Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is a young and cute one-eyed green monster who dreams of bigger things. After a class trip to Monsters Inc. where he meets a ‘scarer’ voiced by John Krasinski, Mike decides that he too will become one of the most prestigious roles in the monster world, a scarer; someone who ventures into the toxic world of the humans and collects the scream energy needed to power their world. However, Mike is small and unintimidating, focusing on studying textbooks to become the next great scarer.
When Mike gets his acceptance to Monster’s University, he is instantly thrilled and on the right course to fulfill his dreams, until he collides with James P. Sullivan (John Goodman). Sullivan, the son of a famous scarer, seems to have coasted on his family name and scary-looks for most of his life. After a fight with Mike in class, the fearsome Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) throws the two of them out of the scare program entirely, and so to prove their worth the two young monsters must team up with each other and a rag-tag group of misfits in the small fraternity Oozma Kappa, and together this band of monsters must prove to the campus that they can fit in, and that they are meant for greater things. This involves entering in the annual “Scare Games”, a competition between fraternities and sororities to prove which team consists of the greatest scarers on campus, where Oozma Kappa must band together if they want to succeed; meaning Mike and Sullivan have to start getting along.
Monsters University serves as an effective prequel in that it flushes out Mike and Sulley’s characters with far more depth, helping our understanding of the beginnings of their lasting friendship. While not the most original work to come from Pixar studios, the animation is still stellar and there are a handful of loveable new characters to be experienced here. Featuring a story about friendship (and to an extent the experience of getting older), Monsters University is a welcome addition to the list of Pixar graduates, though we know this studio to be capable of far greater.