Monsters University is is a prequel to Monsters Inc. It tells the story of how they all
met, at scare school. After visiting the factory on a school field trip
as a boy, Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) dreams of becoming a great scarer, even though the odds
are always against him. He studies hard, but he never seems to be able
to get a break, and then there's the simple fact that he's not scary.
Sully (John Goodman) waltzes into school, the son of an already-legendary scarer,
and simply drifts through his days, convinced that whatever he needs to
know is already in his genetic makeup. When the sinister headmistress,
Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), kicks them both out of
school after a particularly bad foulup, they team up to enter the "Scare
Games." If they win, they'll have a chance to get back into school and
However, they need a team for the games, and they are forced to join
the biggest bunch of losers on campus, the fraternity of Oozma Kappa, or
"OK" for short. Together they enter a series of contests, but, things
don't quite turn out as expected, and the movie ends on a truly
impressive sequence with Mike and Sully stuck in the real world.
Without spoiling too much, Mike must use his vast knowledge of scare
techniques to frighten a group of adults, and the result is like a
reverse horror movie, as shown from the inside out. It's absolutely
brilliant, both technically and creatively. Credit this to first-time director Dan Scanlon, who had made an
independent live-action feature and one non-theatrical Pixar short, before taking on this, his first Pixar feature. Whatever shortcomings Monsters University has is more inherent with the previously-existing material itself, than it is with the writing or filmmaking on this brilliant new one.
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