‘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
News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.