Awards Profile: Monsters University

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Monsters_University_posterDirected by: Dan Scanlon

Written by:  Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Dan Scanlon

Voice Talent Cast:  Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi

Synopsis:  The new college freshman Michael “Mike” Wazowski starts college with eager enthusiasm. Preparing for success and to stand out through hard work, Mike chooses to pledge for the Oozma Kappa fraternity, where he meets his polar opposite, James P. “Sulley” Sullivan. Through a rivalry in their chosen major of scaring, they end up fighting to be on top, while coming closer together as life-long friends.

Why it could succeed:  ‘Monsters, Inc.‘ (2001) was a feel-good story for all ages that did very well in the theaters. Being the 4th release from Pixar, audiences loved the family friendly comedy and PG-rated monster world presented. Though there were bumps in the road, the movie grossed over $562 million worldwide. Loved for the humor and heart of the film, ‘Monsters, Inc. 3-D‘ was re-released in theaters, helping to create an excitement for the ‘Monsters University‘. With two returning writers, Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird, and a loved cast of voices, including new ones, this story is likely to broaden the viewing range up a couple of years. Also, the music composer for the prequel that won an Academy Award for best music in 2001 is also on board for this sequel, which may give it somewhat of a push in the awards field. Not to mention, ‘Brave‘ (2012) just won best animation at the Academy Awards, giving Pixar attention and more public interest for upcoming films.

Why it could fail:  Being a sequel, without many of the prior writers and directors, this endeavor can prove quite a disappointment. Without the multiple minds to bring the story to life, create mischief, and the low number of returning characters, ‘Monsters University‘ may not be able to live up to the fame of its prequel. Also, with the subject matter, kids that loved the prequel may  not be as interested in the college life idea of the story. No children’s movie that moves up a rung in the age ladder does well, especially with Disney involved. The first is always the best and the rest are just meager attempts to continue and grow the dying franchise. With a different team now, ‘Monsters University‘ may look similar to the original, but a weak story and poor advertisement may drive its popularity into the ground. Where ‘Brave‘ explored the women-empowering aspects of life, love, passion, and family, ‘Monsters University‘ features an comically watered down depiction of college life for males.

Awards Speculation:  As afore-mentioned, due to the popularity and success of ‘Brave‘, all eyes await the upcoming releases from Pixar/Disney, hoping for great stories with great artistic value. With the return of Randy Newman, the award-winning composer, and featuring artists from the original movie, nominations for best animation and original score are highly likely.

Oscar Potential:
Best Animation
Best Original Score
Best Original Song
Best Sound Design

Thoughts:  My opinion of ‘Monsters University‘ is quite low due to my high opinion and prejudice pertaining to ‘Brave‘. Where I hold in high respect the opinions and story of the recent Academy Award winner for best animation, ‘Monsters University‘ just looks and feels like a cheap sequel for a great prequel. Plus, the times in which the first was created compared to the present that the sequel will be released in are very different and a great outlying factor that doesn’t favor the latter. Still, we shall see, shan’t we?