With Pixar’s “Monsters University,” the company has its heart in the right place once again, except it’s in a different spot this time around. With their prequel, Pixar creates a respectable and fun companion piece to “Monsters, Inc.” Pixar’s dabbling in to the ever heinous prequel works as a part of the mythology of Sullie and Mike Wazowksi and how they became companions. If Mike isn’t a scarer why does he work at Monsters, Inc? And how did Sullivan become such a great scarer? It’s because of the bond that the pair share; and the prequel gives us a wider back story on the core characters of the monsters series.
This time, Pixar goes backward and explores the story of Mike Wazowski and how he dealt with being something of an outcast his entire life. This time around the movie is set on the growing relationship between Mike and his pals, with rarely a human to be found until the very climax. Monsteropolis gets a larger centerpiece with much more ideas and explorations in to its inner workings. There are big monsters, small monsters, and monsters that aren’t necessarily scary. The latter portion happens to fall in to Mike Wasowski’s category as he dreams of being a scarer, but is told constantly that he isn’t scary.
When he arrives to Monster University as a teenager, he finds that the challenges are against him. There’s a status quo and despite his knowledge of scaring, he can’t possibly muster up the will to terrify any normal child. When he and Sullivan are kicked out of the scaring course for wrecking a priceless artifact during their rivalry, they agree to team up and enter the Scare Games. A la “Revenge of the Nerds,” Wazowski builds his own fraternity of monsters to compete in the games and prove his worth. Winning the competition will grant Mike and Sullie access in to the program once more. “Monsters University” is a lot softer edged this time around, opting for a more juvenile entry that aims for kids more than family overall.
Much of the film involves Mike trying to prove he can rise above mediocre, all the while learning that he has other techniques that can guide him in his world. As with all Pixar films, “Monsters University” garners a slew of wonderful characters and a colorful cast to play them, but most exciting is John Goodman and Billy Crystal back in their original roles as the monstrous buddies. There’s also some great voice work by Aubrey Plaza, Tyler Labine, Nathan Fillion, and Helen Mirren respectively. “Monsters University” is an adorable and entertaining Pixar installment. It doesn’t stack up to the original, but it’s a very worthy follow up with immense replay value, when all is said and done.