Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren
Director: Dan Scanlon
Running Time: 104 mins
Monsters University is an American film and the prequel to Monsters, Inc. Years before their work together on the scarefloor, Mike and Sulley were at odds in their first year of university, as Mike attempted to be the best scarer there could be, and Sulley wasn’t all that bothered.
I loved Monsters Inc, but Monsters University, not so much. It’s in no way a bad film, and in fact provides a very fun watch, but it’s nothing more than a simple, easy comedy. It’s enjoyable, but it really misses what made its predecessor so special, and goes for a disappointingly generic plot with no real substance to it.
The best thing about the film, however, is that it’s still pretty funny. Again, not as hilarious as Monsters Inc, but with the returning odd-couple chemistry of Mike and Sulley (and the triumphant return of Billy Crystal and John Goodman), coupled with some funny parallels between the human and monster world, there are a lot of laughs here, and so it’s an easily enjoyable watch.
The most interesting part of the film comes in the form of the development of Mike and Sulley’s relationship. At first, they’re enemies, but the way that they change throughout the course of the film is pretty interesting, although nothing we’ve never seen before, but it does serve as a satisfying prequel to the eventual classic story on the scarefloor.
What I found mostly disappointing about Monsters University, however, was that it really didn’t live up to the incredible uniqueness of its predecessor. Monsters Inc was not only a brilliant comedy, but it created a fascinating and unique world that the monsters lived in, whilst also packing some amazing emotional power to boot.
And whilst it’s clear that there’s no strong emotional power in this prequel at all, that can be understood owing to the more simplistic plot. But it’s that plot, which is effectively an animated take on Revenge Of The Nerds, that’s most disappointing.
It’s frustrating to see these brilliant characters in roles that could just be filled by humans. Monsters Inc, on the other hand, had its own culture, and felt unique, whereas this is just a simple mapping of the human world onto the monster world, and as such just isn’t as impressive to watch, nor as interesting.
Overall, Monsters University is a fun film, and a nice, easy watch, but it still really falls short of the original, as it lacks any emotional power, and fails to recreate the uniqueness of the monster world that we saw before, and that’s why it gets a 7.4 from me.