Today I saw Monsters University, the latest movie from hit machine (if you don't count Cars 2) Pixar. While this isn't their best movie, it's definitely the best they've made in a long time. Or it would be, if it weren't for Toy Story 3. I swear to god, if that movie never happened, this would have been the best since Ratatouille, an astounding 6 years ago. Unfortunately, Toy Story 3 had to waltz right in and ruin everything. Of course, it's still better than a lot of Pixar movies. Brave, Cars 2, Cars, WALL-E, A Bug's Life, maybe even Up and the first Toy Story. Of course, it wasn't as good as the first Monsters, which is tied with The Incredibles for my all-time favorite Pixar movie, but it actually comes pretty close.
So, why is this movie so good? Well, first of all, For the first half of the movie, you think it's going to be something bland and predictable. Randall's team's going to win, the judges will find out that they cheated, Mike and Sully win it all, everything sunny all the time always. That... does not happen. In fact, if you haven't seen all the trailers, you might think that the final exam will be the end of it. Anyway, what happens at the end of the Scare Games, I should probably explain this.
So, the movie starts off with young Mike going on a field trip with his... kindergarten class? They never explain. Anyway, they go on a field trip to Monsters Incorporated, where they get to see a few famous scarers in action. It's there that Mike meets Frank McCay, played in a surprisingly John-Krasinski-like role by John Krasinski. Mike, being Mike, sneaks into the bedroom of the kid that Frank is scaring. The teacher gets worried, and everyone waits by the door for him to be brought back out. To everyone's surprise, Frank doesn't even notice Mike, and tells him that he could be a scarer someday himself. He even gives Mike his MU baseball cap, which fits him for some reason.
This is one of my only problems with the film. Frank brings up MU earlier in the prologue, claiming it to be the best school in the world. Another scarer, who is standing beside Frank, disagrees, claiming that FearTech is the best college. Wait, what? There are other colleges? That would imply that Monsters U is run by Monsters Inc. So, the business owns the college? And if it does, why do they accept scarers from other colleges? Why do other colleges have scaring programs? Does Monsters Inc. have any competition? Why have they never mentioned them? Did they go out of business? No, because FearTech still exists when Mike and Sully are in college. Why does the school seem so centered around one subject if there are so many other ones? It's clear that other schools have scaring programs. I'm rambling.
Then the opening sequence happens. And it is fantastic. Remember that door opening sequence from the first one? This is kind of like that, except it's fast-paced and nostalgic. I mean, really fast-paced. There's a stack of books at one point that says starring and then pans up, but it goes so fast that you can't read any of it. And it's still great. Not only do I think this is as good as the Monsters Inc. opening sequence, I think it's the best opening sequence Pixar has ever done.
Anyway, now Mike is eighteen all of a sudden. This is another problem I had with the movie. While the first one was more of a buddy comedy, this one is really all about Mike. In fact, Mike is the only character in that superfantastic opening sequence. I kind of want to know about Sully's childhood. Or Mike's, for that matter. We completely skip over about thirteen years of his life, although again, it's never clarified.
Okay, so I just deleted like, six paragraphs, so I'm just not going to spoil the rest. The ending is confusing, The Blue Umbrella is amazing, and after eight minutes of credits, there's an unsatisfying after-credits scene. A-