In theatres: Monsters University

Editorial intern Kaavya Sivakumaran got an early peek at the new Disney-Pixar film, Monsters University. Check out her review!

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It’s hard to believe it was 12 whole years ago that Mike and Sulley introduced us to a world inhabited by creatures that exist only in our imaginations — creatures we spent our childhoods hiding under the covers from.

Back in 2001, our favourite scaring duo showed us that there’s nothing to be afraid of; monsters have feelings too! This long-overdue prequel gives us an elaborate look at the fateful year that changed these two fearsome fellows’ lives, and provides us with an abundance of hearty chuckles along the way.

The premise
Since his braces-wearing, elementary school days, Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) knew his calling: To graduate from Monsters University’s School of Scaring at the top of his class and become a record-breaking Scarer at Monsters, Inc.

Freshman year is finally here, and Mike is determined to hit the books and ace his Scaring final in order to continue on in the program. But a mishap in the exam room involving arrogant MU legacy James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) and a little too much competitiveness results in a failing grade and shattered dreams for both monsters.

Refusing to give up, Mike and Sulley enroll in the Greek Council’s Scare Games in order to earn back their spots in the program. The mismatched pair soon realize that the only way they stand a real chance of proving themselves is by using their differences to work together.

What we loved
As a mere 11-year-old when the first film was released, I remember giggling my way through Mike and Sulley’s comical antics. Over a decade later, I found myself laughing just as hard, and grinning from ear to ear as I watched these not-so-scary monsters on their journey to become Scaring Champions.

With a storyline that is simple enough for kids to follow, but not juvenile enough to bore the grown-ups, Monsters University epitomizes the perfect family movie. From classic slapstick humour to snappy one-liners, it impressively conqueres a difficult feat: providing a generous amount of entertainment for parents and little ones alike. And for those adults who, like me, have been Mike and Sulley fans since way back when, this was not only a well-told backstory that showed us how our favourite (and least favourite) characters came to be, but it allowed parents and children to roar at the same jokes, root for the same team, and be kids together.

And of course, who could forget the runaway pig mascot, the formation of Mike and Sulley’s brotherly friendship, the adorably not-frightening Oozma Kappa brothers, and Pixar’s expertly vivid 3D animation?

Parental advisory
During the first Scare Games race, one of the monster’s rear end is stung by a stinging glow urchin and is briefly shown swelling up. At the end of the film, two recently engaged monsters exchange an off-screen smooch.

Much younger children may be frightened by the centipede-like Dean Hardscrabble (voiced by Helen Mirren), the thunderous university librarian, and possibly even Sulley during certain growling scenes.

Canadian rating
G – Appropriate for all ages

Final verdict
With dynamic characters, hysterical shenanigans, and a feel-good story, Monsters University is a bounty of fun for the whole family. Kids of all ages are sure to be engaged by these lovable beasts, and parents are promised quite a few chuckles as well.

You can also check out our gallery of this summer’s family-friendly movies!

Also, check out what Billy Crystal had to say about Monsters University and being a grandparent!

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