To say that I have an unadulterated love for Pixar is nothing really unique or special, for don’t we all have an obsession with the animated powerhouse? Through just 13 films, Pixar has become one of the most dominative movie studios in the world, averaging a worldwide gross of $600 million dollars per film, winning 26 Academy Awards and 7 Golden Globes, and making three movies that have placed in the 50 highest grossing films of all time. Unsurprisingly, their latest, Brave, is up for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Wow, if that’s not success, I’m not sure what is! By combining a childhood sense of joy and imagination with an adult sense of drama and heart, Pixar has made hit after hit and, for the most part, classic after classic that can be loved by every gender and every age. This week, the studio put out a trailer for its 14th feature film, Monster’s University, a prequel to their smash hit Monster’s Inc. that shows how Mike and Sully met during their wild years in college. By expanding the narrative to one of their most popular films, Pixar is taking a gamble with University, and while their track record with sequels varies – Toy Story produced masterful additions while Cars sank even further – the latest trailer for the prequel indicates a promising direction. Watch the trailer & get our reaction below:
Why I’m Excited:
1) Pixar’s Animated Animal House: Ok, so Pixar clearly isn’t going to go to the raunchy extremes that John Landis’ 1978 comedy classic did, but by setting this prequel in college, and in a fraternity no less, Pixar seems to be taking a page out of the Animal House playbook and sending up the college lifestyle – there’s rowdy parties, hijinks, pranks, and so on. What’s most important is that this college setting allows us to see the early stages of Mike and Sully’s relationship (once again voiced by the great pairing of Billy Crystal and John Goodman), and, surprisingly, the trailer teases that a rivalry was very much apart of their first years together. What’s great about this is the fact that Pixar seems to have a story to tell in this picture, making an addition to the Monster’s franchise a smart idea. The problem with Cars 2 is that it came out of nowhere, its plot seemed constructed to sell toys as opposed to entertain; by being a prequel, it’s clear University has a story to tell and a friendship to dissect and uncover, giving weight and importance to a prequel that definitely needs it in order to justify the studios’ decision to add to one of its most entertaining and beloved films.
2) Creativity Runs Rampant: Whether Monster’s Inc. is one of your favorite Pixar films or not, there’s no denying that it remains one of their most ingeniously creative; I mean, how could anyone forget the exhilarating chase scene through multiple doors and different themed dreams? A prequel to Monster’s Inc. can do this all over again and surprise us, entertain us, and wow us with the creativity we know Pixar can execute (and after the dud Cars 2 and the extremely safe Brave, Pixar could definitely use a movie to remind of us why they’re a powerhouse to begin with). The trailer hints that a major part of the film will be sending up college and “monsterfying” it, and a scene at an organization fair that has a bushy headed monster dipping its head into paint and slamming it onto a canvass is just the type of creativeness I’m talking about – it produces both comedy and a naturalness to a world where monsters would thrive. I’m also loving what seems to be a football game (a staple of college) and a competition between Mike and Sully to see who is the scarier monster; it’s set pieces like these where Pixar can truly show off its brainy side and prove that no one does imagination better than them.
3) Eye-Popping Animation: Pixar films always blow us away with their incredible computer generated images – Brave, with its illustrious castles, gorgeous Scottish landscapes, and extreme attention to human details like skin and hair, was their best film yet from strictly an animation stand point. What’s so great about Monster’s Inc., however, is that it doesn’t have to be as lifelike as Brave or The Incredibles, and as the trailer for University clearly depicts, these movies go for bright, pulpy, and high spirited animated styles. With the inventive detail given to each monster – Sully’s hair, Mike’s rubbery skin, etc. – this film gets an added dose of energy just from its brimming color palette and pop-art like textures. After Brave, Monster’s University seems like a great choice in terms of a follow-up because Pixar doesn’t have to top the naturalism of the animation because the story doesn’t need it. A story about monsters doesn’t need the attention to detail that Brave did, it needs the brightness and the cartoonish designs that make plots like these possible only with the use of animation.
Are you guys excited for Monster’s University? Nervous Pixar may ruin the Monster’s universe? Are tired of Pixar taking the sequel/prequel route? Let us know!
Article by Zack Sharf