By SHAUNDA WICKHAM, COMMENTARY
College is often a time of growth and self-discovery for people, and in the imaginative world of Pixar, it’s no different for monsters.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles as Mike Wazowski, the circular, green, one-eyed monster and James “Sully” Sullivan, the furry, blue, Sasquatch-esque monster.
In an effort to add relevant star power, Helen Mirren joins the cast as a feared “scare” professor, who goes out of her way to prove to Wazowski he is not cut out to be in the profession of scaring.
Any viewer who has seen “Monsters, Inc.” knows how the relationship between Mike and Sully turns out, but “Monsters University” tells the story of how their relationship began.
Mike is an aspiring scarer who thinks the way to working on the scare floor is through studying and working hard in college, whereas Sully comes from a long line of scarers and fears he cannot live up to expectations, even though it is apparent that he has a natural scare talent.
Though the movie is filled with cliche college stereotypes – frat house antics, nerds bonding while defending themselves against their physical superiors and overzealous professors, all which lead to high-stakes competition – the ending unravels in a way one may not expect from a Pixar movie.
It’s only apropos that Pixar continues the monster story by way of a prequel sending the monsters back in time to their college years, the same age that fans of the 2001 film are now.
Though many fans may be disappointed with the absence of the beloved character Boo, they will not be disappointed with the message that “Monsters University” delivers in the end.
“Despicable Me 2”
By Alex Rosenthal, COMMENTARY
In the war between monsters and minions, the box office battle resulted in a near draw as each earned more than $80 million in their premiere weekends.
The yellow and mischievous minions of “Despicable Me 2,” however, have swept audiences by storm.
After seeing “Despicable Me 2,” it will be no wonder why the lovable minions have so successfully flooded almost every aspect of society from McDonald’s happy meals to T-shirts and Facebook.
The movie opens with the mysterious disappearance of a top-secret research lab, where a potent mutation formula is being developed. To stop the plots of an unknown mastermind, an anti-villain government agency recruits Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), the evil-doer turned good by a trio of orphan girls in the previous movie.
Gru reluctantly teams up with agent Lucy Wilde (voice by Kristen Wiig) to go
undercover and save the world. Lucy quickly becomes the movie’s love interest, as Gru realizes this may be the only woman who can save him from the treacheries of online dating and be a mother to his adopted children.
The PG-rated movie is a hilarious hit that can appeal to all audiences, young and old. The onslaught of humor known by fans of Carell, star of the TV series “The Office” and comedies such as “40-year-old Virgin,” is evident in the film, which also co-stars Wiig, the viciously funny lead actress of “Bridesmaids.”
Though the movie can’t beat its predecessor, which focused more on the adorable antics of the three sisters whereas the sequel focused more on the minions and Gru, it lovingly extended the theme of family and relationships while maintaining most of the original laughs.
All in all, this movie is one that can make any viewer feel young at heart and well worth the cost of a movie ticket.