We don't get a lot of prequels to animated movies. There are tons and tons of animated movies sequels out there and it's most likely that more sequels are coming, but prequels to animated movies are something you very rarely see. Now, we have one to "Monsters, Inc." known as "Monsters University". The film where we get to see Mike and Sully go to college, meet each other and how they ended up in the positions we know in the first movie. And in my opinion, I think it's pretty good. It may not be as good as say the "Toy Story" sequels or the first "Monsters" movie, but it's nowhere near as bad as "Cars 2" which is an automatic plus given to the movie. Why does it work you may ask? Well, let me tell you.
In the world of Monstropolis, monsters not only have jobs as scarers in power plants but also have colleges were they can learn about scaring and one of them is the famed Monsters University. A young Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) has been waiting all his life to go to the college in hopes of becoming one of the best scarers ever. While there he even bumps into his roommate a young and nerdy Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi) and even the laid back James P. Sullivan or Suley for short (John Goodman). However, contrary to what you may think, Mike really hates Sulley's laid back attitude as he doesn't study, do his homework and even fails to bring a pencil to his first day of class. However, things get messy for the two when they are kicked out of the scare program by the head of the scarer program, Dean Abigail Hardscrabble (Hellen Mirren) after they accidentally destroy a prized trophy of hers while in a fight. After being unsatisfied with the can program, Mike and Sulley then enter the scarer games with a misfit team called Oozma Kampa in hopes to get back into the scare program if they win or face expulsion if they fail. So can they help pull together the misfit team while sorting out their differences? Well, I won't say because I'll let you guys see the film for yourself to help you decide.
The film's story may not be as fresh or as funny as the original "Monsters, Inc" was, but as a prequel to a fun film, I think it was pretty good. I liked seeing Mike and Sulley start off as enemies at the beginning and see them mature into the characters we know now in the first film. Not only that, but I will also admit that the ending which I'm not going to spoil kind of took me by surprise and was actually quite original for Pixar quality. As for the animation, I can easily say it's once again great. I really looked seeing the characters designs improve after twelve years and seeing the colorful landscapes once again brought to life in grand and glorious detail. Even the characters were quite refreshingly different compared to the originals. I really like seeing both Mike and Sulley kind of flip roles in a way with Mike being more on top of things and Sulley being more laid back compared to the original. Even Randall was pretty funny to see in a different way with him being more geeky and shy compared to his sly and pretty nasty personality in the original. As for the new character, there also a lot of fun. I like the misfit Oozma Kampa team whom I won't talk about too much as I think you should see their personalities themselves and really liked how slightly menacing Dean Hardscrabble who was played fantastically by Hellen Mirren with her performance being top notch like always. As far as flaws, I think it was a little too predictable at times and maybe a little too rushed. The film should have slowed down scenes touch a tad so we could get more invested in some moments of the film. I think that's about it though.
"Monsters University" may not be as great as the first film, but as a good prequel, I think it works. It has some good story elements, great animation, and some funny characters to boast which is about enough to give a good recommendation too. It's an animated prequel that actually surprisingly works, and I can happily say that I have plans for watching it in the near future.