Thursday, November 7, 2013

Monsters University (2013)     
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren

Director: Dan Scanlon

Synopsis: Monsters University is a computer-animated film produced by Disney and Pixar that the whole family can enjoy. It is a fun-filled film directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae that will take a family through the fun, exciting, and challenging adventures of famous characters “Mike” and “Sully’s” college life. Mike, who is smart, knows all the basics of scaring, and is good with “school” is ready to take on the scare program at Monsters University, while Sully is ready to take on the scare program a little differently. He is confident, scary, and good at “scaring” children, but doesn’t know too much about the “books.” Both Mike and Sully face hard challenges in the scare program and are forced to prove their abilities through the scare games with the help of their new fraternity team Oozma Kappa. Together through the challenges of the scare games, they learn that working together and putting their own unique abilities together can help accomplish more than they ever dreamed. Mike and Sully realize that they work best together.

Reviewer’s Rating: 4/5 Reels


Monsters University (2013) is a “prequel” to Monsters Inc. (2001). It is a fun-filled movie about the monsters-Mike-played by Billy Crystal, and Sully’s-played by John Goodman, past. It shows a heartfelt story of how Mike and Sully began as a team, and other characters as well-including Randal who is a mean monster in Monsters Inc. but was first Mike’s roommate and friend. Monsters University is a fun movie that takes you into the Monsters World again, but this time into the past before Mike and Sully were ever scarers.

Both Billy Crystal and John Goodman did a great job at portraying the characters of Mike and Sully. Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, and all the other actors did a great job as well. The actors portrayed college students very well with a lot of humor. The animators did an outstanding job at portraying an actual university and were very creative by adding college clubs, dorm life, and college events into the movie! The story line is accomplished very well and flows throughout the movie with a lot of added comedy that the whole family will enjoy. The fun fraternity Mike and Sully are apart of, called “Oozma Kappa,” adds a lot of fun humor into the movie as well. We meet fun characters through this fraternity who also go along the journey of becoming scarers.

Monsters University goes into the past college experiences of the same fun-filled characters we see in Monsters Inc. This time, we see “how it all started.” Mike Wazowski has always dreamed of going to Monsters University and works very hard to get there. We see him in his past as a little monster being inspired to one day go to Monsters University as a “scare student,” which he ends up fulfilling. Sully is a “Sullivan” and has come to Monsters University bearing his family’s name. His dad is a famous scare student among the school and everything seems to be easy for him leading up into entering Monsters University.

Both Mike and Sully start immediately into the scare program and have one semester to fully prepare for their final exam that includes scaring a fake child in a screen-simulator. This will determine if they will continue in the scare program or not. Mike studies hard, while Sully plays hard. Mike isn’t exactly the scariest monster around, while Sully scares everyone in class the first day of school. Final Exam day arrives and both Mike and Sully have been competing with each other the whole semester. Their competition gets out of hand on exam day, causing an accident to happen that gets the head of the program-Hardscrabble, very upset. Hardscrabble decides to test Mike and Sully right then and there after the accident-not giving Mike the proper chance of showing all that he worked hard for by giving him a proper exam. Sully goes first and because he didn’t study, he only knows one way to scare. He responds to the question with his one roar and fails because it wasn’t the proper way to respond to the question. He fails out of the program. Mike is next and before he is given a chance to finish his roar, Hardscrabble fails him, tells him he is not scary and never will be, and takes him out of the program.

Both Mike and Sully are upset at the exam and each other. Mike feels mistreated because of his size and wants to prove to the whole scare program that he is scary! He decides to join the scare games with a not so scary fraternity group called Oozma Kappa who is the only fraternity that is willing to work with Mike because they are nice, non-scary monsters. Sully ends up joining the team as well after Mike makes a deal with Hardscrabble that says “if he wins the scare games, she must allow everyone in his group into the scare program, and if he loses, he will leave Monsters University.”

Through Mike’s training, the Oozma Kappa team works hard to train for the scare games. Mike and Sully clash because Sully doesn’t work hard like the rest of Oozma Kappa because he doesn’t respect non-scary monsters. To encourage his team, after being ridiculed by the whole university for being in the scare games and not being scary, Mike takes his team to Monsters Inc. for a little field trip. When they all look inside Monsters Inc., they find all sorts of different monsters-just like them. They all don’t look the same. Some are small, some are big, some are young, and some are old. Oozma Kappa starts to believe in themselves, Sully becomes humbled, and both Mike and Sully apologize to each other, which starts the beginning of a life-long friendship. At this point, the whole team works together and surprises everyone by becoming one of the last two teams in the scare games.

The final round comes and this round consists of the fake child in the screen-simulator, just like the final exam in the scare program. Sully becomes nervous for Mike and tries to help him become scarier the night before. The game begins and everyone is doing great in Oozma Kappa, and Mike is given the last turn on their team. Surprisingly, he has the highest scare results and the Oozma Kappa team wins! After the game, Mike is thrilled and goes back to the screen-simulator to reflect on what happened in the game, but sadly finds a trigger that has his settings on the screen-simulator set to “easy,” while everyone else had settings of “hard.” This shows Mike that Sully cheated for him so Mike wouldn’t embarrass himself or the team. Mike is outraged and decides to show himself and everyone else that he is scary by going through a forbidden area-a real child’s door, so he can scare a child. When he enters the child’s room, he tries to scare the child, but fails to do so, causing her to laugh instead. Little did Mike know that he entered a cabin full of little girls. Sully comes to save Mike from the children and when he finds him, Mike is sad and feels discouraged. Sully confesses that even though he is “scary,” he is always “terrified” inside. Sully encourages Mike and tells him that he is a great monster and just needs to be himself and mike encourages Sully and tells him the same thing. When they return to the door to come back to Monsters University, they find that the door has been shut off and they can’t return home. This causes Mike and Sully to come up with a plan to scare everyone in the cabin so much that they could cause enough scream to power up the door once again, which they end up doing by using Mike’s brains and Sully’s scare talent. They start acting as a team and find out that together, they can be better. They end up producing enough scream and enter the University, surprising Hardscrabble.

Both Mike and Sully are expelled for what happened, but the head of the scare program respects both Mike and Sully and wishes them the best. Mike and Sully don’t quit giving up their dream of being a scarer and decide to start working in the Mail room at Monsters Inc. to maybe one day work up into becoming “scarers.”  Together, they are invincible.

Monsters University is a well-produced movie that the whole family will enjoy. The movie has a great moral story of being yourself and not letting what people say affect what you do. I highly recommend this movie. 

By Tori Caplinger

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Monster's University was definitely family friendly - a comedy that many people (children and adults) will enjoy. I was only a little disappointed at the story line. I had hoped the story would center around the relationship between Mike and Sully, but the story seems to be all about MIke and him proving himself to the community. However, I agree that it is entertaining and a lot of fun. I liked how you brought out the moral of the story too - a moral that is always applicable to every generation.

  2. Selena( Qingxia) ChenThursday, November 14, 2013

    Monsters University was a great movie to watch with family or friends. This movie reminded me that nothing is impossible if you try hard. For example, at the beginning, no one in Monsters University thought that Mike was a scarer and believed that he would never become a scarer. However, Mike did not give up. He worked more hard than others because he believed that he would becoming a scarer monster. This example also related to what you said that "being yourself and no letting what people say affect what you do."


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