Monsters, Inc. introduced the wonderfully simple concept of a world full of monsters, powered by the screams of children. Just like Toy Story, it perfectly tapped into some of the most basic sensibilities of being little, which is why I’ve always thought of it as Pixar’s best film not featuring the adventures of Woody and Buzz.
Monsters University is a welcome follow up, full of all the colour and vibrancy of the last. It’s taken 12 years to get this prequel developed but it introduces its world perfectly to a new, young audience whilst brimming with familiarity for those of us who were small enough the first time around. Monsters University comes up with a fresh story by taking us back to the origins of the friendship between Sulley (voiced by John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal), back in the days when they were competitive college kids studying Scaring and getting up to the antics of youth. It’s got a simple story, always with a strong message while not losing track of its sense of good fun, whilst featuring plenty of gorgeously designed monsters and some stellar animation.
Monsters University is a real return to form from Pixar after the not totally successful Brave and the downright ordinary Cars 2. It’s a family film which guarantees to sell us many toys as it is to put grins on children’s faces. It’s a much more straightforward effort than anything Pixar have done recently, without the melancholy of Toy Story 3 or the boldness of Up or Wall-E, but its basic premise is so strong and its characters so likable that it’s firmly a couple notches above so most other animation.
Review by David Rank
Monsters University is out now in the US on 12th July in the UK. Running time 104 mins. Certificate U (UK).