When I heard that Monsters, Inc. is going to have a prequel, I wondered what the epiphany (this is Pixar – characters always reach an epiphany) will be in Monsters University. How could Pixar make this prequel enjoyable, when the characters – Mike Wazowski and James Sullivan – have yet to realize that power (literal, in their world) comes not from a place of terror, but a place that gives you delight and laughter? Will Monsters U end with the protagonists understanding how to effectively scare children shitless? That’s going to take a dark turn pretty quickly.
BUT: the filmmakers found a way to end this without making us squirm in our seats. (An animated film for children telling children that the monster in the closet is real is bound to make you feel dirty.) Monsters University fleshes out the characters, injects it with humor (“I can’t go back to jail!”), and tells a university story (Harry Potter, anyone?) with an unpredictable plot. It made me nostalgic, actually. You see that guy with multiple limbs chugging down multiple cups of coffee on exam day? Yeah.
So many things to love in this film. Do watch it.
PS The short film, The Blue Umbrella, isn’t the best Pixar short in terms of storyline but the animation is gorgeous. The details! The color! I can’t wait to see the next Pixar film animated in this way.