Unpopular Opinions: Monsters University

Rule of Hollywood: Buddy Movies Are Funny.

Rule of Hollywood: Buddy Movies Are Funny.

So I’m going to admit to something right now, and everyone in the world is going to disagree with me.  And you know what?  That’s COMPLETELY OKAY.  But still, I’m working up to it; in part because it’s going to sound a lot more “definite” than it really is.  Well… I guess I’ll just spit it out there and be blunt, and then hedge my way defensively through the rest of my post.
So here it is.  Ahem.  Um…

I have misgivings about “Monsters University”.

Okay, so I said it. Now before you kill me, or think “OMG Rebecca hates a movie that hasn’t even come out yet!!” or even just, more rationally, think “Yeah, you know, I’m not worried… I think it’ll be good, because Pixar is usually good anyway”, let me say one really important thing: I think that too. I’m not worried that it won’t be good. I’m sure it’s going to be funny, emotionally resonant, and very, very, very entertaining. Oh, and awesome to look at. *G*

I’m not worried about MU, I have misgivings about it.

So. I’ll explain what I’m talking about, though it probably won’t come across all that well… See, I just… well. I read the general synopsis of the plot and while I knew it was a “prologue” taking place before Monsters, Inc, I didn’t have a lot of details. What was a disappointment to me was to find that it’s a kind of a standard story – Jocks vs. the Nerds and they discover that they get along and become best friends. Well, I guess that SPECIFIC story hasn’t been done, but let me put it another way: a college story about jocks vs. nerds teaming up; also a story about two guys who don’t like each other much at first, working together and becoming the best of friends. That second one, see, that was called “Toy Story”.

Before you say it, I know. I know already. I know that I’m reacting to a theme of what will be a quite different movie. I know that there are only so many ideas and themes out there, and if we never reused any we’d never have anything new, b/c there just aren’t many original ideas left. I know that they can take a theme or idea and reshape it. It’s more sort of the fact that Pixar has done this idea/theme before. More than once actually, but it’s most closely related to Toy Story; and one of the things that appealed to me about Monsters, Inc was that we came into it with this buddy story between Mike and Sulley, who despite their differences are a great team and close friends. I guess the only way to show the beginning of that friendship and make it interesting is by having them NOT get along at first, otherwise it’s just “two guys who meet in school and hang out and like each other” which isn’t a whole lot of movie.

But still I can’t get past this. All Pixar movies have a theme to them beneath the plot, and this theme is such an echo of their first theme. Protagonist who tries hard and knows his stuff gets upstaged by cool popular guy and hijinks ensue until they are forced to work together and come to understand how alike they are. …Wheee. That’s different from the mismatched comedy duo of Dory and Marlin, or … uh… any of the others…? 😉

But in spite of that misgiving feeling nagging at the back of my skull, I still know that the writing will be great, the direction will be excellent, and a lot of people will be very, very happy with this movie. Probably including me. I’m not COMPLAINING, I’m just… vocalizing. 🙂

I will admit that this image cracks me up.

I will admit that this image cracks me up.

OH! Okay, one thing I am complaining about. You know how in the first movie their names are all just Regular Ol’ Joe names? Bill, Celia, Randall, Mr. Waternuss, James P. Sullivan and Michael Wazowski? I’m probably jumping the gun but the name “Dean Hardscrabble” gets under my skin for exactly this reason. The fact that they didn’t get “cute” and give everyone in MI a “Monster-Pun” name is one of the things I really LIKE about it. Lots of visual gags but normal, every-joe names. Even Waternuss is fancy but not “cute”; it shows that he’s an upperclass guy, white collar instead of blue collar. It contrasts against Sullivan and Wazowski, but it’s not actually a pun. Now, Dean Hardscrabble… that’s not really a Monstery pun but it is still “cute”. I think it’s a reference to college farce movies, rather than an effort to be monstery, but it still kind of pokes under my skin and wiggles around there uncomfortably. So I guess that’s a complaint, but I will happily admit that – hey! – I haven’t seen the movie and this assumption of mine might be REALLY, REALLY WRONG! I’ll take that name stuff back happily if that’s the case, and there’s a good chance it is. 🙂

As for the “frenemies” aspect, well… I doubt I’m wrong on that. I also doubt anyone, including me, is going to mind because I don’t think it means they can’t do a good movie. It’ll probably be a somewhat fresh take. But it remains to be seen how closely it will remind me of Woody and Buzz… Here’s hoping not at all once I’m immersed in the film’s reality. 🙂 Here’s to Pixar! I haven’t loved every one of your movies but many of the ones I have SEEN have been among my faves. 😀

To appease you, here are the trailers for the movie that have been released so far!  Enjoy! 😀

***All of the above is my opinion only, and is not meant to represent anyone else’s views, nor is it meant to try to invalidate anyone else’s opinion. Thanks!