It’s almost impossible to turn a corner in the street or flip through the TV and not see an ad for Disney/Pixar’s newest movie, Monsters University, which comes out this week. Sarabeth and I don’t go to the theaters often, but every summer we make an exception to hit the newest Pixar movie. This Saturday, for us, will be no exception.
You would be hardpressed to meet a person – kid or grown-up – who hasn’t seen at least two Pixar films in their lifetime. I always feel so sorry for the people who refuse to see “cartoons” because they think they’re just for kids. (Silly people – it’s the movies, not Trix!) Now, I can understand if some people can’t tell the difference between a Dreamworks movie and Pixar movie (or even that there is a difference). If I was uneducated in this complex, competitive field of arts, and I went and saw… oh, I don’t know, Monsters vs. Aliens (DW), I would probably swear off those dumb “Disney cartoons” too.
But here’s what I’d like to say to those people. There is a difference – many, many, many differences – between Disney/Pixar “cartoons” and other cartoon movies.
For the purposes of keeping this post short, I’ll only be picking on Dreamworks, since it is Pixar’s most jealous rival. I’d also like to hear from you, the readers, your thoughts on the subject, as I haven’t quite yet figured out all of the major differences.
Dreamworks has produced some great stuff in the past – don’t get me wrong. I’ll never forget how groundbreaking Shrek was (its immediate sequel remains my favorite of the series), and How to Train Your Dragon, which came out more than a decade later, was a poignant, memorable, and honorable movie, worth many revisits. Oh, and I enjoyed Over the Hedge, but still, it was an afterthought just now.
But the rest of their movies? They just seem to rely on pop-culture icons as fallback jokes, unnecessary innuendos that you can probably find in any Jim Carrey movie, and big-name stars as their voice actors that really don’t seem like they fit the character they’re playing.
Shark Tale, Flushed Away, Shrek the Third, and Bee Movie happen to be among the worst movies I’ve ever seen – (Megamind was the end of the road for me.) And the rest (save for the three mentioned above) were highly forgettable.
But a Pixar movie? Those are the ones that stay with you for a long time. I’ll give you Cars 2. That one was a mistake and shouldn’t have been made. But 1 out of 13 ain’t bad, right? And judging by the early reviews of Monsters University, it looks like it’s about to be 1 bad apple in 14.
The thing with Pixar movies that sets them apart from others is that their characters are flawed, and relatable, and in the end, selfless and loyal. I love that Pixar – and Disney, really – are still imparting these virtues to our children, and reminding us adults what it means to love and be faithful. These are the themes that bleed from these films, and never in a cheesy way.
Speaking of values and morals, I hear Monsters University takes its viewers in a very bold direction, and imparts a bit of the world’s harsh realities to its younger viewers. I can’t wait to see this movie. I have refrained from watching the full trailer, so I’ll be in for many fun surprises. The video I have posted below is not a trailer nor a spoiler. It’s just a fun 30 second promo to get you pumped for seeing Monsters University.