Monsters University, it’s great, it’s the best thing Pixar’s brought out in the past three years leading up to it. It’s enjoyable, it’s well casted and it’s cute without being too cheesy. It’s also the third miss in a row for Pixar.
MU, just like Brave (and unlike Cars 2) is filled with merit, and well worth watching. But in 1995 when Pixar came out swinging with Toy Story, people expect that sort of a trend to continue. Which it did! Right up until 2006, when they released their seventh film (Cars); the first film they’d gotten behind that didn’t blow audiences world wide out of the Goddamn water. Pixar’s limped up and down the approval ladder ever since, with MU sitting comfortably somewhere in the middle.
It is a great film. Especially for a kids’ film, especially for a prequel, all of that, but it is not the return to greatness audiences keep hoping for. It plays it safe, it lulls in the dreary, rarely well-pulled-off format of “College Comedy” (which is again, a safe area to sit in). It may not be as triumphant as the original, but it’s not all together disappointing either.
The film does what virtually any film with large amount of money behind it does: It stands in front of you for an hour and a half, does its job in the entertainment industry of “entertaining” you, then it sidles out, leaving you smiling, but not thoroughly satisfied. It takes as few risks as possible, and vehemently avoids anything new, just in case it pisses people off, and risks not making their money back.
It’s fine, people of the world are used to this, it’s a fun ride, and then it’s done. Worth your money, worth your time, but not what people have come to expect from the powerhouse of Pixar’s heyday.