by Adam Riske
Not to harp on a point I’ve already made in last week’s Riske Business, but is it good enough for Pixar to just be cute? The studio has made most of the seminal animated movies of the last 18 years. Unfortunately with the bar set so high, they are at the unique disadvantage of having every movie that’s not a classic be seen as a disappointment. I will say, though, that Monsters University is many steps above Cars 2 and Brave and probably one of the best prequels ever made (which is a backhanded compliment).
The plot in brief: Mike and Sully (voiced by John Goodman) enter their first year at Monsters University, where they are not friends at first but rather bitter rivals. Mike is a bookish overachiever and Sully is a spoiled monster living off of his family’s respected name. The movie follows Mike and Sully as they navigate the fraternity system and the all-important Scare Games, a series of events to crown the scariest fraternity on campus. Mike and Sully find themselves on a team with the least intimidating fraternity on campus, Oozma Kappa. Will Mike and Sully be able to rally the troops to win the Scare Games? Can Mike and Sully overcome their differences with each other and become friends?
I didn’t care for the dean (voiced by Helen Mirren), who is one heavy too many. She’s the headmaster of the scare school and just a completely unlikable and unnecessary foil. Is the college experience not intimidating enough without some dragon threatening to expel you for EVERY FREAKING DISCRETION? Also, with Mike and Sully being friends in Monsters Inc., why not have them start out as friends in Monsters University? What’s the point of having them dislike each other only to later grow into being friends? It is forced drama and a waste of time. I think the filmmakers missed some opportunities by not having them start out as friends and get into some adventures together.
With that being said, give Monsters University a shot and if you’re about to go to college and want to go Greek. Learn from me and join up with the nice guys and not the cool guys. You’ll be happier in the long run.
Maybe I will remember this movie by summer’s end.