Pixar have had a rather rough time of it as of late. Cars 2 was what it was, I think it was very fun and entertaining, but, as people frequently cited, not quite up to the level of films like Toy Story or Ratatoulle; Brave had some directorial trouble, (but was still great) the critical problems it faced were critics still bitter over Cars 2. It's ironic, then, that the film which seems to have restored most critics' griping is in fact another sequel. Well, prequel.
The first wave of reviews for Pixar's fourteenth feature film are beginning to surface online, and, save a few, critics seem pretty high on it. Monsters University, is a prequel to the 2001 original, Monsters, Inc., with Bleeding Cool's Brendon Connelly praising it and saying "Monsters University Is A Pixar Classic And Swerves The Typical Prequel Pitfalls Brilliantly," also adding:
"People do like to rank films, I find. Let’s play along for a second as Monsters University can be ranked on a number of axes.
As far as Pixar films go, it’s the funniest and most engaging since The Incredibles, and the most emotionally affecting since Finding Nemo or possibly even Monsters Inc." [Full review here]
|Monstrers University director, Dan Scanlon|
HuffPost's Greg Wetherall calls Monsters U a "More Than Worthy Prequel With Bags of Gags and Tons of Heart," writing:
"Director Dan Scanlon has managed the unlikely in this outing; he has, at the very least, matched the bar of the film's forebear. In these particular eyes, he's toppled it. This is a film that will live long after its cinema release and should be welcomed with open arms into homes across the world. Only a curmudgeon would not be melted by the exuberance and execution of Monsters University -- a film that is truly laugh-out loud funny, and is armed with an equally touching coda of a moral lesson that avoids the precipice of melodrama." [Full review here]
Variety's Justin Chang (who also called The Blue Umbrellla "a lovely short whose use of highly photorealistic animation techniques yields a sweet, rain-washed symphony of random kindness and unexpected romance") said of MU: "This zippy, bright-minded prequel scarcely needed to exist, yet makes for perfectly agreeable entertainment now that it does".
Some big-name reviewers aren't as positive though, with The Guardian's Henry Barnes labelling it "a fun, disposable watch." There seems to be a mix of people saying it's emotional, clever, and, of course, funny, but there are a few, too, protesting all but the humour; THR's head reviewer, Todd McCarthy, in fact caustically calls it "the third consecutive less-than-first-class Pixar entry." Ouch.
The general consensus seems positive though, and if there's one thing we here at A113Animation take for a fact is that In Pixar We Trust. Americans can make their minds up for themselves next Friday, 21st June, while us Britons will have to wait until 12th July.