Monsters University - 6 stars out of 10
"Monsters University" just doesn't have the magic of other Pixar films. It feels like a long DVD bonus featurette. Whereas the Toy Story movies are all amazing in their own rite, this just makes for some nice supplemental material for the "Monsters, Inc." characters. Stealing several plot ideas from another poor sequel, "An Extremely Goofy Movie," this film transports several beloved characters into a family-friendly collegiate setting. The plot is nearly as original as "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," placing the monsters from several frats and sororities into a winner-take-all scare competition. If my sarcasm has not resonated, allow me to be blunt: I enjoyed this film but the story is very unoriginal and comes off as a poor man's "Monsters, Inc.", one of the most creative films that Pixar has ever produced. That being said, the voice acting of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, and Steve Buscemi is great as they alter their voices to sound like youthful versions of Sully, Mike, and Randall. Just like the original, the voice casting is excellent as Helen Mirren and Alfred Molina join the cast. The new monster characters, particularly the members of the Oozma Kappa fraternity, are hilarious and the true attraction for this film. I particularly like Don Carlton and his middle age mustache that just doesn't seem to fit in. The visual aspect of the film left a big impression on me. The use of the global illumination lighting system creates a realistic vision that I have never experienced. The backgrounds were so vivid that it literally looked like realistic animated monsters walking through our world. Even though "Monsters University" is unoriginal and a disappointment in comparison with its predecessor, its "global illumination" has set a new standard for realism in animated films and is truly a gamechanger.