Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) are legends in at Monsters Incorporated. The dream scream team wasn’t always legendary. In fact, they weren’t even always friends. Monsters University answers the questions of how this dynamic duo came together. As the title suggests, they meet at college. For Mike, college is a dream come true and just the next step on his life plan. For Sulley, college is nothing special. He comes from a famous family and his dad is already a well known scarer. He’s riding on coattails and hasn’t got a care in the world… until they are forced to team up in a desperate attempt to remain at Monsters University.
Picture & Sound:
Monsters University looks and sounds fantastic. This comes as no surprise because it is a Pixar film. The colors were vibrant. The picture was crystal clear. The sound was equally dynamic. I don’t remember having any complaints about the original Monsters Inc., but a quick glance back at the animation of the original versus the animation of today really does impress. Randy Newman’s soundtrack just add to a very enjoyable viewing experience that feels like a Pixar film.
There was a really nice collection of bonus features included with Monsters University. I sat and watched through all of them in one sitting and found myself incredibly pleased by what was covered. One thing to note is that they are on a separate disc so… keep that in mind rather than getting frustrated and THEN looking into the case.
Here’s the collection of bonus features:
- Blue Umbrella – This is the short that accompanied Monsters University when it was released in theaters. It isn’t Pixar’s best short but it is charming and enjoyable.
- Audio Commentary – This commentary with director Dan Scanlon, producer Koria Rae, and story supervisor Kelsey Mann, is a traditional audio commentary. It has good information and you do realize how special it is to work at Pixar as listening to the commentary.
- Campus Life – You might think this is a look at Monsters University but really it is a look at the Pixar campus as they make Monsters University. It is a wonderfully enjoyable feature that takes a look at the making of the movie in a unique way.
- Story School – A look at how the story of the movie is built, rebuilt, and then rebuilt again as they try to streamline the movie and always add more humor.
- Scare Games – They may seem like they were just in the movie but the team at Pixar had their own competition. This was hilarious.
- Monthropology – Take a look at the five varieties of monsters and how the population of the Monsters world was created.
- Welcome to MU – The Monsters University campus takes inspiration from many different colleges. This feature looks into what went into creating a campus for monsters to inhabit.
- Music Appreciation – A look at the partnership between director Dan Scanlon and composer Randy Newman and how the soundtrack came out of that collaboration. This was quite interesting and fun to watch Newman at work.
- Scare Tactics – A look at what the animators went through to create the different scare tactics.
- Color and Light – A look at how some of the color and light for each scene is created and decided upon. It was interesting to see this as quite often it is something that gets taken for granted.
- Paths to Pixar: MU Edition – Those who work at Pixar didn’t just go to school and then end up at Pixar. There were some really complicated and twisted journeys to pursuing the dream of working at Pixar. This was incredibly interesting and inspirational… especially for those who want to pursue a career in the industry.
- Furry Monsters: A Technical Retrospective – Each piece of hair on a furry monster has to be animated. This takes a look at that massive process.
- Deleted Scenes – Four deleted scenes that are introduced by director Dan Scanlon. These were interesting but clearly did need to be cut.
- Promo Picks – A look at the marking for Monsters University.
- Set Flythroughs – This was a wonderful look at the world created for Monsters University as the camera flies through four different sets utilized in Monsters University.
- Easter Egg – I’ll leave it up to you to find that one.
Monsters University isn’t at the top of the list for best Pixar films ever made. It isn’t at the bottom of the list either. It is an enjoyable movie that I found myself enjoying even more the second time I watched it. The good thing about it is that it isn’t exactly what is expected. It does take some paths that aren’t the predictable ones. It has a lot of humor that really does entertain. I think where it probably falls short is doesn’t have the Boo moment. In Monsters Inc. Boo brings a level of warmth and heart that melts the hardest hart. There isn’t that same level of emotional connection in this movie. That being said, I would definitely add it to my collection as it really is a good movie. And therein lies the Pixar problem, when they put out so many good movies it is hard not to be overly critical about the ones that aren’t out of the park home runs. The expectations are just so much higher. Compare this to other animated features and it is fantastic. Compare it to other Pixar movies and it comes in the middle of the pack… not a bad place to be. Definitely go out and get this one as I do give it a hearty hat tip.