The MPAA rating for Monsters University has
been announced and surprisingly enough, it’s ‘G’. Giving such
a coming-of-age story set in a university a rating like that may surprise those
of us familiar with that bastion of college comedies, Animal House.
So that begs the question: Should Pixar have aimed older
with this sequel to their ‘monster’ hit from 2001?
While the wind is certainly with them as far as anticipation
goes, it’s disheartening to think that the film’s original audience has long
since entered the dreaded ‘animation
age ghetto’. Even the youngest viewers of that film are into their
mid-teens and may be quite unlikely to have much interest in seeing a ‘G’ rated
film. Is Pixar losing out on an opportunity to bring such
teenagers back into the animation fold? Consider these points:
original’s audience are just at that stage where they are either in, or
about to enter, college.
are unlikely to have forgotten the original’s appeal and characters
target audience for a ‘G’ rated Monsters University can’t comprehend the
original Monsters Inc. at all. In fact, the 3-D re-release at the end of 2012 fared much poorer
than anticipated indicating a relative lack of familiarity among consumers
(in addition to their ambivalence about 3-D.)
is no stranger to older audiences with The Incredibles, Up and Brave all
receiving a PG rating that did their box office performance no discernible harm
Studio Ghibli in Japan willingly release animated films
suitable for mature audiences. This could be have been an opportunity for Pixar
to make a similar leap with its brand and start to bridge the gap between kids
Lastly, pretty much everyone knows of the kinds of
shenanigans that occur on college campuses and they certainly aren’t suitable
for all-ages eyes (or ears). That’s no reason to go overboard, but plenty of
wiggle room exists for jokes and tomfoolery without getting too blue.
What do you think?
Charles Kenny writes prolifically on his own blog, The Animation Anomaly.