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Monsters University is both familiar and unique at the same time

Updated on April 16, 2014

I immediately thought Monsters Inc. was an amazing movie when it came out and it has maintained an excellent spot in my movie mind. And it has managed to remain one of my favorite Pixar movies ever.

But Monsters University is a pretty great followup movie to that wonderful flick. If you're a fan of the first one, I can't imagine any reason whatever that you wouldn't love this one as well.

The sad thing about this movie is that I really can't think of much to say about it other than the fact that I really loved the movie. As a movie reviewer, albeit an amateur one, I would have to admit that it's much more fun to rip on a movie than to praise it. Sadly I'll not be having a lot of fun with this review.

But I had plenty of fun watching the movie.

But first, the story

Thanks to a great experience when he was a kid, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), the giant green eyeball with limbs, has had only one dream: to become the best professional scarer that ever existed. A simple dream, but it was always enough for him.

He makes his way to the prestigious Monsters University headed by the stern Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) and he becomes roommates with, you guessed it, Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), the eight-limbed, usually purple lizard. They're both in the university's scare program and they immediately hit it off. Mike is the bookish type who always has the answer, and Randall is the naiive, happy freshman.

On the first day of class, Mike meets the naturally talented James P. Sullivan, the giant blue long-hair with pink polka-dots.

And as you could easily guess, those two totally don't hit it off.

The bunch of them consider the different fraternities. There's the popular Roar omega Roar, lead by Johnny (Nathan Fillion), the identical Python Nu Kappas (though, admittedly, that's a sorority not a frat), or the campus punchline fraternity Oozma Kappa. And if you want to participate in the campus' Scare Games, you gotta be in a fraternity.

Dot dot dot

This movie ended up being just about everything I wished it would be and more. I don't think it could quite steal Monsters Inc.'s place on my list, but it is a very worthy prequel.

The story is filled with plot elements that you would recognize from just about every college comedy ever made, but I can promise you've never seen them in this way before. There's the twist that they're all monsters, and there's the simple fact that it's being made with Pixar's typical whimsy and style.

And while it will likely not end the way you are expecting, or even hoping, the ending works for me.

That's one of the amazing things about this movie. As the story unfolds, you will recognize the story elements and you know where they're going with it. But they still end up surprising you.

And that's one of the hallmarks of a greatly told story.

But what do you think of the movie?

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Monsters University

For me, this one gets an easy 8 / 10.

Monsters University is rated G and there's pretty much nothing to worry about in this one.


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