“Monsters University” Double Review (Remastered Version)

*DISCLAIMER: This review is a remastered version of an older review I posted in 2013. It will not compete for the Movie of the Year for 2016 as it serves for this marathon’s purpose only.

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PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Monsters University” is voiced by Billy Crystal (Parental Guidance, When Harry Met Sally…), John Goodman (Raising Arizona, Barton Fink), Steve Buscemi (Grown Ups, Fargo [1996]), Helen Mirren (The Queen, The Hundred-Foot Journey), Peter Sohn (Ratatouille, It Starts with Murder!), Joel Murray (Dharma & Greg [TV series], The Artist), Sean Hayes (Will & Grace [TV series], The Bucket List), Dave Foley (A Bug’s Life, NewsRadio [TV series]), Charlie Day (Pacific Rim, The Lego Movie), Nathan Fillion (Firefly [TV series], Castle [TV series]), Julia Sweeney (Pulp Fiction, Stuart Little), Tyler Labine (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation [TV series], Safety Not Guaranteed), John Krasinski (The Office [TV series], Away We Go), and John Ratzenberger (What If…, Grace of God). It is directed by Don Scanlon (Tracy, Mater and the Ghostlight [Video Short]), who also co-wrote it with Daniel Gerson (Big Hero 6, Monsters Inc.) and Robert L. Baird (Breaker High [TV series], Big Hero 6). Set before the events of “Monsters, Inc.,” this movie tells of how Mike (Crystal) and Sully (Goodman) met in college. Enemies from their first encounter with one another, Mike and Sully will eventually have to team up at their college’s Scare Games in order to get back into their scaring program.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

In case you all didn’t see the disclaimer above the movie poster, this is a remastered version of my previous review for “Monsters University.” Back in 2013, when this film came out, I saw it in theaters and reviewed it. The thing is, that was my first year of reviewing. It was a year of short, one-to-three sentence reviews that offered little insight to how good the release was to the reader. I felt upset reading my review for “Monsters University,” so I have decided to make a completely new, updated version of what I thought of it. Don’t worry, the old version is still on my site, in case anyone is curious. You can read it by clicking right here. Because this is a remastered version of an old review, this will not count towards the movie rankings of the month nor the year of 2016. Anyway, on with the review! I was extremely excited to see this film when it initially came out. I loved “Monsters Inc.,” and was ready to dive back into that world. At first, I found the film to be amazing, giving it a fantastic grade of 91%. Watching the movie now has changed my opinion. In its entirety, “Monsters University” is an entertaining flick. I laughed and smiled the whole way through because Pixar knew how to make this story enjoyable. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t live up to its predecessor. Not even close. The reason for that is the result of many things, the main one being that this is a prequel. I have nothing against prequels, but I already know where Mike and Sully end up, so their feud and conflicts in this film prove to be of little substance as I know they’ll be fine. I will admit, a few things surprised me, but they only consisted within the confines of the characters’ present (past?) problems. Besides the weight of that mindset, this story was fun. From a few hilarious moments to the exciting Scare Games, I had a blast in seeing these characters go through college. Sully and Mike were great to see again, and the newcomers were just as interesting, my favorite newbie being Don Carlton (Murray). The voice acting was really good as well as the musical score, with many trumpets and drums to symbolize a college’s tone (thanks again Randy Newman). The animation was by far fantastic, and the best part. I loved viewing the scope of Monsters University, seeing each individual student walk across the campus with grass flattening under their feet. Pixar really exceeded at lighting as the shade trees provide and shadows give a life-like feel to this cartoonish world. Speaking of life-like, the final fifteen minutes had to be the best part of this release. I won’t spoil anything, but it gets touching and serious, unlike the rest of the film. One thing I found to be a great touch is how this plot revolves around Mike. Sure, Sully is in it, but he has nowhere near the involvement and limelight that he did in “Monsters Inc.” I liked seeing this world through a different perspective, and it took some of the weight off of the fact that this is a prequel. In talking about the other issues I found with this, besides the fact that it is a prequel, I will say that this movie’s conflict isn’t nearly as impactful as “Monsters Inc.” I get what Mike is going through, but it isn’t really taken on a serious level as a lot of fun and nonsense is interjecting constantly. It takes until the last fifteen minutes for this conflict to really make its mark. In the end, this is an entertaining release. I absolutely loved the animation as well as the setting, but the fact that this is a prequel and its main conflict doesn’t hit its mark most of the time hindered it from being among Pixar’s greatest. I still recommend people to see this, however, as well as any kid, for it is loads of fun. FINAL SCORE: 85%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

And now, here is my review for the Pixar short film, “The Blue Umbrella”:

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MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “The Blue Umbrella” is a 2013 short film about a blue umbrella looking for a mysterious and lovely red umbrella during rainy weather and in a crowd of several bland, black umbrellas.

THE BLUE UMBRELLA

Something that I didn’t do when reviewing “Monster’s University” was analyze its short film, “The Blue Umbrella.” I’m not surprised I didn’t, however, for I reviewed this movie during my first year as a film critic, so I was not as skilled or descriptive as I am now. Anyway, I re-watched this short earlier today and realized how much I truly love it. Many things come together to make this such a bright and wonderful short, and the best of it all is the animation. My goodness, it is stunning. The blending of real and CGI was so perfect that I couldn’t tell what was fake and what wasn’t. In fact, was there anything real in this or was it all CGI? It’s that great. I loved the tone that this short sets as we are watching the streets of this big city come to life, helping this unique blue umbrella find his way to the only red umbrella in the crowd. This isn’t so much of a romance, but more so of a discovery of love. There weren’t words spoken or any means of kissing/hugging. It was all in the facial expressions contained on the surface of these umbrellas’ faces, as well as the many inanimate objects that help them. The setting and colors of this were wonderful, with many dark tones surrounding our two bright umbrellas and a hard rain that beats down on their heads. It was truly stunning to watch. The music that filled this story was beautiful, and I loved how it gave these little characters life and meaning. It spoke for them, in a way, when they could not. Although it only ran for six and a half minutes, I felt like I was on an adventure. One of compassion, curiosity, and understanding. I found this to be a brilliant work of art and for those who haven’t seen it, I implore you to do so. FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is a clip from the short:

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