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To become the best, you have to go to school, and the best school is Monsters University (not Fear Tech!) When little Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal)i takes a trip to Monsters Inc. he knows that he wants to become a scarer and he will do anything it takes to get it.
Upon enrolling at Monsters University Mike meets Sully (John Goodman) who has managed to get by so far using the famous Sullivan name he was born with. The pair share an instant dislike for one another which is further aggravated when Sully sneaks into Mike’s room with the stolen mascot of Fear Tech. The feud culminates on the day of a final exam when they cause the release of Dean Hardscrabble’s award winning scream.
Both expelled from the program Mike comes up with the plan to enter the Scare Games and win his place back on the scare program, but he needs one more member to compete, Sully steps up. Cue triumph over adversity as the worst fraternity on campus come together to overcome the odds in the Scare Games.
What Monsters Inc. had was heart, personified by Sully’s relationship with Boo. Unfortunately, MU appears to lack that element, despite giving us a cute little Mike in the opening scenes. Perhaps the audience knowing the fate of the characters already wound up hurting the story? Knowing the monsters put their differences aside removes the engagement with the “will they/won’t they” plot.
Despite this, the film continues to instil the laughter you’d expect from Pixar, be it the subtle references or the slapstick elements, there is nothing that you won’t enjoy. The younger kids might get a little bit disturbed by the scary nature of some scenes, but stick Monsters Inc. on when they get home and they’ll be OK to go to bed that evening.
Whilst not really pushing the boundaries in terms of writing – you will find many other stories and plot lines that follow the same formula and clichés – the tale does have a wholesome message at the heart of it. Whilst many will lead you to believe that education will get you everything you need in life, Monsters University shows that through hard work, you can accomplish your goals without the need for diplomas. It is undertones like these that make the Pixar films stand out even if the writing doesn’t.
Enjoyable and entertaining, the story doesn’t lull and the chemistry between the characters is constantly evolving. The back-story for Randall could have been slightly more explored as there is no real villain in the piece. Monsters University brings us a happy dose of characters we fell in love with in 2001 but doesn’t pull at the heartstrings as much as the original or its Toy Story brothers.