The past few years Pixar films just haven't been doing it for me. The last good one that was released was "Toy Story 3" in 2010. I saw about five minutes of "Cars 2" and knew I wasn't going to like it, especially having not liked "Cars." Then "Brave" came along, and while it's decent, it's not nearly up to snuff with other entries in the Pixar canon. But it looks like things are changing. "Monsters University," a sequel to what is undoubtedly my favorite Pixar film, has shown us the majesty that can displayed on screen when story and character meet.
As people can probably tell from the trailers, "Monsters University" acts a prequel to "Monsters, Inc." and tells the story of how monsters Mike and Sullivan (Sully) first met. Mike has always dreamed of being a scarer ever since he was a little monster and to make that dream possible, he attends Monsters University. There he meets Sullivan, a monster whose father has left large paws for him to fill. While the relationship between Mike and Sullivan does not start out well, they soon start to realize that if they want to their dreams to come true, they're going to have to work together.
"Monsters University" has to be the funniest Pixar film I've seen in quite some time, perhaps even since the original. And it's Pixar doing what it does best: showing great attention to detail. Whether it's Mike as a child writing in a book that's he a scary dude or a student's mom taking a picture and then rolling the film forward, making a clicking sound that I haven't heard since the digital camera was released, the jokes are great and, like most Pixar films, will appeal to both adults and children alike. The secondary characters are all a welcome addition, also.
The one problem I have with the film, and it's a minor, nit-picky one, is that in the original it was stated that Mike and Sullivan have known each other since the fourth grade, which is shown to not be the case in the prequel. It's not a huge issue, but as a great appreciator of continuity, it bothers me.
For fans of the original, there are plenty of callbacks to events and characters. The prequel is able to give a motivation to characters' actions in the first film in a delightful manner that will make fans smile.
"Monsters University" also did another thing:?it surprised me with its ending. I?knew where these characters would eventually end up, but I?didn't expect how they'd get there. I don't want to get into spoiler territory here, but it's definitely a comment on higher education. It's a gutsy move to make in a "kid's" film, but one I agree with.
Ultimately, it was nice just to be able to spend some more time with these characters again. But "Monsters University" is much more than that. It has laughs, it has a great story and it has a lot of heart.