Sunday 14 July 2013

Review: Monsters University (2D)

World of Blackout Film Review

Monsters University Poster

Monsters University (2D)
Cert: U / 110 mins / Dir. Dan Scanlon

So if you were going to produce what many would see as an unnecessary sequel to what is generally considered to be a modern classic… I mean if you absolutely had to… how would you avoid re-hashing the ideas that made the first movie so great and undoing any resolution which made it such a satisfying story?

You'd make a film like Monsters University. Win.

By engineering a prequel which alludes to (but isn't held back by) the plot points of the first movie, Pixar have given themselves the blank slate needed to make the movie work at a story-level. The plot itself isn't outstanding in any way (in fact it occurred to me that structurally, it's essentially an animated version of The Internship), but it's carried out with such warmth and respect to the original movie that it doesn't matter.

The chemistry between Billy Crystal and John Goodman is the heart of the film, and their enjoyment really shines through their performances. The rest of the voice-cast support ably, and with one exception*1 the older members of the audience will be able to enjoy the characters without voice-spotting any exaggerated performances. With M.U., Pixar have demonstrated that a follow-up movie doesn't have to be straight-to-DVD fodder.

The real high-point, for me, is the animation. There's a nice transition early on, between the world of child-Mike Wazowski, with its boosted colour-palette and slightly stylised props, and teenager-Mike, which looks like its been filmed on an actual set. Pixar really have out-done themselves; the environments are rendered to a photo-realistic level that'll be hard to top, even so far as subtly altering the colours for the change of seasons without spelling out "It's winter!" to the audience. The only down-side is that I now want to see a re-rendered version of Monsters Inc.

Performance times meant that Mrs Blackout and I saw this in 2D; I'll definitely be giving it another watch to see how the 3D's been applied.

Monsters University is another triumph for Pixar, proving once again that U-rated films can be funny, engaging and relevant.

More like this, please.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Yes. Although the contents of that trailer aren't in the film. Yeah, I don't quite understand either.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
For the quality of animation if nothing else, cinema.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
YES! And in a film about monsters and scaring, it's pretty awesome to see it used in a scene with a someone polishing a floor.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
The trailer for Disney's upcoming Planes features More Human Than Human by White Zombie.
What the hell has happened to this world? Is nothing sacred?

*1 To address the elephant in the room, Helen Mirren seems to be taking over Judi Dench's role of 'being wheeled out to play herself with little-to-no variation'. Her presence isn't unwelcome, but it's starting to get a bit samey.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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