Lazy Movie Review: Monsters University

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Premise:  Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc are back, but from before, when they went to college together.  Long story short, it was better than Brave.

 

Pros:

-I actually like the message this film has.  I don’t know if it’s necessarily thrilling for an audience of children, but it’s the realistic approach.  Basically, Mike spends the entire movie gradually learning that he’s never going to be the superstar scarer that he’s dreamed of being his entire life, and of course (because we know what he does in the first film), he ends up taking the less glamorous yet still rewarding job he has in Monsters Inc in the long run.  You can dream all you want, but reality has to check in at some point.  Why not hit kids early with this message?  We live in a time when all kids have to treated as though their all “special.”  I saw this change happen when I was in elementary school.  In first through fourth grade, when I participated in the Pinewood Derby (racing custom wooden cars on a track, if you’re unfamiliar), and every year they would give out trophies for racing, and also for design.  I would always do well in the design categories, and would take home second or third place every year.  But I wanted the huge first place trophy.  So I totally went all out and made an awesome chattering tooth dentist themed car for fifth grade, and sure enough I placed first place in design.  BUT…  apparently all the kids who didn’t work hard enough, or design good enough cars, were crying every year because they couldn’t EARN trophies, and they just wanted to GET trophies, and feel special for accomplishing nothing.  So in fifth grade, the year I EARNED a huge first place trophy, they decided to give the small same-sized trophy to EVERYONE, even kids who sucked and didn’t accomplish anything.  They were rewarded and treated special just because they cried about it.  So my lone first place trophy was the same size as the dumb kid who came in last place in every category, just so he could feel better about himself.  Meanwhile, me, the guy who used his creativity to win first place, was rewarded with lesser spoils.  BITTER MUCH, SCOTT?  Maybe if these under-achieving losers actually WANTED to get the trophies, they’d work harder and harder, and learn lessons about themselves in the process, and spend the rest of their lives working harder?  Orrrrrr maybe they’d continue to cry about not ever getting trophies, and never do anything but whine about it, and sink into the vacuum of mediocrity they were destined for in the first place?  Wait, weren’t we talking about Monsters University?  Oh yeah, well the movie taught a nice lesson that not everyone can be Michael Jordan, but they can certainly be Michael Jordan’s accountant, and still make a great, fulfilling life for themselves doing so.  Not quite “the world needs janitors” as a message, because the movie still encourages learning and working hard, but it’s more like “the world needs engineers”.  Which is a nice reality check.  Kids can, and should, still try to be whatever they want, but we shouldn’t sugar coat their lives anymore about making them believe that EVERYONE is special.  I knew quite a few morons growing up who went home with a little trophy that day.

-Whoa, I didn’t expect this review to be so dark and preachy.  On a lighter note, all of the character designs were fun and cute.  The animation was top notch, as expected. It’s a very colorful movie and a delight to watch on a visual level.

-The voice acting is also as good as ever.  Billy Crystal and John Goodman are awesome in this.  Lots of great cameos throughout.  I also enjoy the meteoric rise of Charlie Day in more and more films.  His next project is Pacific Rim..

-Pretty spot on spoof of 1980s college films, most notably Revenge of the Nerds.  As I was watching it I noticed the adults were laughing more than the kids throughout this thing.

-Sheri’s music choice while waiting in the car made me laugh a ton.

-I think I was entertained in every single scene.  It’s kind of just fun to watch the skewed world if the monsters.  Yet it’s all still grounded in a comical reality.  Probably best exemplified by the boring class that teaches students how to design scream canisters.  Again, the world needs canister designers.

-Good pacing.

-I liked that the ending went the way it did.  They certainly didn’t hand out trophies to every student just for trying.

 

Cons:

-The story is kind of just reduced to a competition.  Not quite as whimsical as the first film, but at least it delivers the jokes consistently.

-Should have gotten Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds to voice the monster that looked and acted exactly like Ogre.  MISSED OPPORTUNITY.  NEEEEEERRRRRRRRRDS.

-The ending to the first one is fantastic, and this one maybe tries a little too hard to do the same emotion and fails, despite the commendable spirit.  So I liked the ending, but didn’t.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my wishy washy garbage review!

 

Final Thoughts: I don’t think it had as good a story as Monsters Inc, or the same level of emotion, but I thought Monsters University was a lot funnier. It’s hard to say whether it’s *better* than Monsters Inc… It probably isn’t.  But I didn’t really grow up with the first one and saw it for the first time within the last 2 years, so I’d probably rather watch Monsters University again if given the choice.  Better jokes, just sayin’.

8.5 out of 10

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