Tag Archives: monsters university

Despicable Me 2 Review

8 Jul
despicable me2

As always, I have problems naming these damn articles, so you’re going to have to settle for “Despicable Me 2 Review”

One awesome thing about babysitting is that I get paid to do fun stuff sometimes. I babysit on a regular basis, and a couple weeks ago I was basically paid to take the children to see Monsters University (it was my second viewing).  And like most Pixar movies, the movie was even greater on a second viewing, and I was able to pick up on details I missed the first time around, as well as being able to admire the design and animation and less on story (Since I knew what was going to happen).

A week later, I was asked to take the kids to the movies again, this time to see Despicable Me 2. I’ll be honest, I did not have plans to see this film in my free time with my own money. But if it was free, then heck yeah, I’ll see it.

Now, I have seen the first Despicable Me. It was fun, it was cute, it was kind of forgettable. To be honest. And I was also not at all surprised when I heard there was a sequel. Since the vast majority of animated films as of late are given sequels. Hell, How to Train Your Dragon has a TV show and has been commissioned like a bazillion sequels.  That’s just the way things are now.

I was stoaked (originally) about a sequel, because Al Pacino himself was actually going to be in the film! And I was all aboard for that, until my happiness was crushed when Pacino left the cast due to “creative differences”

al pachino

I was robbed a pacino

Anywho, all interest in the film was drained after he left. But if I’m being paid I’ll see it.

My biggest worry about this sequel is that they’d go overboard with the minions. All merchandise you see is for the minions, oh and guess what, the whole fricken marketing campaign for this film revolved around the minions.

Ugggggggggggh

Ugggggggggggh

I know, people like the minions. I think they’re alright, but they are just so overused and get annoying really fast. I’m happy to report that the minions weren’t as bad as I anticipated. They were integral to the stories plot, but there weren’t (too) many unnecessary scenes of them being goofy. So there’s that.

I’ll continue with more good news. This movie was a riot. I was CRACKING up. But what else can you expect from a film headlined by Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig. The film had a nice balance between dialogue and visual humor. I think the most funny party about the film is Steve Carell’s character (Gru) and his being an overprotective father now to the three adopted girls. So if you want to spend a good part of a hour and half laughing, then this movie is for you.

Also a little note to say that the set design of this film is fabulous. The designers really had a ball creating this contemporary world, but with a crazy twist. The Mall, Anti-Villians league headquarters, the Gru’s lair are so crazy and fun to look at. They went all out on that, very creative.

The movie is incredibly predictable, but at least I can laugh at Steve Carell being an idiot in animated form.

The movie is incredibly predictable, but at least I can laugh at Steve Carell being an idiot in animated form.

Now, the bad news. If you want to see a film with a plot that holds integrity and actually makes god damn sense in the first place, then skip this one. I don’t want to go into any spoilers. But basically we are told and SHOWN that the villain and his plan is physically indestructible. There is no way to defeat him using brawn. But all of that is forgotten later on in the film, when the villain is destroyed in the most convenient and simple matter. It wasn’t an “underdog” thing, it was just, well lazy. Lazy writing. See the film and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Oh, and there was a terrible fart joke. And I hate those.

I think maybe part of the reason I’m so unhappy with this film is that I saw it a week after Monsters University, which was a fucking clever and brilliant. Like Despicable Me 2, Monsters U is hilarious. But guess what, on top of that it had clever writing, a fantastic story, and a “I didn’t see that coming at all” ending that kept the viewer on their toes and wasn’t condescending at all. Despicable Me 2 wasn’t any of those things. I know, I know. It’s incredibly biased and unfair of me to compare the two. But I never said that I was a fair and unbiased reviewer. And I don’t intend to start being that. I just write how I feel.

Am I glad I saw Despicable Me 2? I am. It was funny, I laughed, I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t story wise it wasn’t fulfilling at all, and I won’t rush back to see it.

Oh and PS. They’re making making a spin off starring exclusively the Minions. It’s slated to be released next year. You can imagine that I won’t be in line for that film.

 

A Nostalgic Look at Monsters University

24 Jun

ok

For most of us, Monsters University was a very nostalgic experience. Because of this, I’m going to be a bit nostalgic and go down memory lane (Stay with me, it’s relevant).

When I was but a small inkling, I was crazy for one movie. Monsters, Inc. I remember having it on VHS. For a month after getting it, I watched it every single day. I had the Monsters Inc video game, and I religiously played it when not watching Monsters, Inc. Heck, I even watched the bonus features from it. Who watches the bonus features on video games?

The Nepal level pissed me off to no end.

The Nepal level pissed me off to no end.

To this day I am an avid Disney pin trader, and guess what my first pin was?  Boo from Monsters, Inc. I also want to take a moment and say that most kids who saw Monsters, Inc. found a connection with Boo because she was cute, Mike because he was funny, or Sully because he was brave. Oh no, not me. I had a weird fascination with Randall Boggs, the villain. I seriously thought he was the coolest. I’m sure that says something about me, that as a child I was fascinated with such a villainous and despicable creature. But that’s between me and my psychiatrist.

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Basically the reason why I like Steve Buscemi so much

I loved all Disney movies at that age, but I’m going to have to give credit to Monsters, Inc. for being the catalyst in my admiration of animation. It’s not surprising that I would eventually become a moderator on a Pixar fan site and write for an animation blog.

