Monsters University (2013) Film Review

I knew the day would come when I would have to review an animated film and because of this, I’ve had to slightly alter some of the categories that I judge films on… anyway, yesterday I decided to go and watch ‘The Wolverine’. However, upon realisation that I didn’t actually want to see ‘Hugh Jackman with Claws Part 2’, I opted to see Monsters University instead, the prequel to Pixar’s award winning ‘Monsters Inc‘ and I was not disappointed…

I can’t judge an animated film on actual acting but I can judge it on voice acting. On the whole, most of the voice acting was fun and consistent throughout the film. Sometimes, in animated films, some voices differ from what they were at the start of the film, or in the middle but MU avoided this slip-up. Some of the voice acting was a bit dodgy but mostly, it was pretty good and some even made me laugh. Voice Acting Rating – 8/10.

Next, the story. A prequel to Monsters Inc. set in a University? It hardly left any chance for an interesting and captivating story to span the 104 minute run time of the film BUT somehow, the writers managed to pull it off. I did not find myself bored once during this film, I don’t know whether this is because I’m a child at heart or if it was just because it was genuinely good fun. This is my personal review, so I have to review it to my standards and base it on how much I enjoy the film. Story Rating – 8/10.

Cinematography is an odd one with animated films, it’s more of a ‘visual effects’, such as the lighting, environment rendering, camera shots, etc. Whereas the designs fit into the ‘Special Effects’ category. Anyway, the lighting in this film was just right and some of the water rendering was delightful but there was not much else to judge this on. Most of the shots looked nice but sometimes it felt just a bit basic and simple. Cinematography Rating – 7/10.

There was only one name I was looking out for, when checking the music credits and that is Randy Newman, the composer for Toy Story 1,2 and 3 and Monsters Inc. Yet again, Newman produced an excellent soundtrack that helped set mood, atmosphere, setting and comedy throughout the film. A particular favourite piece of mine occurred during the ‘race’ scene, it set pace for the race (hey, that rhymed) and even built tension in what is supposed to be a comedy film. There’s no doubting that this soundtrack was impressive and I would almost be tempted into actually buying the soundtrack separately. Music Rating – 9/10.

This film was creative, but I also felt it rode off the back of several other genres/films. For example, early on in the film, it reminded me of an animated version of 2012’s 21 Jump Street and of course, MU had to ride off the back of Monsters Inc. so it wasn’t a completely unique idea. However, the film was creative and especially with some of the characters and plot points, showed that Disney Pixar still have ‘got it’. The creativity of this film wasn’t necessarily it’s strongest point but it wasn’t it’s weakest either. Creativity Rating – 8/10.

Special Effects takes into consideration character design, setting design and sounds in general. These were strong, the characters were designed with superb skill and I enjoyed seeing some of the wacky creations that the guys at Pixar had come up with. The sound effects were good too and I had no real issue with any aspect of the special effects category. My only minor issue was that a lot of the character design felt way too similar to the sequel and therefore had less of an impact on me than it would on a first time viewer. Special Effects Rating – 9/10.

Comedy is one of the selling points of many Disney Pixar films nowadays and the comedy was much reminiscent of Toy Story – with plenty of slapstick comedy for the younger kids but then some subtle, almost dark, humour for teenagers and adults. This was done non-distinctively but was still easily identifiable, in my opinion anyway. The film WAS funny, there is no denying that, I laughed at some of the slapstick stuff and the pure stupidity of the main characters. However, yet again, the comedy took a lot from Monsters Inc. and just reused it and as I have seen Monsters Inc., kind of took away from how funny the film actually was. Comedy Rating – 8/10.

Overall, my decision to watch this instead of Wolverine was probably one of the best I will ever make. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and I would recommend it to almost anyone, regardless of whether or not you have seen Monsters Inc because you will enjoy this film. It was not as good as Monsters Inc. but it comes a close second.

Star Rating – 4 Stars

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