Film #89: Monsters University (2013)

s445-63pub-pub16-143-jpg_165824director: Dan Scanlon
length: 104 minutes
language: English
watched on: 16 July 2013

This film actually came out in the English version as well as Japanese here, which is more than I can say for Wreck-It Ralph, the last Disney movie I wanted to watch, so I could actually see this one in the cinemas. I wasn’t expecting great things from it; although it had the same characters as the first movie, as a prequel it is conspicuously missing Boo. I’d also heard a couple of reviews that were middling.

I did overall like it, particularly because I was giggling at the jokes most of the way through. But the basic storyline is one of American colleges and fraternity nonsense – I still don’t even get what fraternities are other than something I wouldn’t want to join in the first place – and a lot of it felt unrelatable. Also you kind of know where it’s going to end up, but there are enough twists near the end to keep this slightly unexpected.

The story concerns Mike and Sully, from the first movie, both enrolled in the scaring program at Monsters University, but kicked off when it turns out neither of them are very good at it. Then they enroll in a scaring contest, which they have to enter as part of a team of 6 (where the fraternity comes in), in order to win back their place on the program. The Dean in charge of said program (played excellently by Helen Mirren) was a great screen presence, but her interest in the contest seemed to me completely unnatural, as if university staff would actually care what kind of rubbish their students are getting up to. The main adversity is that the fraternity they join is the most squibbish and least scary of all the fraternities, and they have to turn this all around. So far so predictable.

Actually, I found all the fraternity characters worthy additions to the cast, and enjoyed that part a lot. And later in the plot it becomes less predictable as there are a couple of significant twists in your expectation of where the plot will go next near the end. There’s one sequence in particular (spoiler alert) set in the human world which I thought was very well-done, and seems to have been partly made to show off their water and reflection animation skills.

The biggest emotion I took away from the film, though, was the desire to watch the first movie again. And that’s just what I did. (up next)

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