Movie Review – Monsters University

Monsters University

Directed by Dan Scanlon

Starring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Aubrey Plaza, Tyler Labine, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, and Steve Buscemi.

Backstory

Pixar’s been in a bit of a slump lately. Cars 2…well, the less said the better. And Brave had a lot of great ideas, but never really gelled. So I did not have great expectations for Monsters University. I mean, of the possible Pixar sequels they could make, a prequel to Monsters Inc was near the bottom of the list for me. But still, I’m a Pixar fan, and I’ll be there for pretty much anything they do, and I was mildly curious about expanding the Monster universe. Could Pixar start reclaiming their former glory?

Plot

Ever since he was a little monster, Mike Wazowski has dreamed of being a scarer…those elite monsters who venture into the human world to scare children and collect their screams for energy. After studying hard and working hard, Mike has gained acceptance into the most prestigious school of scaring, Monsters University. But early on, Mike gains a rival in legacy student James P. Sullivan, who thinks he can just coast through school on his family name. And they’re both stunned when they flunk out of the scare program at the end of the first semester. But Mike finds a loophole and makes a wager with the dean. If Mike and his team win the annual Scare Games competition, to find the scariest frat/sorority on campus, they’ll be allowed back in the program. Needing a team, Mike and Sully join last place frat Oozma Kappa. Will Mike’s book smarts and Sully’s street smarts be enough to whip Oozma Kappa into shape and win the Scare Games? Will Mike and Sully ever put aside their differences and become the best friends we saw in Monsters Inc?

What I Liked

They do a very good job of re-introducing the monster world and making children threatening again. And there’s some genuine emotion at play at the film’s climax, which I felt was missing in Pixar’s last two outings. There’s some clever gags, some new quirks to the monster world that I liked. And the new characters are good, as Helen Mirren makes a very menacing dean who’s reputation as one of the top scarers is well-earned.

What I Didn’t Like

There is a feeling of having seen it all before hanging over the film. And you know, as a Pixar junkie, you’re getting a little bored with the film when you start counting down to when John Ratzenburger is going make his cameo.

Final Assessment

I actually found it to be very satisfying, and it feels like Pixar is heading back in the right direction.

3 Nibs

Movie Review – Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russel Crowe, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, and Christopher Meloni.

Backstory

I was so ready for this movie. It was time Superman got a reboot for the big screen. I understand, the Richard Donner films are quite revered, but that’s not Superman anymore. The character has grown and evolved in the 30 years since that film. And it was time the movies reflected those changes. But everything I heard about reflecting those changes did frighten me a little. They always wanted to go dark and gritty. And when Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, the director and writer of the Dark Knight Trilogy, had an idea and it got the green light, I knew Superman was going dark and gritty. Would Superman work in a dark and gritty world?

Plot

Clark Kent grew up to be a drifter…a man of two worlds, never sure of his place. Hot on his trail is Lois Lane, tracing reports of a mysterious man who performs superhuman feats to save the innocent and then moves on. Their journey eventually takes them to the Arctic and a downed alien spacecraft where Clark learns of his alien heritage. But, in doing so, Clark accidentally activates a beacon, and soon General Zod, a criminal from his home planet of Krypton, comes looking for him. In order to defeat this threat, Clark must finally reveal himself to the world. Is the planet ready for this super man, or will the humans be just as deadly to Clark as General Zod?

What I Liked

At last, we get a film where Superman is able to just cut loose and beat the crap out of people with his super strength. The casting is great. Cavill is a great Superman and Amy Adams is a wonderful Lois Lane. And I like that they went more in a sci-fi direction. I love that Krypton is an alien world and the crystal, sterile planet we’ve always gotten. With General Zod as the villain, they pretty much made this an alien invasion film. And it moves at a quick pace. Even though it’s 2.5 hours, it moves very quick.

What I Didn’t Like

They make a few changes I don’t agree with. Pa Kent does some things that don’t seem very Pa Kent like. And there’s this line that Superman never crosses, and to have him cross it at the end was shocking. And man, what’s with the shaky cam, Zack Snyder? Can’t even keep the camera still for a simple dialogue scene?

Final Assessment

I did enjoy it, if it still lacks the sense of fun that most Marvel movies have.

3 Nibs

Summer Special: Blue Skies

U62: The TargYou know what I haven’t done in a while?  A podcast.

I felt the itch to do one.  I’m been itching for a while, but today is when I finally found the energy to scratch, and I pumped out my Summer Special: Blue Skies.

Some of the things I rant about in this one:

  • The usual excuse-making as to the big gap between episodes
  • A request that I should do a What’s Wrong With Society on everything I hated about Athabasca
  • A request that I do another Mark Tastes Random Things, so I sample A&W’s Sweet Potato French Fries
  • I share why Star Trek Into Darkness made my head explode
  • And some thoughts on the series that was Doctor Who 

It was fun getting back into the groove.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep this up, but I’ll do what I can for as long as I can.  Thanks for listening!

Download here!

And we got iTunes!