When Disney and Pixar announced that they were attempting a “Monsters Inc.” prequel that would show us what our beloved heroes Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) were like in college, it was hard to muster much enthusiasm. After all, much of the charm of the first film lay in the fact that it was a workplace comedy, and the workers just happened to be monsters who scared human children for a living. Seeing them in college not only seemed regressive but, if it didn’t succeed, could sully (ha) the sweetness of the original. But little by little as we’ve seen more and more of “Monsters University,” the more excited we’ve become. With a release of the final trailer, our excitement has been solidified. This looks scary good.
The trailer sets up all the elements of the story we had been told about but never actually seen – Mike and Sulley are roommates at the titular Monsters University, but right off the bat don’t get along. Mike is more of a bookworm while Sulley’s approach is more naturalistic (Sulley growls at Mike: “You don’t study scaring, you just do it”). After Mike and Sulley’s antics get them kicked out of the scaring program, they decide to compete in the Greek Scare Games, which, if they win, can get them back in the program (if they lose, though, they’ll get kicked out of school). Of course, by the time they join the competition, the only fraternity left to join is Oozma Kappa – the one made up of all the misfit monsters.
The trailer shows the expansive cast for the new movie (we love how scary Helen Mirren‘s character Dean Hardscrabble looks), with dozens of odd new monsters on display, and the energy that’s conveyed in the clip – something akin to “Animal House” or “Midnight Madness.” We also noticed a number of fleeting references to the first film, including one of the Monsters Inc. scare floor doors showing up, a brief shot of one of the Child Detection Agency minions and an appearance by the villainous, chameleonic Randall (Steve Buscemi). Given that this is a Pixar movie, everything looks gorgeous and there are a number of great gags.
While “Monsters University” might ultimately lack the heart of the original film, it looks like it more than makes up for it in terms of sheer visual inventiveness and lively fun. We can’t wait to be immersed in the colorful, furry, fanged world of envisioned by the team at Pixar.
“Monsters University” opens on June 21st.