MONSTERS UNIVERSITY: A REVIEW

Kernel’s Claire and Cody walked the blue carpet to attend the Australian premiere of the much fun and technicoloured MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – without any more blah blahing from me enjoy this fine review from Salty Kernel, CLAIRE SMITH.

Googly-eyed green goofball Mike Wazowski and his hirsute pink and periwinkle pal James P. Sullivan are an unstoppable pair in Pixar’s 2001 tale Monsters Inc. -the film which shows the couple as unlikely pals who work terrifically together like a well-oiled scare-machine. This year’s prequel Monsters University shows the beginnings of Mike and Sully’s learning’s at Scare School where they first meet each other, but their relationship isn’t as functional as you’d expect.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY - a Salty Popcorn Review
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – a Salty Popcorn Review

 

Pixar rolled out the blue carpet for this premiere screening at the Sydney Film Festival and scare-supporters of young and old all skipped, giggled and strolled along it to be greeted with life-size, textured sculptures of the main monsters Mike and Sully standing watch at the photo-board as backing for the paparazzi shots. Cinema ushers sporting MU branded caps escorted us to our seats where popcorn and water (a sensible choice for the younger, easily sugar-overloaded audience members) awaited us.

It seems that there is an algebraic equation that goes on in kids’ minds that goes something like “space at the front of the cinema + time before movie starts = cartwheels”. So we were entertained by a dozen or so acrobatic children as pre-show entertainment before the movie.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Salty Popcorn Review, Sulley Being Scary, High Res Image, Wallpaper
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – a Salty Popcorn Review

 

There’s usually a short film at the beginning of kids flicks, they help to get the kids quiet and focused before the main feature starts. These animated shorts have previously brought us such magic as the Oscar winning “Paperman” at the head of last year’s mega hit Wreck-it Raplh. The short film before Monsters University, titled “The Blue Umbrella” sadly lacked the joy and fun of storytelling that we’ve come to expect in these shorts. Although th animation for Blue Umbrella was unbelievably lifelike (I thought it was a trailer for a live action film when I saw the opening shot) it’s sadly not enough to hold up the lackluster storyline for this short film which mostly focuses on the animation of a blue umbrella being blown about in the wind in search of a red umbrella – a little dull compared to other Pixar shorts we’ve seen.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY - a Salty Popcorn Review
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – a Salty Popcorn Review

 

Fortunately though, the main event of Monsters University was anything but lackluster. The animation is lifelike while still being larger than life, the voice acting is perfectly suited to the characters demeanors and the jokes are a mile a minute.

Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers) returns as the voice for the singular-ocular-scare-practitioner Mike Wazowski and John Goodman (Roseanne, The Big Lebowski) is back voicing the hairy-scary Sully. The characters have been lightly “youthened” in their design so as to appear as fitter, more adolescent versions of their adult selves that we meet in Monsters Inc. Goodman and Crystal have added a bit more zing and pep to their vocal performance to reflect their new and youthful appearance. It’s really fun to spot the characters we remember from the first film and see their gawky awkward stylings. Its a similar feeling to looking through old high-school photos of yourself and your friends, a little embarrassing but very heartwarming.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Salty Popcorn Review, Sulley Being Scary, High Res Image, Wallpaper
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – a Salty Popcorn Review

 

Pixar have clearly done their research on the lifestyle associated with being a university student, and capture the experience perfectly in Monsters University – from O-Week signups to campus clubs, to over-enthusiastic R.A’s – I actually got a little nostalgic from watching it! I’d love to be a fly on the wall during a think tank for the Pixar team – their jokes, references and comic relief are unrelenting and spot on.

Separated into a distinct set of three acts, the film is perfectly paced to keep the younger audience both amused and involved in the story-line. I’ve long considered myself an aficionado of animated features, and I’m a massive fan-girl of Disney’s animated musicals of the 80’s and 90’s. BUT (and this is a big but…teehee) I do believe Disney has the potential to set us poor girls up with unrealistic expectations of what lies ahead in life. How refreshing it is, then to see a film of this status and caliber having such important messages on compromise in the face of failure.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY - a Salty Popcorn Review
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – a Salty Popcorn Review

 

I neither confirm nor deny that one particularly pivotal scene in the midst of the 110minute runtime caused a localized raincloud to form over my eyeballs. I wasn’t teary, I just got some Salty Popcorn in my eyes (see what I did there?).

Monsters University is a delight to watch; it’s touching, funny and fun. If the animated short Blue Umbrella was a little more up to scratch, this would be another perfect score, but as it stands, I give Blue Umbrella / Monsters University a solid four and a half pops. Monsters University is hitting Australian screens on June 20th – only 6 more sleeps.

KERNEL CLAIRE’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

 

SALTY’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

 

KERNEL CODY’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

 

KERNEL BEN’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops