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Monsters University

Discussion in 'Movies' started by mattCR, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    Not Pixars best work but still a blast. Badicall revenge of the nerds for kids. Theater I watched it in was packed full with kids. Sold out. And the kids loved it. B+
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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    I saw it this morning and dug it a lot. I was happy to see Pixar make a straight up comedy again.
     
  3. Afiger

    Afiger Active Member

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    Nice. I was worried it was going to be pretty lame because sequels seem to be hit or miss. We might go see it in theaters, but not sure if I want to swing $8 person for something that could be easily put off until it hits DVD.
     
  4. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Well-Known Member

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    Everyone here enjoyed the show, adults and kids alike. A lot of fun, nice attention to detail and some spectacular animation.
     
  5. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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    A couple of shots at the beginning of The Blue Umbrella short looked 100% real to me.
     
  6. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    Yeah, the Blue Umbrella had shots in it that were mindbogglingly real. It was a pretty sensational piece of animation. Throughout Monsters University, though, some of the shots - especially of buildings and things, including the bus from the outside were great stuff.

    I have seen people say "this is a puff piece" for Pixar, but it's hard to do a good comedy and do it well; this one really worked and was a LOT of fun.
    I don't enjoy seeing a drama in a theater like this, but there is something really fantastic about sitting in a packed midday theater with a group of eager kids as they all burst out into laughter, clap when something good happens and cheer as the film ends. There are a lot of animated offerings that never get to that level, even though the audience is ready and willing, but if you sit in a Pixar crowd for something like this, it's a blast.
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Well, I went to see Monsters University this afternoon and come away with an entirely different opinion than you fellas.

    I thought both The Blue Umbrella and the main feature were crap. Really, really bad.

    I have yet to see Cars 2...but am on record that Pixar hasn't put out a stinker yet...until now. Pixar creates wondrous animated features with exquisite animation, compelling characters and engaging stories (stories that famously are able to speak to both kids and adults). Monsters U has the great animation and characters (the world of Monsters is truly a wonderful concept)...but it completely lacked a story with heart and brains. It was a B-grade story at best...worthy of a Dreamworks effort (maybe). I guess the moral of Monsters U is the importance of working as a team to achieve one's goals (yawn).

    My own biggest personal problem with this film was that I figured since it was a prequel it would have to have a story-line totally independent of the story told in Monsters, Inc. But, instead, the exact opposite was true. It seemed as if the writers were determined to think that if they strung us along as to whether Mike and Sully would ever reach their dreams of being "scarers" we would remain engaged. That might've worked for some of the young children in the audience...but not for me, my wife or two grown children.

    Of course they were going to become scarers...but, get this kids(!)...even if you screw up and cheat and get expelled from school, that's ok because you can still have fun in menial jobs until you work your way up the corporate ladder. Huh?

    Unlike many of you who posted here, we did not find the film funny at all. Not a laugh came out of our mouths. In fact, the biggest laugh of the day (from all the kids who were in our theater) came from the trailer for Disney's Frozen--a single scene featuring a snowman, an elk and a carrot. We found the story of Monsters U completely predictable and worthy of a high school or college project.

    The group of underdogs which comprised the OK fraternity were not that very interesting or likeable either. Why put a grown man in the mix as a college student? What a strange idea--which really didn't seem to have a payoff except that he moved in on the many-eyed kid's mom...which I, too, (like the kid) thought was creepy). But I admit I enjoyed the kid's reactions when that piece of business was unveiled.

    And why place the characters in a college setting if you are really aiming for the children's audience? My favorite scene in the film was when the characters were entering the college building on the opening day of classes and they were each rubbing the talon of a monster's statue as they went up the steps and into the door. I love little touches like that that the Pixar creators always remember to include in their films...and there were a few others. But they really forgot the intelligent storyline here and totally missed the opportunity of giving us a worthy sequel (prequel) with Sully & Mike. Another piece I liked was the MU baseball cap given a very young Mike by a scarer on the field trip which he carried with him through his childhood through to college and was a tangible piece of evidence of his dream. But those little touches do not add up to a worthwhile story.

