Monday, July 8, 2013

We all delight in seeing our favorite books brought to life on the big screen.  We cringe at casting.  We scoff at release dates.  All the while, we're gearing up to see if the director's vision lives up to the world we've conceived in our own imaginations.  Sometimes it does...and sometimes it doesn't.  We could lament the movies that don't measure up, or we could return to the books for a re-read, possibly with a slightly different mind-set.  All's fair when it comes to artistic vision, right?

This week, I'm featuring a couple of kids' movies, that as far as I know, weren't based on any books.  Shocker, I know.  =)

View on IMDb
Title: Monsters University
Director: Dan Scanlon
Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
Release date: June 21, 2013
Based on: n/a

A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University -- when they weren't necessarily the best of friends.

I went into Monsters University on a bit of a high, thanks to the adorable short film that preceded the movie:

The film itself was cute, as well, but didn't leave me with the warm fuzzies that the short did.  I promise, that clip doesn't even do it justice.

Anyway, where Monsters Inc. was more about Sulley, Monsters University is more Mike's story.  Monsters U is a prequel to the first movie, showing how Mike and Sulley met, but it wasn't all rainbows and sparkles.  They started out as rivals, but by the end of their time at school, they'd developed the friendship that fueled the partnership they had at Monsters Inc.

I liked Monsters University.  Not as much as Monsters Inc. but I liked it.  I felt like it was missing the magic of the first film.  But that might be because Boo was absent from the film, and despite the fact that she didn't talk much, she was one of my favorite aspects of the first movie.  Probably because of what she meant to Sulley and how she changed both monsters for the better.

I'd definitely recommend this movie if you were a fan of the first, but if you're looking for an animated flick that brings the lolz AND the warm and fuzzies, I'd check out the other kids' movie I recently saw.  (In other words, scroll down.  :D)

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

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Title: Despicable Me 2
Director: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Stars: Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove
Release date: July 3, 2013
Based on: n/a

Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.

My daughter has been playing Despicable Me on repeat for weeks now.  And prior to seeing the sequel, she would walk up to me at random times and just say, "Despicable Me 2.  July 3rd."  Like I was going to forget.

The previews that played before this movie were very much the same as those for Monsters University, though The Blue Umbrella short was not included, since this one isn't a Disney film.  (Are you guys as excited for The Lego Movie as I am?!?)  Anyway, any resemblance to Monsters University ends there.  DM2 was just as adorable, sweet and satisfying as the first movie...and no favorite characters were noticeably absent.

Gru is still looking after Margo, Edith and Agnes, and he's actually quite a good father to them, despite having been a super villain prior to adopting them.  Those characters are all still well and good, though Agnes steadfastly remains my favorite.  ("It's so fluffffffyyyyy!!!")  And there are a few new characters worthy of attention, as well.

It's almost kind of ridiculous how much I love the casting for the voices of these characters, too.  Miss Hattie wasn't in this film, but that doesn't mean they didn't find another character for Kristen Wiig to voice.  (Hint: She's now the love interest for Gru's character!  I know!!!)  Even Russell Brand returns in this sequel to voice Dr. Nefario.

As heart-warming and uplifting as the first movie proved to be for me, I think this sequel upped the ante a bit.  I actually shed a tear at the end because it was just sooo darn sweet.  This is the kind of movie that I love to take my kiddo to because it's a fun experience for both of us.

Rating:   photo 5-1.png

Have you seen either of these movies yet?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I cried over Despicable Me 2 at the end! And I can't get the theme song Despicable Me by Pharrell out of my head.

    Monster's Inc is actually one of my all-time favorite movies! So I'm still hoping I'll be able to watch it this weekend. :)

  2. We went and saw both of these over the past couple weeks! Monsters University was Jacob's first movie theater experience, in fact. I missed Boo in that one too but thought it was an adorable movie. Despicable Me 2 was the one we were really dying to see. We often (and I mean all 4 of us) quote the movie all the time. Jacob was so happy to see 'spick-a me'. I thought it was also adorable though I didn't quite like it as much as the first one. But maybe I need to see if over and over to get there, like the first. :)

  3. Despicable ME 2 was better then 1!! I really liked it! The movie is for both adults and children (or children and adults :D:D:D)

  4. Awww. I love how your daughter would periodically remind you of DM2's release date and it sounds like it was worth the wait. I rarely watch children's movies, but I did see the first DM and will probably watch the sequel when it comes out on DVD. It's awesome that Kristen Wiig is the love interest. I love that girl. Great reviews!

  5. This is the second time today that I've heard DM2 is better to go see than MI2. Which makes me sad since I loved MI1 so much. I know eventually I'll watch both films but we've decided to wait for DVD releases instead of seeing in theaters.

  6. Ah, I remember seeing the first Monsters movie in theaters a long, long time ago. I think I will pass on the sequel just for the reason I will always like the first one better and that's what I want to keep in my mind. I can not wait for DM2, I really liked the first one, found it so funny. Guess that means I have somewhat of a juvenile sense of humor, ha!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

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  8. Since I am not much of a Monsters Inc fan I won't bother seeing the prequel at all but Despicable me 2 ? Definitely! I loved the first movie but hadn't a chance to see it in theaters ( I bought DVD)! But I will definitely be seeing this one on the big screen! Sure I will get the dvd too! Thanks for the amazing review its made me more anxious to watch it!

    - Gayatri @ Notorious Writer.

  9. Oh how I loved both of the first movies to these sequels. I am so excited to see both of these. glad you liked them.


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