Glastonbury festival is universally known for having something for everyone. As a film lover, I’m always interested in what’s on offer at the Glastonbury cinema, the Pilton Palais. Unfortunately, as most of it clashes with the musical acts, I don’t see many films there; in fact, of the two times I’ve been to Glastonbury, I’ve only seen two films at the Palais, both Pixar offerings.
Historically, Glastonbury has a way of obtaining the rights to early previews of Pixar films. In 2008 they showed Wall-E, and back in 2010, when I went, the Palais hosted a preview screening of Toy Story 3, six months before the film was due for general release. This year it was the turn of Monsters University, Pixar’s first prequel.
Previous experience with the Toy Story 3 screening had taught me that these previews tend to garner a huge crowd. Not wanting to miss out, we turned up over an hour early for the showing and waited it out in the queue with the daily paper. Sitting in the queue and subsequently the tent, you really soak up the atmosphere; lots of excited children, and plenty more excited adults.
The film got off to a bad start with some technical difficulties (which also occurred later on too), but where a cinema audience might have complained, the festival viewers remained in high spirits with the children keeping themselves entertained making monster noises.
Once the film finally got underway (and later technical difficulties aside), it was much more than I hoped it would be. What could easily have strayed into an unnecessary Cars 2-esque sequel, was actually a charming new exploration of much-loved characters a la Toy Story.
Monsters University creates a real shift into the perception of characters. I’ve never been much of a Mike fan, seeing his character in Monsters, Inc. as a bossy control freak, who frankly, was a bit of a jerk. Monsters University really changed my opinion of Mike, and also Sully who goes from a loveable giant, to the atypical college burnout, who constantly butts heads with Mike.
As the film and plot unravel, it is interesting to see the dynamic between Mike and Sully change, as the two go from rivals to develop the basis of the true friendship we all know from Monsters, Inc. The viewer is left with a deeper understanding of what drives the characters in the first film, including Randall, though he does not feature heavily in Monsters University.
The film is a great addition to the Pixar catalogue, and got me a lot more interested in the Monsters, Inc. world than I was before. The film is funny in all the right places, and as tense in parts as animated films get. Any reservations I had about the film were quickly dissipated as the film went on, and I have been telling anyone who will listen just how good the film is.