Monsters Inc came out when I was 6. I remember seeing it at the cinema and I remember crying at the end (and if you didn't you're dead inside!). It had a massive affect on me as a child and I still love it to this day. It's an outstanding piece of cinema, which can be loved by both adults and children.
12 years later and the prequel, Monsters University, comes out. My 17 year old self is reunited with Mike, Sully and Randall in a prequel about how Mike and Sully first met at university and how they didn't particularly like each other in the beginning.
The nostalgic element of the film is perhaps the most well written.The films opening, an infant Mike going on a school trip to Monsters Incorporated, nails it completely. We see Mike's eye sparkle at the scare floor just as my six year old self did in Monsters Inc. We're finally back in the universe. Every twist and turn reveals a huge or tiny explanation to the events and habits of the characters that I previously saw in the first film. It's a very well written piece and answers pretty much everything that needs to be answered including
Monsters University is classically Pixar. It's funny, it's heartwarming, it's written well and the animation is fantastic. However, I still felt somewhat underwhelmed after coming out of it. There was just something missing from it, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
It's definitely not as good as Monsters Inc. Of course this is no bad thing. As I said, Monsters Inc is a masterpiece, but I just feel that MU is superfluous. Sure, it answers questions about how Mike and Sully's friendship came about, but do we really need to know? I think that's what my problem with this is - it doesn't add anything to Monsters Inc and it doesn't take anything away. It's pointless, in the nicest possible way.
The fact that there's no real villain in the film, too, makes the balance of the film not quite right. Monsters Inc had Randall and everyone hated Randall, he was a great villain. This time round, Randall is a geeky and shy nerd and massively underused. Some would say that Dean Hardscrabble was the villain, but is a headteacher really a villain? The same goes for the jocks in the film, it's just cliche.
The new characters of the film are also pretty weak. Pixar did wonders in Toy Story 3 by bringing in Pricklepants, Lotso, Big Baby etc but in this, none of them are memorable.
But don't get me wrong, I don't hate this film. In fact, I quite enjoyed it, it's just not needed, which disappoints me. I think that if this had nothing to do with Monsters Inc I would have enjoyed this film much more, but it does and I felt underwhelmed.
MU is charming, heartwarming, funny and has Pixar written all over it, but it's just not needed.