Thursday, October 17, 2013

[In Review] The Epic Monsters

Diminutive, one-eyed monster, Mike Wazowski's childhood dream is to be a 'scarer' that frightens kids to produce energy for the monster world. To realize his dream, Mike made his way to the prestigious Monsters University. However, despite his genius, the first semester proved to be the last for Wazowski. The despotic Dean Hardscrabble refused to let him sit for a final exam on the grounds of 'apparent mediocrity'. Mike now has to win the hotly contested Scare Games with a band of eccentric monsters to stand a chance.

"Mr Wazzowksky, what you lack simply cannot be taught. You're just not scary." - Dean Hardscrabble

This film is a prequel to the hugely successful Monster Inc. that came out back in 2000. It follows the future scarer stars, Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan in their endeavor for recognition. Mike is a nerd who reads all the great books on scaring kids from cover-to-cover with no practical scaring skills. James, on the other hand, comes from the Sullivan family which is known to produce auspicious scarers. He is abundant in talent but flunks every test. In a sense, Mike and James are polar opposites of each other and start-off as bitter enemies.

This film is not about how James and Mike came to work at Monsters, Inc. and even not quite how they became friends. As in The Incredibles, which taught viewers that not everyone can be special, and that there is nothing wrong with showing who you actually are, Monsters University has a clear and realistic basic idea: that what you end up doing oftentimes isn't what you intended. These words should be at the core of any person going for talent hunt shows like X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. This movie, on a very rudimentary level, teaches you to accept your shortcomings and work around them. There's always another pathway for you to follow which may even lead, though indirectly, to what you set out to achieve in the first place.

Dean Hardscrabbles is the darkest character in the movie with a very weird nombre.
Among other things, the movie also successfully takes a dig at the embedded, but not entirely obvious, humor in our university lives. From that boring class which has everyone drowsing to how people react to an impending exam. It is all there along with some exclusively US university stuff like fraternities and the abundance of misplaced Greek symbols in their names. This movie is bound to excite current university students while making past enrollees quite nostalgic.

The monsters throw a hellova dance party until they can't take the awesomness anymore.
The story-line is quite good but a classic losers-win-at-the-end type. In that sense, it can get quite predictable but that doesn't stop you from rooting and cheering for the underdogs. I know I did. Hell, at one point the movie succeeded in prodding me into some lower state of euphoria! However, I believe the writers really stretched the movie during the final stages which resulted in a crammed ending.

The music of the movie is good and nothing special. It is the typical, jovial animated movie score with a lot of upbeat instruments playing around. However, during a couple of a somber scenes there were some really poignant violin concertos which I loved.

The glow urchin run was the funniest scene in the movie.
All in all, Monsters University is quite a straight-forward and morally correct movie though not quite good as the first one which mixed in some outstanding humor. It is not to say that MU didn't have any, it had quite a few joke but they were lost in the film's glowing message and I am not complaining about that.

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