    The Blue Umbrella went on way too long. Once we get the idea of various inanimate objects smiling in the rain, it seemed to go on and on and on. The "drama" of the blue umbrella getting blown away into danger was not really that interesting...and none of the members in my family really was sure if the new owner of the blue umbrellas and the owner of the red umbrella knew each other...and, again, I just didn't feel invested in the umbrellas or what happened to them in this scene. I just watched For the Birds the other day (the short which appeared with Monsters, Inc) and still marvel at how they were able to imbue those birds with so many emotions and feelings which made you really wonder--and care--what was going to happen. As some have noted, the animation here was intense--truly lifelike at times. But, so what?

    What a disappointing day at the movies.
     
  8. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Well-Known Member

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    BTW I liked the Blue Umbrella, but I thought it was reminiscent of Paperman in terms of subject matter.
     
  9. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    Wow Mike :)

    Cars is one I enjoy, Cars 2 not so much.
     
  10. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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    I think Cars 2 gets something of a bum rap. It's not a great movie but I think it's successful in being simply a kids action movie. I'd even argue that it's more successful in being what it wanted to be than Brave which aimed high but didn't quite make it for me.
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Yeah. My wife and I agree that ever since the opening credits of Forrest Gump...that idea's already been done to death. Feather, paper, umbrella...whatever. I'm sure it was done before Gump, too.

    I had real issues with Brave...REAL ISSUES. But gave it a pass because it wasn't a complete clunker. But MU has little to redeem it.

    No one (nor one company) is perfect. I'm good with that. So I'm not going to be a prophet of doom for Pixar. I'm sure it's just a misfire (for me). There just wasn't anything really inventive or new. It had the feel of a storyline which had been done a million times before. Even when Oozma Kappa entered the scare games and had to progress through the five competitions (avoiding a last place finish at each stage)...did anyone really think they were going to get an early boot or not win the competition against that big, bad ROR frat? Maybe a three year old?
     
  12. Steve Tannehill

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    I did not hate the movie like Mike, but I thought it got a little too serious towards the end.

    I thought The Blue Umbrella was stunning.
     
  13. Adam_S

    Adam_S Well-Known Member

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    I thought this was solid, not Pixar's best, but an entertaining B effort. It doesn't recapture the magic of the original and is mostly hamstrung by avoiding the 'scare kids' thing, and additionally hamstrung by avoiding the 'sex&booze' that comprises college for most people (one throw away shot of beer pong into a passed out monsters mouth is the only inclusion that tips towards that).

    In a sense, I almost feel as if the main purpose of this film is to set up a sequel to Monsters Inc that revolves around the inevitable merge of the human and monster world (if you think about it, the monsters could keep things going with short 30 sec scare-the-humans interactions with the human world, but kids that get mined for laughter will have longer interactions with the monsters, and they're going to remember and insist on the truth coming out and uncovering/discovering a way to bring the two worlds together).

    But the comedy was really well handled and it was realistic they were both expelled and then had to work hard to succeed without a college degree. I was worried it was going to be a super slight revenge of the nerds riff.

    The Blue Umbrella short was lovely for it's techniques, it was extremely kawaii, but suffers a bit in comparison to the nearly indentical (and masterful) Paperman.

    overall ratings and ranking of the Pixar movies (granted I haven't seen Bugs Life in a long, long time).

    1. Up - 10
    2. The Incredibles - 10
    3. Brave - 10
    4. Monsters Inc - 10
    5. Wall*E - 10
    6. Finding Nemo - 9
    7. Ratatouille - 9
    8. Toy Story 2 - 8
    9. Toy Story - 8
    10. Toy Story 3 - 8
    11. Monsters Uni - 8
    12. Cars 2 - 7
    13. A Bugs Life - 7
    14. Cars - 5
     
  14. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Think that comment hits the mark. I don't see it till tomorrow, so I can't speak for how much of RotN we get in the script in the Cars = Doc Holywood sense, but to answer one of Mike's knee-jerk questions: Are high school and college-campus comedies ever pitched at the same age demographic that experiences the real thing?...Was "High School Musical" pitched to 17-18-yo.'s, and Nerds 1 pitched to 20-yo. political-science majors? ;)

    As for Cars 2, it's not a BAD-bad movie (OTOH, ohh, how I loathe Brave...), it's just two different half-movies that got slapped together at the last minute, like an awkward blind date. The half-movie that Lasseter wanted to do, about Lightning finally being a good guy and racing around the world, survives the movie pretty well; as far as the extended Mater-Toon short we get for the rest of the movie...somebody should get Iger, Lasseter and the fans together for a nice, long, eye-opening intervention chat.
     
