Slowly but surely as the months press on, finals week reveals its anxiety-inducing capabilities. Although we have Thanksgiving break to look forward to before that dreaded week, the knowledge that soon we will be subject to timed writing and suffocating equations puts a small damper on the attitudes of students.
I too find myself grudgingly awaiting the gloomy week of finals, thinking to myself, “who expected college to be like this?” Of course, finals are important and essential to the growth of student academics, but how nice would it be if we could sit back, relax, and SCARE! I call students here at McMurry to forget about their dreaded wait for finals, and channel their thoughts into the fantastical film, “Monsters University!”
Beloved characters Mike Wasowski and James P. Sullivan from Disney PIXAR’S 2001 film “Monsters Inc” are revived in this new playful and interactive film (2013) about college and identity. The story takes place in the hallowed halls of MU, Monsters University. It follows the life of Mike and Sulley and their experience in the Scaring Program. Not as friends, however, but as rivals. The intense and ardent competition between the two seems harmless at first until one day in class their feuding results in the destruction of a priceless scaring artifact. Both monsters are removed from the program, bound to study the boring arts of scream can design. An opportunity arises from the Scare Games for both Mike and Sulley to be readmitted into the Scare Program, but they must learn to work together with their makeshift misfit monster team, Oozma Kappa, in order to win and achieve their dreams of scaring once more.
The Monsters Inc movies have always brought me immense joy and comfort, and so easily do they achieve that complacency through intricate and detailed character work. Cooky colors and gigantic eyeballs, while goofy, create an essence of complete acceptance. No monster is the same, but every monster is seen interacting and experiencing with one another.
One of the main themes of Monsters University in particular is the empowering nature of unlikely friendship. Although the two protagonists begin the film as nemeses, the challenges and obstacles they encounter summon them to work together. Making their energy and efforts to achieve their goals more admirable and just. Not only were the friendships between Mike and Sulley unexpected but so too were the ones made with the other monsters in the group. Members of Oozma Kappa, initially weak and inexperienced, become fierce and competent competitors. They use their unique talents to fight and participate as well as to bond and support their friends.
The film remains consistently lighthearted throughout the entire run but also exhibits tender and intimate moments between characters. When Mike furiously heads into the human world, Sulley selflessly chases after him. Although having been given the opportunity to join the scaring program if he didn’t go after his friend, Sulley’s first instinct is to help and retrieve his comrade. While in the human realm, the two monsters share a genuine moment of trust and affinity which prompts them to get back to the monster world together.
The entire film is full of whimsical encounters and extraordinary characters. Although it is drastically different from the student experience here at McMurry, the heartfelt messages of friendship and acceptance are thoughts we can all do for in these times of stress and uncertainty. Give “Monsters University” a watch, you won’t be disappointed!