Monsters University is to the Monsters movie franchise what Godfather II was to the Godfather franchise. Just like Godfather II showed us the early years of Vito Corleone and his rise to the top of the most powerful mob family in New York, Monsters University shows us the early years of Mike and Sulley from their humble beginnings at the prestigious university, learning the tricks that would one day make them two of the top scarers in Monstropolis. Although not the best of friends when they first meet, Mike and Sulley overcome their differences and pair up with a group of misfits to compete in the annual Scare Games. This is the end of the line for the whole gang. They must win the Scare Games or face being banned from the “Scarers” program and perhaps never fullfilling their dreams of becoming professional scarers. It’s really scary business, but it all pays off in the end for one and all.
I couldn’t think of two more perfect voices for the characters they respresent than Billy Crystal as the high-strung Mike Wazowski and John Goodman as the cool and calm James P. “Sulley” Sullivan. As with most Pixar movies, it is brilliantly voiced, featuring a host of other characters voiced by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Sean Hayes, Alfred Molina, John Krasinski and many more. Of course, John Ratzenberger makes his mandatory appearance.
For me, a Pixar movie (or any animated movie for that matter) comes down to three things. Was it funny? Was it entertaining? And is it good for the kids? For Monsters University, I have to say it came through with a resounding “yes!” on all three fronts. I wouldn’t say that I was falling out of my chair laughing throughout the movie, but it had its moments that made me laugh out loud. The story was engaging and moved along quickly, and the main characters are likeable enough to keep you interested throughout. And the theatre where I watched the movie was full of kids that walked out with big smiles on their little faces, so I am confident they were all entertained during the perfectly timed 90-minute running time. I really think kids movies have to be limited to that time, otherwise the little ones start crawling up the walls.
Overall, I have no problem recommending Monsters University. It’s on par with the first movie and, although comparing it to The Godfather might be a bit of a stretch, it holds its own and makes for an enjoyable 90 minutes in the theatre during these hot summer days. (8.5 out of 10)