Monday, June 24, 2013

Mousey Movie Review - Monsters University

Monsters University poster with full cast.
I'm Between Disney and I'm Monsters University!

We now know where all the top scarers got their education!  In this Pixar prequel, we follow Mike and Sulley as they start they scarer education at MU, Monster's University.  Mike is a bright overachiever who knows everything about scaring.  Sulley is the entitled scaring legacy, trading on his dad's name to get respect in the classroom.  The two are thrown together, along with the boys of Oozma Kappa, in an attempt to win the Scare Game to keep their good academic status in the scarer program.

What I wish I could tell you is that I loved Monsters University.  I cannot say I loved it.  And I cannot say I hate it!  Honestly, I just do not have strong feelings for Monsters University one way or another.  I thought it was good, but not great.  I will likely purchase it for home when it comes out, partially because the Between Tween really like it.  The Between Kid though was ready to go when it was over and said it lasted a long time.  I would probably rank it in the middle of the Pixar productions, and I really wanted to love it (I say sitting here in my Monsters University t-shirt).  Here are my thoughts about this Mousey Movie:

  • Captain Tightpants: Nathan Fillion plays Johnny Worthington the president of fraternity Roar Omega Roar.   I really did think he came across well as the charming and shallow villain.  I could feel him channeling Captain Hammer through the character.  I disliked him, and found myself charmed by him. 
  • Danny McGrath: Steve Buscemi returns as Randall, I mean Randy, Boggs.  Randy seems like a nice kid when we first meet him.  He reminds me of Benji from Pitch Perfect (though it is Terry/Terri voiced by Dave Foley and Sean Hayes who is an expert in close up magic).  He wants to be liked by the cool kids, but some of his efforts like Benji's fail.  You could see him becoming like Buscemi's Danny McGrath in Billy Madison, alone and slightly socially off if he had not made any friends.  So when we see the angry Randall in Monsters, Inc, you really wonder what happened to this nice kid.  Well, the good news is you do see way Randy got so angry.
  •  Animal House: The guys of Oozma Kappa are really likable.  You will want to see they do well, and become popular.  And in those scenes where they take a step back on the college hierarchy does make you feel for them.  The OK gang along with Terry/Terri are Don Carlton, Art, and Scott "Squishy" Squibbles.  I could really see doing a short series with the men of OK.  That way they would not have to share the screen with Mike and Sulley.  My one complaint is I really wanted a what happened to them montage, like in Animal House, telling me what happened to all of the boys.  There is a slight hint to this at the end, but they do not fully commit.  
  • Old School:  The settings are going to feel familiar to adults, who might be brought back to their college days.  And the material of Monsters University is tough character driven stuff.  Themes in the movie including transitioning into a new environment, fitting in, and choosing one's destiny in life.  And honestly, for not all the characters in the movie do their dreams come about the way they envisioned.  That is a tough reality for even adults to take.  So I would say there was more to think about than to watch.  There was honestly not continuous fast paced action.  And I think this explains why the youngest member of the Between Family was not always engaged.  
  • The Avengers: As we were getting up the Between Wife asked me if there was anything after the credits.  I said, "It's not The Avengers, I think we are safe to go."  Well I was wrong.  A theater staff member flagged us as we were heading out and let us know there was something after the credits.  And honestly, it was worth going back into the theater to see.  
  • Crystal Palace:  I do have to say that Billy Crystal and John Goodman really do seem to know Mike and Sulley well.  It was liked they slipped on the old glove and it fit perfectly.  It is almost like the characters are based on Billy and John! 
I was tickled that I found the John Ratzenberger cameo, which was classic as always.  But I never did find the Pizza Planet truck.  Though I think the inclusion of A113 is perfect based on its college origins.  And there are some other homages to the other Monsters movie that will probably give you a light chuckle. 
I think Disney fans are likely to enjoy this film, along with the general public.  And based on other movies I have seen this summer it deserved its smash opening weekend.  Everyone who reads this blog, is probably going to see it in the next few months.  Monsters University is a good movie, but not an instant classic. 
I just wish they would let me signup as a student!  

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