Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2013. Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios. Story and screenplay by Dan Scanlon, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird. Produced by Kori Rae. Music by Randy Newman. Production Design by Ricky Nierva. Film Editing by Greg Snyder. New York Film Critics Awards 2013. Washington Film Critics Awards 2013.
Pixar returns to one of their most charming successes for a prequel that recaptures the delight of the original if not necessarily all of its thrills. We learn about the origin of the friendship between Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman), who attend the titular institution in their monster world looking to graduate in the Scaring program. Wazowski has wanted to be a Scarer ever since he visited the floor of Monsters, Inc. as a child and witnessed the coolest job in the world being performed (the astronauts of this world, from what we can assume). When he arrives at school, overprepared and undergrown, he is informed that he will never succeed thanks to the fact that he is simply not frightening enough. Sully, meanwhile, thinks he never need hit the books since being scary is in the genes. Leave it up to the perfectly imperious tones of Helen Mirren, as their world-champion scare queen university Dean, to teach them both a lesson in proving themselves. Lots of fun, with an interesting message about the fact that dreams don’t always come true the way you expect them to. Pixar is always at its height when depicting the benefits of friendship won, and here they pay great tribute to their legacy.