Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Monsters University a lazy idea

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Having had mixed results with sequels, Pixar has jumped on the prequel bandwagon, taking us back to where it all started for loveable, shaggy Sulley and his monocular little green sidekick, Mike - their college days.

Reprising their voice roles more than a decade on, Billy Crystal and John Goodman are in excellent form playing the pair long before they became the top scare team at Monsters, Inc. But even they can't make this seem like more than a lazy idea.

After the spark and originality of Monsters, Inc, throwing the duos into a campus comedy filled with cliches like cliques, frat parties, nasty professors, the fear of failure and parental expectations just doesn't do the franchise justice.

The good news is you don't need to be familiar with the original to understand what's going on, this cleverly explains the Monsters, Inc company and its famous Scarers through a flashback to Mike's high-school years.

And learning more about what motivates Mike and Sulley works nicely with an overriding theme that natural ability gets you only so far, hard work is needed.

But, thankfully, Monsters University isn't all sweetness and wacky characters.

Helen Mirren casts a dark shadow as the terrifying Dean Hardscrabble, and Mike and Sulley competing in the University's Scare Games to win back their places in the Scare Programme offers intensity and jeopardy to an otherwise nicely paced yarn.

The animation is superbly crafted and detailed, and the voices well cast. But this isn't one of Pixar's A-grade efforts.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
Director: Dan Scanlon
Running time: 110 mins
Rating: G
Verdict: A pleasant way to kill a few hours these school holidays.

- TimeOut

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- NZ Herald

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