Pixar is bringing back the characters we all love and know in the ultimate “Flashback Friday” to the college days of Mike, Sulley, and a whole new crew. Travel back in time to the moment where Mike and Sulley meet in MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, and are instant rivals from the start. Their rivalry gets them in the least scary fraternity, the Oozma Kappas, abbreviated “OK”. Can Mike and Sulley overcome their differences and lead their team to victory in the famed Scare Games?
I am a huge fan of Pixar and Disney, and I especially love not only the characters from MONSTERS, INC., but the very concept itself. Who would have ever thought that a movie about children’s nightmares would ever be so popular? The storyline itself is absurd, laughable even, and that’s the great thing about Pixar – they do the impossible and create an entire, wonderful universe centered on a fresh, out-of-this-world idea. That’s why I looked forward to this movie. In the middle, I realized that Pixar’s goal for this movie shifted just a bit. Although the core idea is no longer new, MONSTERS U is meant to bring back feelings of nostalgia. We can connect to the well-established characters on an even deeper level.
There are many times in the movie when I get so sucked in that I nearly stand up and cheer loudly. I rooted for Mike and Sulley from the bottom of my heart. The visuals are top-notch – I could see all the textures of the Sulley’s fur to Mike’s hat as clear as day. I absolutely loved the score, which went perfectly with the movie – either upbeat and classy, or shiver-inducing and chilling when needed. Voice-overs by Billy Crystal and John Goodman are, of course, hilarious and heartfelt. And you can’t forget the all-important scare-factor, but if kids enjoyed MONSTERS, INC., MU should not be too frightening for them.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is a clear step-up from Pixar’s last movie BRAVE. I raise my glass to you, Pixar, for raising the bar and bringing back the standards of TOY STORY, WALL-E, FINDING NEMO, etc. My paradox is clear: If Pixar made more movies each year, my life would be complete, but their standards would probably drop. For now, the anticipation of one excellent movie a year is enough. MU is a movie for the entire family to enjoy! Ages 5+
First Published @kidspickflicks
Set in the Scottish kingdom of DunBroch, Merida is a headstrong princess who loves archery living with her triplet devilish brothers, her father, King Fergus and her mother, Queen Elinor. In Merida’s opinion, she and her mother couldn’t have been more unlike each other – especially when Elinor invites three clan leaders to present their first-borns to compete for Merida’s hand. This leads to a big falling out and Merida heads into the forest. She meets a woodcutter witch – your typical Disney hag complete with the warts and broomstick – who offers to change her mom in order to change her fate about the marriage.
The literal “change” casts a spell on her mother and threatens Merida’s family along with the entire kingdom. Merida sets about a journey filled with magic, danger, and love to undo her selfish actions.
I would go as far as to say that this has been Pixar’s darkest movie yet. It’s a fresh heart-warming tale about mother-and-daughter bonding with comic relief provided by the mischievous triplets – however, I regretted bringing my 5-year-old cousin with me to the theaters. Her eyes were squeezed shut whenever the vicious bear Mor’du appeared on screen. Pixar did a fantastic job of building up anticipation in every scene – I kept expecting some unforeseen danger to pop up even in the light-hearted scenes. At some points, the entire spell-changing fate kerfuffle was quite disturbing – the idea that someone as dignified as Queen Elinor could turn into a wild bear may be unsettling for younger viewers.
Even so, my other 7-year-old cousin cried and sniffed loudly during one of the poignant mother and daughter moments. Brave offers many important life-lessons about relationships and responsibility, to have the courage to face one’s mistakes. Merida breaks the tradition of the Disney princesses. She’s not your typical princess but I see her as the youngest and the most relatable. Her spontaneous and courageous personality will draw viewers of all ages.
Though Brave may not be the next Finding Nemo, Toy Story, or Monsters Inc., Merida adds some good to the world with her sweet, stubborn, impulsive presence. This new addition to Pixar’s filmography is not to be missed – for Disney lovers, Pixar fans, and lasses and lads everywhere. Don’t be a bunch of galoots and follow the Will O’ The Wisps to your fate. Brave is a PickIT! Ages 7+
First published @ Kidspickflicks