Ratatouille. WALL-E. Up. Toy Story 3. Four straight years, four straight movies where Pixar brought it. From 2007 to 2010, the animation studio produced top notch films (even garnering Academy Award nominations for Best Picture with Up and Toy Story 3) that all audiences could love (and, full disclosure, almost cry at).
Sadly, Pixar's streak of brilliance ended with the bland Cars 2 in 2011. Brave, a film that just couldn't match the emotional cores of a WALL-E or Toy Story 3, left Pixar middling with decent films that didn't live up to the extremely high expectations thrust upon the studio. This summer, Pixar looks ready to return to their roots with a prequel of the massive hit Monsters, Inc. with Monsters University. If the new trailer is any indication, it seems Pixar is going to have another massive hit. (See the Monsters University's first trailer here.)
The last time we saw Scarer-extraordinaire James "Sulley" Sullivan and Mike Wazowski (voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal respectively), they had saved the Monsters Inc. factory from Randall and discovered (spoiler alert) that children's laughs could generate more power than their screams. In Monsters University, we'll head back in time to see what Sulley and Wazowski were like in their college days.
The trailer shows that Pixar has done its homework regarding how to make a college themed movie. The panning shot overlooking the entire university that fades into shots of student life sets the stage immediately. It looks like it could be Van Wilder but with orange, slimy monsters instead of hungover, tired students. Add in the band of misfits that Sully and Wozniak befriend and it's almost like Old School. The antics and pranks seem to be a plenty.
The question that remains is who will be the villain? While Pixar lets the audience believe that the plot may be revolving around Wazowski and Sullivan becoming friends, its doubtful this will engulf the movie's main storyline. The dragon professor is a good bet as someone to look out for, but if we've learned anything from other college flicks, that we didn't see a dean of any sort could mean we have yet to see the antagonist. The safe bet is that Sulley and Wazowski will be working together to save the school from someone or some monster.
Pixar's themes often evoke feelings of growing up, but mostly deal with the younger and older generations (see: Up). Rarely have they dived into the actual process of it. One can only hope that in Monsters University, Pixar will be dealing with the process of turning into an adult. Hopefully, they'll drive home another one of their common themes as well: staying young.
A quick list of take-aways from the trailer:
- Wazowski's retainer.
- Wazowski's ID.
- Wazowski's gym attire. (The writers must not like Wazowski.)
- The slug attempting to slide/run to class on the first day (although the huge slug seemed to have no issue sliding quickly across the football field).
- On first listen, I thought the busdriver's voice was Roz's voice from the original Monsters, Inc.
- The possibility of Sulley doing a keg stand.
Monsters University will hit theaters on June 21.