Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
If you’re a kid over ten you’re certainly familiar with the story of “Monster’s Inc.” Best friends Mike Wazowski (Crystal) and James “Sulley” Sullivan (Goodman) work together to scare human children while they sleep, harvesting their screams to power their home city of Monstropolis. But did you know that, though they are cousins, Mike and Sulley were anything but friends when they were younger. This secret, and others, are revealed when the boys become college men at Monster’s University.
Directed by Dan Scanlon, whose PIXAR association includes stints working on “Cars,” “Brave” and the short film “Mater and the Ghostlights,” “Monster’s University” is a worthy prequel to what is arguably one of PIXAR’s greatest achievements. The story follows Mike and Sulley as they take different paths to what they hope is the same ending. Both want to be “scarers” and Sulley has a leg up because his father was renowned in the field. Big and hairy, Sulley seems to have his future set for him. Smooth and round, not to mention short, Mike knows he has his work cut out for him. While Sulley is recruited by the school’s top fraternities Mike finds himself in the freshmen dorm, rooming with another potential student, one Randy Boggs (Buscemi). After some preliminary scare classes Randy finds himself in a popular fraternity while Mike is left to join the only house that will have him: Oozema Kappa. Here he learns that not every dream has to come true in order to reach your goals.
What made “Monster’s Inc” such a success was the true and genuine bond between Mike and Sulley. As voiced by Crystal and Goodman they were best friends that you know would remain that way forever. Knowing what the future holds for both of them does not distract from the story here. The film lovingly parodies such popular college comedies as “Animal House” and “Revenge of the Nerds.” Crystal and Goodman lead a great vocal cast which includes returning “Monster’s Inc” alum Steve Buscemi. They are joined by Helen Mirren, Sean Hayes, Alfred Molina and Joel Murray. The script, co-written by Scanlon, Daniel Gerson and Robert Baird, is clever without being cute, which is an incredible achievement for a G rated film. And, as always, the visuals are outstanding.
And while I’m speaking of visuals, make sure you get to the theatre early so you can catch an amazing short film called “The Blue Umbrella.”