  15. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I eagerly await your report after your viewing tomorrow. :D

    Of course I don't expect the setting of films, or the age of the characters, to neatly conform to a target audience. Kids like the Flintstones and the Jetsons, for example. ;) I appreciate you understand that it WAS a kneejerk question. But, I hope you'll see what I mean about how MU seems to be much more geared towards kids than an adult audience.
     
  16. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    I'll agree with this. CARS 2 is actually a better classic-style "Bond" film (minus the sex) than most of the Bond films in the last twenty years. CARS 2 didn't pretend to be anything more than a lighthearted action comedy. The trailers for BRAVE made it appear like it was going to be an epic action adventure with a girl as the main protagonist ala MULAN. The actual result was a big letdown. A lot of the humour was pretty flat too. For example, the comic relief with her brothers.
     
  17. Adam_S

    Adam_S Well-Known Member

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    that's comedy for you, I feel like in terms of comic relief and jokes landing perfectly Brave and Incredibles are the two movies with Pixar at their absolute best. I don't think there's a single thing in either movie that fails, comicly, for me.
     
  18. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    I happen to like the Flintstones, thank you very much, although I can think of only two or three Jetsons episodes that were actually funny. (Tried to indoctrinate the younger generation on classic Flintstones, and while they asked for it by name, it didn't resonate as longer afterwards as the Looney Tunes.)

    MU was a good example of What Pixar Does, namely what Brave didn't do when Brenda Chapman took her toys and went home: They're never what you expect them to be by the end, and usually happens when we start sympathizing with the characters.
    Brave chugged to its predictable Big Mother-Daughter Message climax like a rusty locomotive, although you could see Pixar, after firing and bringing in their own everything-into-the-pot story people, trying to Navy-salvage the story with SOMETHING else for the rest of the audience. (The comedy-relief witch, the three bear cubs, the Big Climactic Pixar Secret of the lost prince, etc...) Chapman didn't know how to make a Pixar movie, so Pixar had to go and show her. And it still wasn't enough to save it.

    Here, in MU, there is so much Revenge of the Nerds, you expect, like Tri-Lambda, the plot IS going to be about our team of losers finding their niche specializations to win the multi-round competition...And then, all of a sudden, that's NOT what the plot's about. And then we get the huggy moments for the characters. And then the nailbiting but ultimately redemptive Big Action Climax. And then even the supporting characters start learning their own message.
    That's the Pixar secret of Everything Into the Pot, and that's why they try to enforce a group story ethic at the studio. If a story isn't universal enough for everyone (like, say, it comes off as a lame Lifetime Network movie), then not everyone will go to see it.
     
  19. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    "I can't go back to jail!"

    Great adjustment of the college comedy to a general audience story, and while it doesn't attempt to meet its predecessor on the same endearing level, it is smartly written to encapsulate its own message of self-realization while simultaneously complimenting the eventual story to be told in the 2001 film. 9/10
     
  20. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    I had a similar reaction to the Blue Umbrella as I did Paperman. No complaints about the animation, but the story just did nothing for me. And I couldn't get past the fact that all the umbrellas had drawn faces, but everything else around them had faces naturally formed by their construction. That just seemed lazy, or half-baked, to me, in the same way Paperman seemed lazy when the airplanes developed a life of their own for no other reason then to bring the man and woman together.

    As far as Monster's University, the first half with the college competition was definitely been there done that, but the redeeming parts of the story have to do with the relationship between Mike and Sully and their realization that they are better together than as individuals. I think if the story had been tweaked just a bit to make that more of the central theme, rather than just the last 20 minutes of the movie, then things would have been better. I wasn't expecting it to be better than the first film, so afterward I told my wife, "Not bad for a sequel."
     

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