Saturday, August 3, 2013

Movies In Review: Monsters University

As I truly have a passion and love for Disney (Pixar as a subsidiary is included) I had to see this one, especially since the first movie Monsters Inc. (2001) is easily added within my favorite Disney/Pixar collection. Monsters University actually takes place before Monsters Inc. The movie starts when Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is a little tyke and is on a field trip to the factory that has has the phrase "We Scare Because We Care" engraved upon its entrance. This is where his passion to become a scarer is ignited.
Cut to college, Mike is now within the very campus he has been dreaming of since that factory visit. He dons his MU (Monsters University) hat that was given to him by a scarer that he had encountered. His excitement is matched by his roommate, and complete character turn-around, Randall (Randy, Steve Buscemi). I loved seeing the deconstruction of his character, how he goes from naive newbie to his dislike of Sully (John Goodman) and Mike. I love the little details, such as how Randy,  first is wearing glasses and is wide-eyed, then after Mike takes off his glasses, he has his characteristic glare, which we now understand to be his lack of sight.


Monsters University introduces us to new, lovable characters as well. When both Sully and Mike are kicked out of the scarer program at the university, Mike strikes a deal with the scary Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), that if Mike and Sully's house (Oozma Kappa) can win the Scare Games, then they would have to be allowed back into the scarer program. But, the dean's rebuttal, if the boys fail, then they have to leave the campus forever. With these stakes on the table, Mike and Sully have to put aside their pride and whatever else, so that they can win! But, at what cost...
One of the reasons I love Disney movies so much is that it conditions us to route for the underdog, we want that hard obstacle, we want the impossible to become possible, we want to live in that dream. Monsters University delivers in this arena. Mike has to come to grips with the fact that, in the monster world, he's just not scary. As much as he wants to be and works his hardest to be, facts are facts. I think there is a great moral, especially for children, in our reality, that sometimes things may not work out the way we had hoped them to be, but in the end, through hard work and dedication, we can still achieve the impossible.
Overall - it's a fun ride and a sure fit for families to enjoy. As I always say, because of ticket prices, it can cost you a pretty penny to take a family out to the movies, even at matinee prices. But, if you can manage it, it's a must see, especially if your little ones love Monsters Inc. Just don't be disappointed when Boo doesn't make an appearance.