Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
|Featuring:||Nathan Fillion … Johnny Worthington (voice)
John Goodman … James P. Sullivan (voice)
Steve Buscemi … Randall Boggs (voice)
John Krasinski … Frank McCay (voice)
Aubrey Plaza … Claire Wheeler (voice)
Helen Mirren … Dean Hardscrabble (voice)
Billy Crystal … Mike Wazowski (voice)
Charlie Day … Art (voice)
Bonnie Hunt … Karen Graves (voice)
Alfred Molina … Professor Knight (voice)
Dave Foley … Terry Perry (voice)
Sean Hayes … Terri Perry (voice)
|Producer:||Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
John Lasseter … executive producer
Kori Rae … producer
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios|
Sometimes to understand a relationship, one needs to see how it began. Such is the case with Mike and Sully. We met these two lovable monsters in “Monsters, Inc.”. However, in “Monsters University” (the prequel), we travel back to the beginning, before they were friends and learn how these 2 unlikely friends became a team.
Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is in elementary school at the onset of the movie. He attends a field trip to Monsters, Inc. (the energy company) and is instantly hooked. He now knows he will be a “scarer” when he grows up. Flash forward to Mike’s first day at Monsters University. He has planned for this his whole life. His roommate is Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), and this is a tamer, slightly shy Randall. When Mike meets James P. Sullivan (John Goodman), they are instant rivals. Sully goes by Jimmy in his younger days. He has grown up knowing he would be a scarer. He is big, hairy and can roar like no other. He comes from a family of scarers, and they are the best. Jimmy thinks he can get by on his talent alone.
At the end of first semester, Mike gets an “A,” but is kicked out of the scarer program. Sully gets a “C,” and he is also kicked out. When they return after the break, both monsters are in a class about building canisters. Mike decides to enter the Scare Games, and then Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) will have to let him back in the scarer program. He teams up with the Oozma Kappa (OKAY) fraternity, but they still need one more on their team. Of course, Jimmy wants to be on the team, so he too can have a chance at getting back in the program. The Scare Competition, and what follows, makes Mike and Sully more than a team; they become best friends.
Objectionable Content: If you have seen the first Monsters movie, you should already be prepared for the scare factor in this movie. I did not see it in 3D, and I would venture to say that will add to the fright for some children. There is a scene where a scare canister shoots around an auditorium, and, even without the 3D, it could be frightening. Dean Hardscrabble is a winged creature, and she is meant to be scary when she spreads her wings and flies. She is a dark creature, and, when she appears on the screen, the tone is also dark and foreboding. There are numerous scenes where things happen that you don’t expect, like the cute cheerleaders’ flash creepy glowing eyes.
This is a college campus. There are frat parties, initiations, hazing, cheerleaders, etc. However, this is done in true Disney-style. At the frat party, the OKAY team is the victim of hazing. Colorful paint is dropped on them, followed by glitter and finally stuffed animals. The monsters take an oath during an initiation.
As far as language goes, this is one of the cleanest movies I have seen. There may have been some phrases uttered that were supposed to be swearing equivalents. Someone mentions being a New Age Philosophy major. There is also a Toxicity Challenge: Human Children are Toxic. A monster says “Give me some sugar” to a member of the opposite sex, as they prepare to kiss.
The most blatantly objectionable content is the total disregard for rules. Sully skirts by without doing homework, by cheating and lying. The OKAY fraternity breaks into Monsters, Inc. using wire cutters to get past the chain link fence. When caught, they run from the guards and jump into the getaway car.
There is a lot to be learned from these characters about friendship and perseverance. This is a typical college campus where everyone loves the jocks and the cheerleaders, and the geeks are the loners. Mike and Sully learn that in true friendship you stick together. They also learn that we need each other. Mike thinks his smarts and persistence can make him a great scarer, and Sully believes that his looks and raw talent can do the same. It takes both of them working together to fulfill their purpose in life. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This is a lesson all of us can benefit from.
While I fully expect critics to pick apart this movie, I fully enjoyed it. As stated previously, I think it will be scary for some younger children, and my advice is to preview before taking your child under the age of 7. I had very low expectations going into the movie, and, from the previews, I expected more crude jokes and college humor. Disney/Pixar has proved once again that they can deliver a prequel that the family will love.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Mild to none
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.