‘Monsters University:’ Mike and Sulley take on college

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“Monsters University,” the prequel to the story of “Monsters, Inc.” arrives in theaters June 21 and will star crowd-pleasing monsters Mike and Sulley, as well as many unique and hysterical new monsters audiences are sure to fall in love with.

Elizabeth Freda, Reporter

If you’re anything like me, your late childhood years were filled with some pretty incredible Pixar movies that shaped the way you’ve viewed animated films for the rest of your life. So when I was contacted to be a part of a conference call with the director and producer of the next “Monsters, Inc.” installment, you can imagine my excitement.

“Monsters, Inc.” was a hysterical and meaningful flick I watched several times as a kid. Mike and Sulley, the two main characters, have a friendship for the books and were definitely a fan favorite, with “Boo” as their fearless child companion. I couldn’t wait to see what the next chapter would include.

“Monsters University” takes viewers back to the place where Mike and Sulley  first met. College seemed like the ideal setting and an “opportunity for fun, monster antics,” director Dan Scanlon said.

Luckily for the viewers, Mike and Sulley will still be the charismatic monsters audiences are anxiously awaiting to see. “We wanted the characters to be somewhat familiar,” Scanlon said. “If we went back too far and did Monsters Elementary, we felt it wouldn’t be the Mike and Sulley we know and love.”

Producer Kori Rae has quite the track record at Pixar and was a crucial member of production for several movies people of all generations fell in love with, including “Up” and “Toy Story 2,” to name a few.

Rae said she really connected to the college setting, a time when teenagers (and monsters) can figure out who they are and who they want to be. She described “Monsters University” as a movie of “self-discovery and friendship.”

Both Rae and Scanlon emphasized the already existing adoration for characters that will appear in “Monsters University.” All the voice cast members from “Monsters, Inc.” were more than excited to get back into their roles, having “to find a new take on the characters that was still familiar but was a little younger,” Scanlon said.

However, the film was not without its challenges. Aging the characters while still maintaining their familiarity to audiences was a hefty task and took a lot of creativity on the part of the animation team. By thinning them up and brightening their colors, the “Monsters” team reimagined Mike and Sulley in their younger years before the stereotypical college weight gain.

When asked what they most wanted audience members to take away from “Monsters University,” both Scanlon and Rae agreed they wanted the film to touch people emotionally.

“This film is very much about what happens when you come up to a closed door and how you get around that,” Scanlon said.

Personally, what I’m most looking forward to is the opportunity to experience the characters I love in brand-new environments, interacting with the typical college student archetype. I can’t wait to see Mike and Sulley in their awkward teenage years, navigating their wild first year at college just as I did.

I know I’m among many people young and old who will be beyond excited come June 21 when “Monsters University” hits theaters.