My 2013 Movies: Monsters, Inc. (2001, on DVD, home collection) and Monsters University (2013, at the theatre)
I’ve said this more than several times on this site: I’m a Pixar snob. Full-blooded. Saw the first Toy Story at an event at the Egyptian in Hollywood and attended an after-party where there were life-sized characters, real army guys hobbling around on their stands, a room-sized working Etch-O-Sketch, the whole bit.
So I can’t pretend to be neutral on these things. I just can’t. Pixar has, I believe, achieved the extraordinary, the sublime, the incredible(s) in filmmaking history. It’s landmark stuff, and Pixar films will forever be theatre-viewing essential as long as multiplexes exist. I actually started to get nervous and upset in the past week when I thought MU might be leaving my local theatre soon and I might be missing it. I felt like I was becoming physically ill from worry.
Yeah. I’m that guy. And will forever be.
So you shouldn’t expect to read here a very critical or deep analysis of character, theme, development or arc. I don’t have anything terribly meaningful to say. My family re-watched Inc. recently so that we’d feel properly refreshed before seeing Uni, and the 2001 version (holy wowie. 2001? That gives one pause.) was still fun and exciting. I’d kind of forgotten that it relies less on story and character like some of the studio’s other offerings, and instead a bit too much on slapstick-type humor, bug-eyes and comical fainting and all. It’s not my favorite Pixar by any means, but it makes for an enjoyable revisit.
So if anything, University improves in that area a bit, giving the characters a few more interesting things to do, some growth that, while predictable, feels earned and well-told. At the culmination (SPOILERS) of the Scare Games in the movie, I actually felt miserably let down for a moment, thinking that the movie might end there. For some reason I had no concept of how long the movie had been at that point and was convinced - from the way the scene was staged with music and climactic-y things happening - that it was ending that way, and I wasn’t at all happy.
I doubted. For a moment. Damn you, Cars! *shakes old man fist*
All of which made what followed very gratifying, and very terrific. I thought the scenes taking place in the human world were spectacular - so richly shot, with the backgrounds and lighting and overall feel rendered so differently - so purposefully differently - than the rest of the movie. Gorgeous and stunning.
So I was happy. My Pixar-Joy Containment Unit has been filled up once more.
But, what? No The Good Dinosaur teaser? *sigh*