Friday, 2 August 2013

Enrolling to Monsters University

Monsters University
Director: Dan Scanlon
Run Time: 103 Minutes
Genre: Animated/Adventure/Comedy

I saw Monsters University recently and now I've decided to write my thoughts on it (This isn't very much of a review, it really is more of just my thoughts). Now, as a guy who wants to be an animator, I have companies I like and companies I dislike - looking at you, Disney (as it is now, anyway). I do try to keep an unbiased opinion, but if you haven't already guessed, I really, really love Pixar.

So needless to say, it was fantastic! I honestly loved every second of it. The thing I loved most about it though, was the fact that it wasn't just an underdog story. I had this idea throughout the whole thing that the ending was just going to be Mike training some monsters - with no aptitude for scaring - to win the Scare Games. And I was quite disappointed when I was right.

Then came the plot twist. But we'll get to that.

First of all, it was a tiny thing, but I loved the fact that they kept the opening title sequence in the same style as Monsters Inc.'s. Brilliant little touch. Now, onto the film. The movie opens up introducing a young Mike as the obvious protagonist. Shown to not fit in anywhere and told he doesn't belong. Not belonging is a key theme throughout the film.

As the film progresses, it becomes clear to the audience that this is a film about trying to change who you are through dedication and hard work. However, despite everything, this doesn't work. No matter how hard they try, they can't change themselves. What they can do, is discover things about themselves along the way and use them to their advantage, for example Don Carlton's suckers. The film gradually transitions from trying to change who you are, to accepting who you are. Although, this transition never applies to Mike.

There's something very interesting about the entire theme of a movie changing, all of the characters realising that they can't change themselves, yet the only one who hasn't realised is the main character.

While everyone else learns over time, Mike has to learn the blunt, cold, hard way.

Now, remember, this is not a generic underdog-wins-it-all story. Far from it. This is a story about working your way up from the bottom, when you have nothing to lose. That is what this film is really about. I'm gonna be really cheesy and horrible now.
"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them."
- William Shakespeare
As if I needed to say who's quote that is. Anyway, this story is very much about those who achieve greatness through hard work. If you watch it, you'll understand the point I'm trying to stress here. Pixar have left a very strong message in there.

You cannot change who you are. But you can learn to use the traits you already have to help you.

And no matter how hard you try to learn something, no matter how much you know about the fundamentals of a subject, you might not be very good at it. For example, you might know all there is to know about a specific martial art, but when it comes to actually doing it, you might find that you're hopeless at applying the knowledge. Infact, an even better example, in the LucasArts Computer Graphics Group (now known as Pixar) John Lasseter was the only actual animator there. He was surrounded by all of these people with PhDs and a highly extensive knowledge of animation, but they couldn't actually animate to save their lives. Get it?

That's exactly what this film is about.

What you can do with that knowledge though, is use it to assist those who can do it. Be the brains behind the show.

All in all, the message behind Monsters University is that just because your skills aren't suited to do a certain thing, it doesn't mean they're not needed somewhere else. Everyone has different things that they're good at.

Sorry if this didn't make much sense I couldn't really figure out what to write...

Overall Rating: 4/5

Thanks for reading!

- Jake