" devil, with a fine, chilly voice provided by Helen Mirren.

Part frat house comedy, part Hunger Games, with a soupcon of Hogwarts, Monsters U delivers some engaging messages with a very light touch. (Read more)


  1. I totally agree. Admittedly, I was nervous about another Pixar sequel. Sure they did "Toy Story" 2 and 3, but they also produced "Cars 2", so...

    Going back to Sully and Mike's roots was a great idea. Funny, touching enough, and it looks like they started with a story and not a "hey, let's make a sequel" approach.

  2. Pixar has a great track record with sequels, beginning with, as you point out, the sublime Toy Story franchise. (Okay, I missed the Cars movies, but still...) When you stop and think it took them 12 years to come up with a Monsters Inc sequel, that's very telling; it's not like they rushed into it 6 months later to capitalize on the box office. There was some thought process involved!