Director: Dan Scanlon
The sequel to 2001’s Monster’s Inc. is definitely a feast for the eyes. The animation is great and there’s some excellent use of color. There are dozens, if not hundreds of creative monster designs, sure to delight children. The attention to detail is amazing, as usual for Pixar. The movie doesn't talk down to kids and there are plenty of gags throughout to be enjoyed by adults as well.
The voice acting is also top-notch in the story of how Sullivan (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) meet in college. Goodman and Crystal easily get back into their roles; their rapport is the crux of Monsters University. At first Sully and Mike clash and develop a competition, but of course become friends by the end.
The somewhat predictable plot involves them getting kicked out of the School of Scaring and having to get first place at the “Scare Games” in order to get back in. The film utilizes many college movie clichés including the arrogant fraternity member, voiced by Nathan Fillion. Helen Mirren also stands out as the fittingly named Dean Hardscrabble. The tropes seem straight out of 80s college flicks like Revenge of the Nerds.
Many have claimed that Pixar needed a critical hit after disappointing films such as Cars 2 and Brave. Monsters University mostly succeeds on that level, but doesn't quite reach the heights of the best Pixar movies. There were a few parts that were a bit slow or bland, and you definitely get the feeling that they were playing it safe with this one.
There are some good moments, but it doesn't quite have the heart as some of their other releases. Don’t go into it expecting the creativity of the first film, but Monsters University is a solidly entertaining movie for all ages.