The movie starts with Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) as a little tyke, taking a school field trip to Monster’s, Inc., where his dream to be a professional Scarer is born. Flash forward 10 years, and he’s chosen to enroll at Monsters University instead of its rival school, Fear Tech.
But scaring doesn’t come easily to Mike, unlike the arrogant Sulley (John Goodman), whose size and deep vocal timbre make him a natural spooker. Mike refuses to give up, however, and knows that hard work and hitting the books will help him achieve his goals of getting paid to freak out the kids of Monstropolis.
Sulley, on the other hand, is hardly working. His lazy attitude irks Mike to no end. To make life worse for Mike, Sulley garners the attention of legendary Scarer, Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) while our cuddly Cyclops fails to impress her.
Inspired by the Amazonian giant centipede, Hardscrabble, with 30 legs and bat-like wings, is as beautiful as she in intimidating. When both Mike and Sulley unexpectedly get kicked out of Scare School, they must learn to work together on a team with other misfit monsters in hopes of getting back into Hardscrabble’s good graces.
What’s different about this kids’ movie, and perhaps the most interesting part of the story, is that it explores what happens when Mike and Sulley’s dreams get derailed. The filmmakers could have easily made the ending trite and predictable, but instead they chose to challenge these beloved characters all while remaining positive and upbeat.
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