There’s something very reassuring that 12 years have elapsed between Monsters Inc setting new standards for all-round animation excellence and the eagerly-awaited follow-up.
Monsters University is now upon us, but nobody can accuse it of being a kneejerk follow-up to cash in on earlier box office success.
Today every film seems to have a back burner business plan which will ensure any opportunity to build a franchise is exploited – you need to strike while the iron is hot, while you’ve got the stars available, before your pale young vampires grow too old or sprout spots, while your punters still fondly recall your first effort.
One of the joys of animation is that you aren’t bound by the passage of time. In live action, there would be no way that you could reunite the frankly long in the tooth Billy Crystal and John Goodman as the bug-eyed buddies at the centre of the action.
But their voices are still sharp, so there’s no reason why the Monsters Inc team can’t turn back the clock and tell the tale of how the not very terrifying twosome joined the scare squad in the first place.
So it’s back and through the gates of Monsters University, where familiar campus comedy themes are given a twist in a polished prequel that will leave all but the most grumpy film fan with a smile on their face.
The Pixar quality stamp is all over this amiable adventure, with the likes of Steve Buscemi and Helen Mirren also on board.
But it’s not just the acting talent that can take a bow – it’s a class act throughout, carefully constructed so that littlies will love the slapstick antics and the cute characters while grown-ups dragged along for the ride, or forced to endure it on DVD again and again in years to come, will keep finding little jewels to enjoy. An A+ effort, gold stars all round.
If you’re the sort to join the queue to catch a film about giant robots doing battle with maurauding aliens to save the planet, it’s a pretty safe bet that you will sneer at warnings about wearing ear protectors.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you, then, when you leave Pacific Rim with your ears ringing and a sense of having been physically assaulted by a wall of sound.
The Transformers-style set up is all you need to know, really – it’s a testosterone-fuelled smackdown between the mechanical monsters and gargantuan adversaries who have emerged from beneath the Pacific Ocean.
There are some humans involved – Charlie ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi are the mismatched robot pilots centre stage, Idris Elba gets a look in and Guillermo del Toro directs with an eye to the Japanese Godzilla dollar. Undeniably an expensive spectacle, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.