Saturday, 30 November 2013

Monsters University: Blu Ray Review

Monsters University: Blu Ray Review

Rating: G
Released by Disney

The Monsters are back in this prequel to the wonderful Monsters, Inc.

It's a tough call following one of the most beloved Pixar movies of all time and you'd almost be afraid to do it - but Pixar's decided to deliver another film with the leads that have become so iconic. This time around though, things are a little different for Sulley, Mike Wazowski and Randall. The film takes you back to before the friendship and into the younger days - Mike (Billy Crystal, once again in fine form) is determined to do what it takes to get into Monsters University and become the best scarer ever after visiting Monsters Inc during a school trip.

So, when Mike manages to get a place at the prestigious university, he's keen to ensure he doesn't lose his spot and studies as much as he can. But things go a little haywire when jock-like Sulley (John Goodman, returning to the role he was suited for) shows up - a slacker who's getting by on the family name and refusing to study, he winds Mike up the wrong way.

And when the pair of them end up being kicked out of college, Mike thinks his dream is shattered....until he discovers the Scare Games and one final chance to get back in.

The problem is that he'll have to do it with his new arch-nemesis, Sulley and a team of misfits who couldn't say boo to a ghost...Monsters University is the kind of US college film we've all seen a million times before - a group of outcasts, victimised by the cool kids and heading for a showdown with the dean of the college. So, on that front, it's perhaps a bit of a disappointment that Pixar's plumped for the old cliche rather than looking at something new.

That said, by using a few clever twists on your expectations (the Sulley vs Mike divide, a new roommate for Mike initially) they just about manage to get away with it. Starting with Mike as a kid and outcast at college, he becomes the deluded underdog and nerd; throw in Sulley's jock, who's in competition with Mike and you've got the classic paradigm right there. Taking in a buddy message and the obligatory "you can do this with team help" theme, and really Pixar's not exactly stretching the hearts and minds of those who so enjoyed Monsters Inc back when it first emerged. But that's not to say that the new generation won't be captivated by Mike and Sulley's antics this time around. Of the new additions, Nathan Fillion's frat leader Johnny, Helen Mirren's Dean Hardscrabble and Charlie Day's Art make the most of their screen time and add a welcome presence to the pantheon of Monsters. 

While the Monsters University animation is top notch, the colourful creatures of Monsters University rich and varied within and Goodman and Crystal's vocal work is exceptional as ever, the whole thing just doesn't quite have the same rich emotional pay off, heartfelt resonance and pertinent humour in this prequel which made Monsters Inc so incredibly special.

(One thing which is worth the price of admission though is the truly beautiful short piece, The Blue Umbrella which is a blu ray extra. This is a real masterclass in short form animation, and is exceptional from beginning to end)

Extras: A Whole bunch of stuff including commentary, deleted scenes,and more.


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