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My roommate has previously remarked upon the impeccable timing they have at Disney Pixar. Much in the way Andy’s stages of life mirrored the progression of the first Toy Story audience, the release of Monsters University came smack bang at the midpoint of my law degree. And so like the rest of the not quite adolescent crowd, I made my way to the cinemas on George St to reacquaint myself with Mike and Sulley.
Now don’t let the title mislead you. I loved the movie. I mean was there reason not to? First the hilarious one-liners spoken by the adorably round, ferociously feathered and scheming slicks had me laughing in part at the wit and in part ‘aww look at the itty bitty ten foot tall grizzly purple-blue monster trying to say something poignant’. Pixar also seems to have this charm of making every single one of their characters look completely squishable in a way their plushie merchandise cannot come close to replicating. Imagine a twelve year old’s dismay upon receiving a Sulley pencil case and realising that conceptual Sulley fur looked that much softer and more well groomed compared to the synthetic fibres of Made in China. Not to mention after the charming setting of the Monsters Inc factory in its predecessor film, us viewers were frothing at the mouth for the opportunity to see more of the monster world, and quite certainly the bright and crisp graphics of the campus wonderland did not disappoint. So lurid colour schemes, adorablly weird things and lots of funnies. At every point in the movie I found myself asking the same question over and over again, where do I enrol?
It is despite all of the above that I ended up leaving the movie quite deflated. As a child I was brought up to believe that in a game of rock paper scissors, hard work trumps adversity always. That no matter who you are or what you do, if you work at it enough you will succeed at it eventually. When Mike approached the very last leg of the Scare-a-Thon I found every fibre of my body to actually be rooting for him. Understanding the mechanics of what makes a good movie I still wanted it to just end here with all the strength and endurance he had mustered to be released at this one moment. So when Sulley’s deception was discovered I was probably as bitterly disappointed as Mike himself. Very much unlike the joyful tears I wept for Dug’s happiness at being accepted by Carl or the unbearable burrito of sadness I wrapped myself in when Eve wouldn’t wake up for Wall-E, this so called happy ending of all kids movies felt more sobering rather than the mug full of heart warming endorphins I expected.
I’m not entirely sure how others feel about the film. But I think most of us have a little Mike Wazowski within us. Because even the most ferocious of athletes among us have an Achille’s heel that we wished did not exist as an exploitation of our weaknesses. You may argue that Mike got into Monsters Inc eventually and on his own terms yet through the same strand of hard work. But (may it be due to my own stubbornness) I wanted it to be possible for him to win regardless through any play because he had that element of hard work.
And it isn’t so much that I have never known that despite your best efforts you can’t always get what you want. It’s just a little more confronting where the cartoon films that have for so long shrouded me in my security blanket of hope are now teaching the more brutal lessons in life. In many ways I can see how this shift in perspective in kid’s film while not as refreshing, is at least a better depiction of the real world. The recent other Pixar film, Wreck-It-Ralph too possesses the same motif that you shouldn’t try to be something you’re not even if that something is being a Good Guy. But I’m used to the chills I get from watching the climbing scene in Mulan despite the impossibility of a typically domesticated woman besting a fleet of soldiers before even completing training.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t come to kids movies for a reality check, I come for some warm fuzzies and right now it looks like I’m probably not MU material after all. Better try Fear Tech
nology of Sydney