HOLLYWOOD—Its hard to fathom that it has been nearly 12 years since the animated flick “Monsters Inc.” hit multiplexes. After nearly a decade, a sequel to that picture “Monsters University” has arrived and it’s a treat for the entire family to watch. This new chapter isn’t really a sequel, it’s a prequel. It’s not something seen in the animated genre, it’s more reserved for the horror and sci-fi flicks, however, “Monster’s University” does a clever job of weaving a tale that keeps the adults just as engaged as the kids.
The picture reunites Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and James “Sulley” Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) before they became scare experts. The idea of following these two odd ball characters during their college years is quite interesting to say the least. It allows kids to have a perspective on higher education from the child point of view. Not many kids would grasp the concept in a typical movie, but on the animated front it’s much more approachable.
Mike is the central arc of the picture, as he’s always dreamt of being someone to scare others since he was a kid. At the esteemed Monsters University he discovers it’s not as easy as he thinks. Making friends is a bit difficult for the one-eyed creature who sparks a relationship with Randy Boggs (voice of Steve Buscemi), but it’s his encounter with Sulley that sets the stage for a lifelong friendship, as Mike and Sulley are complete opposites.
When Sulley finds himself a member of the top fraternity on campus, it creates a bit of jealousy with Mike who finds himself in competition to out-scare his pupil. The kid-friendly movie works so well because it’s loaded with tons of laughs that are absolutely gut-wrenching for the stomach and body. I honestly cannot recall the last time I laughed this hard watching a movie.
The film’s overall message is important though: no matter how many times you get knocked down, you have to be willing to get back up. Both Mike and Sulley prove this; while the adults are aware where the ending of the picture leads as it’s a prequel, younger kids may not.
“Monsters University” has a message of empowerment and triumph against the odds that is seen time and time again in cinema. It presents the message with such precision to detail and heart it gets the best of your emotions at times. Any adult will go back to that time where they failed at something and thought about giving up, yet fought against the odds to attain that dream they had. There is a reason the movie reigned supreme at the box-office: it’s funny, heartfelt and downright amazing to see a prequel surpass the original in my opinion.
By LaDale Anderson