There are some spoilers, but not enough to ruin the story.
Pixar is known for making some of the most classic and beloved animated movies of all time. In it’s latest effort, Monsters Universe takes us back to when Mike and Sully first met those many moons ago at the famed school of higher learning of the same name. What I can say conclusively is, Pixar has made many classics – this isn’t one of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really liked this movie a lot. Like CARS, it has humor, fun, some action and a whimsical nature that is undeniable, but unlike even CARS and many of it’s predecessors, this movie really isn’t original at all. If anything it’s like a childish version of Revenge of the Nerds, Animal House and strangely enough – The Skulls in a lesser way.
Mike is the smaller, little green monster that wants to be an elite scarer and has studied his whole life to get into the elite scaring school at MU. Sulley is a lunk head and next in the line of great Sully scarers to enter the same school. Along the way you get to meet some younger, wilder and more novice scarers from the Monsters, Inc. The one most prominent is Randall and how the animosity between Randall (the light-bending, lizard monster) and Sulley began. You see how Mike and Sulley weren’t always best friends and that twists of fate and circumstances beyond your control can make strange bedfellows in times of desperation.
Another prominent character introduced in this movie is Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirin) that actually is a somewhat frightening character. She’s sort of a mix between a snake, centipede, bat and dragon that always seems (even in light) to be in a shadow. The stuff of nightmares of little children for sure. She’s the all-time record holder of the most screams and is a no nonsense, strict and judgemental creature that suffers no fools lightly. She also has no love for Mike and his way too cute appearance in the scare school. She’s made it abundantly clear that Mike is unwanted and that no matter how much he studies, he’ll never be scary. So, if you aren’t scary, you have no place in the scare school. However, her love for Sulley and his silly antics leave her cold as well and she doesn’t care that he’s in the line of famous scarers.
Along the way, you meet the members of the freaks of freaks, the Oozma Kappa members (Squishy, Art, Don and the two-headed Terry & Terri). The cutest and most awkward of fraternities. On the other side, you have Roar Omega Roar, the elite scaring fraternity of the school. The ones that make the rules, have the best parties and are the multi-year winner of the Scare Games. So, Mike and Sulley have a lot to prove. To prove between themselves who’s the scariest and earn the respect of Dean Hardscrabble. Thus, they enter the Scare Games with a lot to prove and mountain of obstacles to climb to win it.
One of the main themes running through this movie is that you are what you are, but you can be more than what people expect from you. It’s not about being something you aren’t, but being the best you you can possibly be.
I recommend this movie because it’s good, entertaining and my 3 year old laughed her butt off the whole movie – which is high praise in my book. However, also realize that some kids may get a little freaked out as one little girl in front of me ket screaming “Daddy, I’m scared. Let’s go now!” during certain scaring simulation scenes. While my kids slept soundly that night, it’s possible he and his wife had another warm body in their bed.
As stated before, this is not one of the Pixar greats. In fact, it’s probably one of their most formulaic and unoriginal outings ever. But that didn’t take away the goodness of seeing this movie with my kids and the warm feelings I had from seeing Monsters, Inc. years before my kids were even born. This wasn’t the movie I was hoping for, but it was a movie I enjoyed. Pixar – even their not-so great movies are greater than most movies out. Amazing.
Save me some popcorn and Milk Duds.