2013's Most Anticipated: Monsters University

25. Monsters University (PG) - Runtime: 104 minutes
Voiced by: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren
Director: Dan Scanlon
Writers: Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Dan Scanlon

I'm not going to spend too much time on this one. What is there to say? It's Pixar - their track record is pretty solid. I even enjoyed Cars 2, their most reviled film to date. And this is only their third franchise to get the sequel treatment and for the most part, they make it worthwhile. I'm not saying Monsters University is bad, it's just not exceptional - which is getting harder and harder for Pixar to out-do themselves every year.

MU takes place before the first movie - as we see both Mike and Sully become the legends that we find them in the first movie. Mike is not a real scare master, but he's smart and gets himself a chance to become a real, professional scarer while Sully gets by on his good looks (I think?!? That's pretty strange - more like his good scares, I guess. I mean, I'm not one to judge a monster on their looks, but if I had to - Sully would be, like, the Rob Lowe of monsters in this little universe) and his famous scare-tastic family name. It's a typical odd-couple story - both Mike and Sully hate each other but then grow to become fast friends and learn important life lessons. Done and done.

The biggest problem is not that I didn't enjoy myself during the movie, but just that I found myself asking was it all really necessary? I mean, the story just seemed so by-the-book and un-extraordinary. If only Pixar had taken the talent and energy to create something entirely new, but instead it just seems, well, rather bland. There's a lot of typical college-type humor and some good monster-related jokes, but overall - I was not completely blown away. Which speaks volumes as to how much Pixar has created a very high standard that something pretty good comes across as blah. It seems at this point Pixar is content with the status quo. Which is fine - I'm just not going to expect much in the way of sequels from them any more.

Monsters University is a good film. It's not raising the bar and it's certainly not lowering it. But will you fall in love with all the other characters in the movie? Probably not, except for maybe Squishy's mom (gotta love a mom who listens to death metal). It's worth seeing but maybe just a rental.

Rating: Rent It!

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