Monsters, Inc. is quite simply one of the greatest animated movies of all time, often overlooked because of the other great Pixar movies like Toy Story, I think the original Monsters has a good case for being the studio’s best. And when you compare that to the rest of Pixar’s output that is quite a statement. But Monsters, Inc. gives us one of the most brilliantly original ideas of any film I’ve seen, it creates a fantastic new universe of wacky creations and lovable characters. It’s a great example of everything that Pixar is about, forgetting conventions and coming up with something new. In fact it comes as a surprise to me that it has taken this long for a sequel to come out. Monsters University, though, isn’t your average sequel and although I’ve often moaned about the lack of original concepts from Pixar in recent years this prequel is something that has not just been dashed together, its a movie that has only been made because the idea is good enough, not for a quick profit like the shoddy Cars 2. Monsters University sees a return to form for the kings of computer animation.
While Monsters University does lose some of the magic that the first one had, mainly because the idea was so original, there ire still so many fresh and new ideas here that it would be harsh to judge it in that sense. The plot of the movies takes a rather predictable route, with a classic underdog story, but it’s greatest ideas are to be found in the smaller details. The collection of Monsters that have been created is both hilarious and impressive featuring a range of beasts which start at walking balls of fluff with hair and stop at everything in between before reaching multi-limbed, multi-horned, multi-eyed creatures that must have been an absolute joy to design. The writing remains fresh here too with great jokes that are a cut above your usual kids movies fodder, something Pixar have always been good at is appealing to all generations and Monsters University’s humour is the best example of this in a long while with the last two pictures, Brave and Cars 2 sadly lacking the holistic approach most of the studios movies have. They find humour in everything in this movie and keep a smile on your face from beginning to end. The animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen as well, with vibrant colours that practically jump out the screen at you, it was a shame I saw it in 3D as the glasses reduce the amount of colour you see and the 3D itself is never actually used but it was still stunningly good looking.
With Monsters University, Pixar have delivered perhaps there most original, non-original movie and have given us a light, fresh, funny new film which stands up very well against some of their greatest hits. It may not be as good as its predecessor but this deserves to be one of the biggest hits of the summer.
Pixar’s offering for 2012 saw their first non-sequel for three years. Brave is the story of a Scottish princess who has the tendency to be more of a boy than is thought acceptable by her mother and the film sees her attempt to break free of the forced life her parents want her to lead. On the way everyone learns an important lesson and manage to tolerate each other a little better than they did at the beginning.
The problem I thought from when I first heard about Brave was that despite not being a sequel it doesn’t sound that original, since seeing the film I can confirm that, no, it isn’t very original. It seems as though it would be much better put out as a Disney classic princess story. The plot points are familiar to say the least and the weak final message leaves you wanting to go back to the old greats like Up, Ratatouille or Wall-E. Because most of all where Brave falls short is in its character, unlike all the studios previous efforts there isn’t an element in Brave that sets it apart from anything else. More so, it brings elements that don’t push any boundaries, that sit nicely in the middle, not taking any risks and keeping everything safe.
On the other hand, the animation is, as always, stunning. The Scottish highlands by Pixar is almost as pretty as Bora Bora by god. The contrasting greens, the bright orange hair, the blue forest spirits everything looks amazing and it does prove that in terms of animation Pixar certainly do rule the roost. The dialogue isn’t all that bad and there are a number of decent jokes even if the laughter remains very light, in terms of the usual Disney princess stories it is just as strong as most, it would quite easily sit along the line of classic Disney cartoons but when put up against Pixar’s back catalogue it, sadly, falls below par. Leaving the cinema my biggest fear is, have Pixar run out of good ideas, their first original in three years lacks anything, well, original next year’s offering will be another sequel and a sequel of Finding Nemo is also in the works plus some talk of a possible Toy Story 4 when will we get ourselves another truly great stand-alone Pixar film?