I have expressed before that I have an almost obsessive love for Pixar. I am now fully prepared to admit that there is no almost about it, and not just because I have a tendency to obsess about things in general.
Pixar creates what can only be described as magic, and their latest film, Monsters University, the long awaited prequel to Monsters Inc, is no exception.
Even before the film itself began, we were treated to the usual prelude of a short film. This particular delight, titled ‘The Blue Umbrella’, was nothing short of breathtaking. No point denying it, I cried. I cried over an inanimate object.
Only Pixar could make me do that. I don’t know how they do it but they continue to produce mesmerizing creations. It astounds me, but it really shouldn’t by this point, because they never let me down. They never fail to amaze.
Monsters University sees the beloved characters of Sully (or James P. Sullivan) and Mike Wazowski (how many of you read that in Boo’s voice?) return to our screens as we follow the events that led them to Monsters Inc.
In this delightful prequel, we see Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) at university. Thought I’d just make that clear for all those stumped by the ambiguous title.
More importantly though, we see how the relationship between them starts, struggles and eventually grows into the friendship we know from the first film.
There is a much stronger focus on Mike in this film, which is refreshing. I was actually surprised to find that he is my new favourite of the duo, whereas Sully had been before.
As you might expect, the film is full of laughs, adventure, mishaps and hilarious university escapades. Students will particularly enjoy, as I did, the fresher’s fair, which is brilliantly accurate.
The plot is enjoyable and interesting and remains so throughout, there are even some twists and turns included. Despite the fact it’s a prequel (so to some extent you know where it was going) I was still hooked and desperate to see how it ended.
The film is scattered with brilliant and sometimes subtle references to Monsters Inc. Fans of the first film will be sure to notice them, though I imagine there are many more to be found with multiple viewings.
Though there a few old faces, one of the best parts of the film is the introduction of so many new monsters, each with hilarious or simply, cool abilities.
With these new characters come of course, new actors. Notably, Helen Mirren as the fearsome Dean Hardscrabble, though personally The Librarian scared me far more.
Mirren of course is fantastic and perfectly suited to the role, as are the rest of the cast who are too numerous for me to list. A special mention of course goes to John Goodman and Billy Crystal though, both of whom I adore.
High praise should also be given to Dan Scanlon, one of the writers and director, for his brilliant work, particularly as this was his first Pixar feature film. I hold the other writers in highest esteem too of course.
This is the point in a review where I try to be balanced and look for any negative aspects of a film, but honestly, for me there weren’t any in this one.
I can’t even go for the classic “It was good, but not as good as the original”, because it’s simply not true. This film is as good as, if not better than, Monsters Inc, and it delights me to say so, especially as I have a deep loathing of bad follow up movies.
Monsters University was truly brilliant from beginning to end, it made me laugh. A lot. Once very loudly, much to my embarrassment. It made me cry. It made me swell up with the familiar joy, pride and wonderment that only Pixar can bring. It even included, in typical Pixar fashion, a valuable life lesson.
All in all an incredible film, which I can’t say a bad word about and which I can’t wait to watch again and again.