Saturday, 20 July 2013

#59 MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Directed by Dan Scanton. Voice talents lead by: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren. Running time: 103 minutes.

A prequel to the vastly entertaining and original Monsters Inc. As a small ball, Mike dreams of going to Monster University. He grows up, goes to university to be a scarer and meets his future best friend, although at first they are enemies. Much bonding, growing up and mild hi-jinxs ensue before our frenemies become soul-mates and brothers for life. It could have been called When Mike Wazowski meet James P. Sullivan.

It's with a horribly heavy heart that I write these words, I feel as if I'm stabbing my favourite Uncle to death with a knitting needle. But this is perhaps the most disappointing Pixar film I've ever seen, more so than Cars (which I hate) and Cars 2 (which i loathe), both of those are just bad films, but this should have been something far better, because Pixar are simply better than this! Or atleast they used to be. There was a time Pixar swore they'd never do a sequel unless they could come up with a new story worth telling, as they did with Toy Story 2 & 3, which took a great story and came up with something better and more wonderful each time. But that's no longer the case with Monsters Uni. Now Pixar are in the buisness of making money for Disney and as such, no stone can be left unturned in search of big bucks and no franchise left unrealised.

What this is, is everything that Pixar films should never be – a pointless, lazy cash in, an excuse in milking a cash cow and nothing more. Gone is Pixar's maxim - story, story, story replaced by a tired rehash, of repeated beats and an utterly un-involving story.

The animation is superb, as you would expect. As is the technical skill and rendering, beautiful lighting, fantastic fur and textures. But that's a given and as such don't warrant any credit. What isn't good is the lazy creature design and lack of originality.

I saw this in a particularly empty cinema with handful of children, none of whom laughed that much, including my son who was rather nonplussed by the whole thing. The film has some funny moments and some exciting scenes but ultimately it's just so flat and engaging, there's also an utter lack of threat or scares that made the first film so exciting and original.

Little kids will like it, but older kids will be bored, as will parents, I know I was.

5/10

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