I actually remember seeing Monsters, Inc in theaters. I went with my neighbors on opening night. And 12 years later, I went to that exact same movie theater to see Monsters University on its opening day. So yes, I’m pretty nostalgic about that matter, which is perfect because this movie is a pretty nostalgic thing unto itself.

FLASHBACK, FLASHFORWARD

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If you are a Monsters, Inc fan then this film is especially a treat. There were a lot of great references to its predecessor. The first of which I noticed was the score. Pixar staple Randy Newman returns as the composer for this film. Several pieces of the music can be traced to Monsters, Inc. Especially the scenes involving the factory itself. The soundtrack also has amazing new pieces of music, and the end credits song is the headliner on my tumblr playlist at the moment.

In addition, some lines and dialogue were taken directly from Monsters, Inc. Word for word.  Pixar cameo staples such as AII3 and the Pizza Planet Truck make appearances as well. I was especially happy to see that Mike brought Little Mikey to college, but my favorite nod to the first film is easily Randall’s “Winds of Change” poster.

winds

If you don’t know the reference, then I am disapoint.

 And of course, there are a lot of familiar faces. It was a real treat to see the likes of George Sanderson, Waternoose, Roz, and the Abominable Snowman.  This film is fun on its own, but being familiar with Monsters, Inc will make this film much more enjoyable.

SOCIAL MEDIA AT ITS FINEST

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

I would definitely fit in with Oozma Kappa

I would just like to take a moment and applaud Pixar’s marketing department. Because they outdid it with social media. Any old movie studio can create some funny trailers and appealing posters. But oh no, Pixar won’t settle for that. They created a fully functional University Website. Because I spent the past year working on transferring to a University, I have seen my fair share of University websites. And Monsters University’s is completely accurate. They list the schools, the majors, the classes, even the fricken’ textbooks required. There’s a store where you can buy MU gear. The Greek Life gets a section, the faculty gets a section, the parents get a section.  You can read up on how MU’s football team is doing. Heck, there’s even a map and directions page.

And if that’s not enough. Pixar pranked its own website. On April Fools, the Monsters University website was ‘hacked’ by its rival school- Fear Tech.

Oh, and Pixar also created a tumblr account for a student at Monsters University- Grumblr. Grumblr is a “Monstropolis transplant, MU sophomore, and self-diagnosed coffee addict”. Grumblr posts about frustration when MU looses a sports game to what certain students are up to on campus. So kudos to Pixar, they definitely did a fantastic job drumming up interest for this movie (as if it wasn’t needed already!)

AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

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I enjoyed Monsters University way more than Pixar’s last two endeavors (Cars 2 and Brave). I thought that Brave was a sub par film, to be honest. There are a lot of reasons, but for this articles purpose I will focus on one. One reason why Pixar movies work so well is that they create entire new universes. In most Pixar films, we get to see the second lives of toys, cities and colonies for bugs, an alternate universe for Cars, or the Monster universe. And they don’t half ass it either. These universes have rules on what can and can’t work within them, and there is continuity. This is sort of Pixar’s niche- glimpses into new worlds is the basis of most of their films. There are exceptions, and Brave is the most notable. It was in world with a precise location and time. I applaud Pixar for going outside its niche, but it isn’t that Pixar ‘flair’ that most of us know and love. Creating new worlds is, and they have fun doing it.

Monsters University works so well because the studio expanded on the idea of the Monster Universe. We get to see a bit more of the factory itself, but we also get to see a previously unexplored idea- how Monsters get to Monsters Inc.  We see how doors to the human world are made, how great scarers are made, and even what birds in that world look like. This film is remarkably creative, and that in itself makes it incredibly enjoyable.

THE UNIVERSITY LIFE

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Poor Mike can never catch a break

This movie is especially fun if you’re a college student. I graduated last month from my community college, and I’m transferring to a University this fall. I actually had my orientation the day before I saw Monsters University. Don’t you love how the pieces fall together like that sometimes? So the film’s setting especially appealed to me, and peers who grew up with Monsters Inc, and are now college students themselves. There was defintely a lot of familiar sites. From the overly excited Orientation Leaders to the pre-finals coffee addicted students.   We also see a student who is incredibly anxious and optimistic to see his dreams come true, and we also see the overpowering pressure sense of fear should failure happen. This film is remarkably east to connect with if you’re a student.

A POWERFUL MESSAGE

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

~Alright, this next part has no outright spoilers. However, I will be talking about the overall theme of the movie, what the message was. I won’t be talking about plot points, but you might still want to avoid this part if you want to keep a blank slate before seeing the film~

Monsters University is unique in its message. Basically it’s, “Guess what, just because you put a lot of effort into something doesn’t mean you’ll succeed. There are some things you just can’t do. Not everyone’s dreams come true”. And I loved that. Too many films (notably from the House of Mouse) have messages along the lines of “If you believe in yourself, your dreams will come true”. While it’s good to believe in yourself and have a dream, in the real world things don’t work out the way you want them to. The fact is that there are some things we can’t change about ourselves. No matter how much we try. And that’s alright. Because everyone has their purpose, their place. Not everything in life will go according to your plan. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be happy or find new dreams. So thank you Pixar, for this very unique and realistic advice.

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I don’t know what else to say. Just go see Monsters University. I know that I will be seeing it again, and I can’t wait to see what details I notice the second time around.

P.S. Terri and Terry Perry were awesome.

terry and terri