Monster's Ball

Monster’s Ball

I’ve always thought that my four years of college were the best years of my life. Living on my own, experiencing life, partying, getting into trouble every now and then, oh yeah, and learning. Not just book learning, but also learning what I’m made of, dealing with decisions that have to be made, wondering if I’m good enough to overcome challenges that come my way.

Well, it turns out that monsters are burdened with these issues as well. Monsters University is an enjoyable sequel that surpasses the original. We meet one-eyed Mike Wasowski (Billy Crytal) and big blue Jim “Sully” Sullivan (John Goodman) before they become partners and they don’t really hit it off at the beginning. They both aspire to be scarers at Monsters Inc.; Mike pushes himself as an overachiever, perhaps because he grew up as an unpopular outsider and his ability to be scary is always in question; while Sully, who is actually scary, chooses to skate on his alumnus dad’s reputation.

The movie provides genuine laughs, particularly when the two future best friends become members of Oozma Kappa fraternity, which consists of a bunch of misfit monsters. The movie becomes Revenge Of The Nerds with claws and fangs. Through a series of mishaps, Mike and Sully are expelled from the Scarer School on the campus of Monsters U. but then cut a deal with the dean, a mix between a millipede and a dragon (played icily by Helen Mirren), wherein if they win the all-campus Scare Games, they’ll be allowed back in the school. Seeing Mike and Sully begrudgingly partner up to whip their brothers into shape and compete in the games is the source of all the fun.

As usual, Pixar delivers stunning CG animation and the 3D is worth paying for. All the voice talent put in top notch performances. As a bonus, there’s an absolutely gorgeous animated short called “Blue Umbrella” that rolls before the feature. The visuals blew me away.

I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing this initially. My six year old son had a good week, so I decided to treat him to a movie and he chose this one. I wasn’t interested all that much because of the nearly twelve year span since the original was released. But I think I enjoyed it more than my son. I know I laughed a lot more. Below is an extended clip of a scene that cracked me up. Watching it now, you will rob yourself of a good laugh during the film, but I wanted to provide it anyway. When it’s time to compile my five favorite films for the Geeked Out year end podcast, I’m pretty sure this one will be on the list. 4/5 reels

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