Prequels are notoriously bad in my book. Just look at the damage they did to the Star Wars franchise. Never-the-less as ‘Monsters Inc’ so cleanly wrapped up most of their story lines in the first movie there wan’t much else to be done with the characters of Mike and Sully without looking to a prequel. So yes … I had my doubts but as this movie is for the kids and my kids really wanted to see Monsters University I went along with no expectations of anything bordering on the magic of ‘Monsters Inc’.
While this movie isn’t as bold and robust as ‘Monsters Inc’ even I have to admit that for a prequel it is quite good. The digital imagery is as vivid as the first movie and Mike as a child is too cute for words. I was pleasantly surprised by the humour laced throughout the movie to counterbalance the idea of scaring and the likeable storyline. Some people have described Monsters University as ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ meets PIXAR and I find that to be a pretty true representation. As a children’s movie the vulgarity and sexual connotations have been removed but this movie is all about the coming together of two would-be friends (who don’t realise they are going to be friends) and a group of reject underdogs in an effort to gain acceptance in Monster society. You don’t have to have seen ‘Monsters Inc’ to watch this movie as it introduced the characters cleanly from the start, however if you have seen the first movie there are some nice tie-ins of characters to keep your eyes open for.
The story is predictable but laced with laughter and silliness that, in our viewing at least, had all the adults in the audience chuckling along as much as the children. I loved the positive attitude of Mike’s character – a great positive role model for children to see.
How did the kids rate it?
Bethany (8) loved the movie and would happily watch it again. She thought that it was really funny and that Sully’s scary roar was awesome. Mitchell (6) also liked the movie but he didn’t like the child robots and he thought they were too scary. His favourite part of the movie was the first challenge where they had to “avoid spiky things or they would get fat”.
PIXAR haven’t regained their crown of awesomeness in digital storytelling just yet, but Monsters University isn’t a bad effort at all and well worth seeing with kids aged 6 or older. The scare concept may be a little too scary for kids younger than this (depending on the temperament of the child).