Entering their freshman year at Monsters University, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James “Sully” P. Sullivan (John Goodman) are stuck together as roommates. But with both of them as scaring majors, only one of them can be top dog. It’s brain versus brawn in this rivalry that will eventually blossom into a lifelong friendship.
After two consecutive lackluster films, Pixar is in dire need of a home run. Set to release June 21, 2013, is Monsters University the one that’s going to turn it around for the comparative flops? In my humble opinion, no. While there is no doubt that Monsters University will be full of entertaining moments and will more than likely raise the bar from Brave and Cars 2, the fact is, the concept is pretty lazy.
In reality, many of those that will be attending the showing of Monsters University will not be children. Instead, they will be young adults who grew up on Pixar films, and more importantly, have fond memories of the first installment released nearly twelve years go. In many of these cases, these young adults will be around college age (some younger, some older). By setting the film in a college atmosphere, Pixar is ensuring that the audience will immediately connect with the material on a very superficial level. There will be no need for a suspension of disbelief, as a great deal of the audience will automatically relate to the content of the film. In short, Pixar has made it so that they do not have to spend much time on the setting of the film. Unlike previous films they have produced in which they brought the child-like world to the adults, they are instead bringing a more adult world to the children.
Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, it is almost guaranteed that the audience will be barraged with stereotypical college characters and incidents. It would be all too easy for Pixar to simply rehash images and scenes that have been presented in film for generations. Will they do this? Obviously, it is impossible to truly know at this point, but it would probably be a safe bet. Parties, Greek organizations, and roommate struggles are certain to make a handful of appearances throughout the film.
Of course we will all still grin and laugh at the reshaped moments as the monsters play them out before us. Yet Pixar is not known for simply repackaging old material. Rather, they have gained renown for setting a new standard of animated storytelling. Time will tell whether or not Monsters University will manage to maintain this legacy of writing, or simply fall in line with its dismal predecessors.