Reviving a popular film franchise after a decade normally results in movies that offend the original fans and fail to attract new ones (we’re looking at you, Spielberg and Lucas!), but one company that is consistently an exception to the rule is Pixar, with Cars 2 being more action packed and fun than the original and each consecutive Toy Story being more heartrending than the last.
Hoping to continue their decades long winning-streak is the newest installment in the Monsters Inc. universe, Monsters University. With everything being tied up nice and tightly at the end of the original film, it may seem superfluous to somehow squeeze out a sequel. So in order to leave the “happy ever after” ending of the original untarnished (and in order to bring back Steve Buscemi’s awesomely creepy Randy), the new film is actually a prequel, set in the college years of Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman). Helen Mirren also puts in a solid performance as Dean Hardsrabble, with a “she’s mean, but I bet she’s nice deep-down” role.
In the 2001 movie (that’s right, it was 12 years ago!), Mike and Sully were best of friends, and it was the threat of this friendship ending that acted as the film’s main conflict. But they were not always so close, as this prequel shows the jock-like temperament of the gigantic, fluffy frightener clashes with the studious, geeky funnyman. Both being attention seekers in their own right, fighting for the top spot at the school sparks the flames of competition between these professional scarers.
Setting the film at a university is a stroke of pure genius, because not only is the original narrative unscathed, but it also allows for a little silliness to attract a new, young audience. With the young watchers of the last film now hitting collegeage, they can indulge in a double dose of nostalgia and relatable college-humor. Still more “Pixar” than “Disney”, the film will no doubt be popular with a very wide demographic.
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