Monsters University— A Diploma in Scary

It is axiomatic that monsters are supposed to be scary. They are not supposed to be cute, cuddly, adorable, and the like. But now the truth can be revealed. Monsters are not inherently scary— they have to go to college to become scary! Who knew!! In the long awaited sequel to Monsters Inc. Disney Pixar has once again given us a children’s tale that adults can enjoy as well, especially if the adults were never ‘in with the in crowd’ when they went to college.

By now the formula for these Pixar films is clear— there will be a short subject followed by the feature film. Altogether we got one hour and thirty five minutes of fun which is just about the max that the attention spans of most kids these days can manage. This film is G rated, and not truly scary, which is something of an irony since that is the subject matter of the film. Never mind, it is fun, although it lacks some of the punchy one liner kind of humor of Monsters Inc.

What is there to like about this film? First of all it is not a formulaic sequel, which is more than can be said for the Disney ‘Planes’ movie (a Cars knock off), or the Turbo film (yet another story that resolves with a ridiculous and predictable race grand conclusion. Go rent Talledega Nights instead).

This movie actually has a plot, and two familiar characters Mike (Billy Crystal playing the little green guy who is a cyclops), and Sullivan (John Goodman playing the big blue furry guy roommate— obviously type casting in both cases).

Monster University, as it turns out, is something like Hogwarts only with fraternities, and without Maggie Smith (there is a Dean named Ms. Hardscrabble who seems to be a caterpillar with bat wings who plays a similar part). The problem of course for Mike is… he’s smart, but frankly not really scary, no matter how hard he might try. How then is he to get a degree at Monsters University, or will he be disqualified? You’ll have to see the film to find out.

Word to the wise….this is yet another movie where I would say don’t waste your money on the 3D, 2D works just fine.

Of the plethora of children’s films this summer only two really stand out as creative, interesting, and original, and thus worth your dollar— Despicable Me 2, and Monsters University.

P.S. Oh yes, the short subject about the trials and tribulations of a blue umbrella, while not up to the standard of previous Pixar short subjects, is nonetheless cute. Who knew umbrellas could fall in love???

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