Hi guys! I’m glad to be back from my week-long vacation, after the blog’s all-week, one-month anniversary special. I hope you enjoyed the small things I managed to whip up for you.
For me, seeing Monsters University on Friday was the perfect top-off of a successful celebration. What was that? Er… no sir, I’m not a child or childish. However….
Hi, I’m Oluwatobi. Did you have a healthy childhood like me? Please, tell me that, growing up, you at least had a taste of that fine blend of zany, inspired toons (kai! Those things on Cartoon Network today don’t qualify jare), coupled with outdoor games (gosh, who said soccer?) and wacky friends. You didn’t?! *faints*
Big Dreams Start Little: Little Mike Wazowski stealing the show at M, Inc. like me as a kid
If you’re “too adult” for animations, or suffer from any phobias, allergies, viruses or spiritual problems related to animations, you might want to make a U-turn right about now
before you give my other precious readers as I am pro-life.
Um, just checking that you saw what I did up there with the “pro-life” bit. This is an animation-themed post after all. Okay. Ahem.
Yeah, so Monsters University finally premiered in Nigeria last week. Ah!! If you know what these silly Nigerian distributors put me through before I got to see the film. Three weeks ago, that film house in Surulere (plenty pun intended) set September 6 as the premiering date, only for them to shift it to two weeks ago. Can you imagine? I phoned them to complain o. Yeske! Is it easy to be a fanatic? But of course the following week, MU was still “Coming Soon.” Still, my guys weren’t done playing — with a wicked winning streak — the game of most inefficient cinema.
Final straw was last Friday, these people put MU up on their online schedule with 3 time slots, only to take it down minutes after. *facepalm* I didn’t need Dr Phil to tell me to save myself the headache and go to the Yaba cinema that knew what they were doing.
A Monstrous Wait: Monsters University hit Nigerian cinemas 3 months after its international release!
You see? Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (by lack of gratification), I will fear no evil. And so, come what
may did, I saw MU! You’ll forgive my bias though if you share my sheer joy in the modest ingenuity that is Pixar, and her darling, cinematic babies. Gosh, you shoulda seen my eerie walk into that theatre. Almost like Mike did college in the beginning of the film, googly-eyed and all.
“Finally!”: Mike makes his grand MU entrance
I like the premise of this film. Taken, it’s not quite as original as the average Pixar offering (even Cars, a critical low for the film studio), but it does prove to be a story worth being told. Critic Bill Goodykoontz called it “one of those movies that has absolutely no reason to exist, but once you’ve seen it, you’re kind of glad it does,” even giving the film three and a half stars out of five. Have you seen the critical response of any other animated movie out this year? Trust me, MU comes tops, by (very) far!
Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus reads that it “doesn’t scale the heights of Pixar’s finest efforts, but Monsters University is still funny and thoughtful family entertainment for viewers of any age.” And I totally agree. However, all sentiment aside, I will say, having seen the first film (released in 2001) only weeks before this, MU resonates better with me than most people, I’m sure.
A Pixar Pioneer: Monsters, Inc. is the third original film from animation superpower Pixar
Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
Best Friends For Never: Mike and Sulley don’t exactly hit it off at first
Like I was saying earlier, the Monsters University story is a worthwhile one. One of the richer inspirations for its comedic, and paradoxically its dramatic, elements are derived from Oozma Kappa, the fraternity-ful of social misfits who, like the average monster, aspire to scarer status. (Hey, I think I’m on to a little Pixar story secret though. Call it a hunch, but I’m pretty sure that, many years from now, when Mike and Sulley help Monstropolis discover “clean energy” in children’s laughter, these weirdos won’t exactly be missing out on much. For all you know, Art and the rest of OK may be Monstropolis’ lucky charm, making all the big bucks and magazine covers. Insightful hypothesis, no? Well, if there’s ever a second sequel set in the future of Monsters, Inc…. *knowing wink*)
They’re OK: The Brothers of the Oozma Kappa fraternity
One major lesson of this story for me is this: “if you dream it, it’ll happen; but most likely never the way you expected it.” Mike was sure as deodorant that he could be a scarer. But, quite like real life, he would soon find out that what destiny really is is not all hard work and resilience. Just as much, it’s knowing that life’s unpleasant realities are designed to make you your best, and then become the world’s solution. You see, to fulfil his destiny, Mike didn’t need to be a scarer. Instead, in a funny way, he needed to be scared. To fear failure so much so that he would always keep going the extra mile to prove, in his words, “that I am something special.”
Big and Bad: You remember that big slow-mo entrance the scarers do at Monsters, Inc… Hehe.
I admire Mike, and not just because I see a lot of myself in him (the reject parts of him more than any other). This guy was totally fearless. You would hardly believe that a little green thing with limbs could publicly and confidently stand against the illustrious Dean Hardscrabble of the School of Scaring to wager his way back into her programme, under terribly disadvantageous odds. Thus was the size of Mike’s confidence, and his entire personality. Why then wouldn’t James P. Sullivan of the gigantic Sullivan name (pun intended) see fit to ride on the waves of this fast-talking, one-eyed “monsterlet’s” never-say-die spirit.
No Hardscrabble: Mike wagers with MU’s legendary Dean of Scaring School
But this story, on the surface about Mike alone, is just as much Sulley’s. His is a lesson of self-realisation, which calls to mind the setting — college, where self-realisation, amid all of the partying, often prevails. With a last name like his (and possibly a mansion filled with butlers to call home), he has no clue what kind of world Mike is coming from. But much worse is his not knowing who he himself is. But he soon will when he’s faced with forever losing the one little guy who was never afraid to stand up to him, and then he has to fight fears he never even thought he had.
Scaring Circles: Masterful Mike, Sloppy Sulley
Long story short, I love Monsters University and its themes of best friendship (carried on from the first film), destiny, self discovery, team spirit, sacrifice and definitely fear(lessness) that abound. Young or old, animation fan or foe, monster or human, this one’s a story everything and everyone needs to hear again and again.
All pictures are copyright ownership of Pixar Animation Studios