‘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

Jasper Johns aide admits stealing, selling artwork for…

By Joseph AxNEW YORK (Reuters) - A former assistant to renowned American contemporary artist Jasper Johns pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling nearly two dozen…

National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Gossip

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married

The couple tied the knot in Chateau Miraval, France.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

NFL

Fantasy football: What to take away from preseason

The third set of exhibition games, which went down last weekend, is the dress rehearsal week.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…