I have to be honest here. I like Monsters University more than I like Monsters Inc. and I said what I said. What I will say is that, obviously, we needed Monsters Inc. in order to appreciate what we got in Monsters University.
Monsters University is the backstory to the dynamic duo that is Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan AKA Sully, voiced by Bill Crystal and John Goodman respectively, and their rivalry with Randall Boggs, brilliantly voiced by Steve Buscemi who I don’t think we talk about enough. I want to stop and say that Steve Buscemi as Randall is almost as good as Billy Crystal as Mike. We really didn’t like Randall and I credit Buscemi with that.
To take the concept of monsters that go to a school specifically to learn various tactics to scare small children to power their city WAS BRILLIANT! They took all the college cliches and turned them on their heads. For example…
Keep in mind, he IS moving and we know he will not make it to class. Also…
We ALL had that teacher in college that was THIS dry. I have a professor and those that were mass comm students at VCU know who i’m talking about. I will say no names.
All of what we thought we knew in Monsters Inc. was crushed in Monsters University. Sully and Mike were not two peas in a pod. They didn’t even like each other. Randall wasn’t always awful AND he was a nerd until he joined a frat. But before we get into all of that, I want to talk about a very crucial part of the movie that I’m sure you all overlooked. Do you remember that moment when you knew what you were doing was what you were meant to do or the time you looked at someone and knew that was the person you belonged with? That was the experience and feeling Mike had when he visited Monsters Inc. for the first time during a field trip as a child. From the moment he wandered into that random child’s bedroom and watched someone like him in action, Mike knew what he was meant to do, be a scarer.
But, like some of us who went to college, life had other plans. As Dean Hardscrabble said, Mike was not conventionally scary. He had all the knowledge but didn’t look like a monster who a child would be terrified to see at the foot of their bed. As we saw in Monsters Inc., he was finally able to find something he excelled at that made the city much more sustainable and made everyone happier. If Mike had the smarts and no scare, Sully was the exact opposite and not in a good way. His dad was the scarer, and unlike Mike, Sully was scary; however, he didn’t think he needed the same knowledge that Mike worked so hard to possess because he was a “Sullivan.” Turns out, they were both wrong and they needed each other to figure that out. They also needed each other to, sort of, navigate into their adulthood.
What I love most about this film is the fact that, spoiler, they both end up being kicked out of school but they don’t just get on the bus and go home. They decide to stay and figure out a way to get achieve their dreams of working on the scare floor. There isn’t just one way to success and the path we think will get us there isn’t always the right one. These are the messages we are mean to get from this film. Did I miss any?
I don’t know if it was because of the experience I had in college or because I get a kick out of finding adult content in children’s movies but Monsters University was way funnier than Monsters Inc. to me.
The clip below is my favorite clip from the entire movie. Now, I have a few scenes that I love including the competition scenes but this initiation scene is HILARIOUS to me. I remember laughing so hard at this scene and it is literally because of the mom washing clothes.
Here’s the question I want to leave everyone with. Would it have been better for Monsters University to be first instead of Monsters Inc? For me, personally, I think I would have appreciated the latter more if it had been reversed but it works both ways. However, what ever happened to their college buddies? We don’t see them in Monsters Inc., and after watching the sequel, well prequel, I wanted to be able to go back and say, “Hey, that so and so from Monsters University!” I was not.
Go rewatch both now on Disney+!