‘Monsters University’ is better than ‘Cars 2′

Mike and Sully do some G-rated college partying in "Monsters University. Credit: Disney/Pixar
Mike and Sulley do some G-rated college partying in “Monsters University.
Credit: Disney/Pixar

‘Monsters University’
Director. Dan Scanlon
Stars. Billy Crystal, John Goodman
Rating. G
3 (out of 5) stars

Pixar thrilled 5- and 6-year-olds with the adventures of Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) with 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.” Twelve years later, the animation house is going back in time to send those same kids off to college in the prequel “Monsters University,” which looks at the duo’s higher education experience.

What does a monster learn in college? Besides the conventional philosophy and computer programming programs, the science of scaring gets its own college, because a good monster is made, not born. Just as Edvard Munch created four versions of “The Scream,” and Alfred Hitchcock died before he ran out of fears to exploit, there’s no one scare that will work on everyone. Being able to walk through any child’s door and scare them is about more than a loud roar from a toothy mouth. This is what Mike, the short green eyeball who has been told all his life that he’s not a bit scary, studies tirelessly to learn.

Meanwhile, Sulley uses his textbooks to prop up the ping-pong table in his frat house, expecting to coast on his naturally scary looks and his legendary father’s reputation. Then Mike and Sulley both fail Scare Theory 101′s final exam and must reluctantly join forces with the misfit fraternity brothers of Oozma Kappa (“We’re OK!”) to enter the school’s Scare Games competition and prove themselves worthy of staying on.

This “Monsters” installment may not be as clever as the first one, but offers plenty of charm and laughs for anyone who’s experienced college life. Through training montages and some Tri-wizard Tournament-style challenges, Sulley learns the value of strategy and Mike comes to appreciate his strength as a scare tactician. Professional Scarers work in teams on the factory floor, after all.

The movie doesn’t offer an easy ending, but its message to college students holds with its 1940s setting rather than today’s reality. But the moral of collaboration and hard work, displayed to genuinely thrilling effect at the climax of the film, makes a fine lesson for children who dream bigger than the world around them seems to allow.

The film is preceded by the Pixar vignette “The Blue Umbrella,” which will fall flat to any city dweller who’s lost one in the rain. Suffice it to say there’s not a lot of good that happens to a rogue umbrella during a stormy night on a busy street.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.