This prequel of Pixar classic Monsters Inc follows the path of Mike Wazowski and Sully to their future scaring careers. They weren’t always the best of friends as we see their first impressions of each other were not the best. Their feud eventually kicks them out of scaring school leaving them with one option of getting back in. Reluctantly teaming up with a group of outcasts in order to win a scaring competition is their only hope of getting back on their path to their dream careers.
The premise may be overdone but taking a trip down memory lane makes this nostalgic fun (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it). They made a smart move in making this a prequel as Monsters Inc had ended so well. Seeing the likes of Mike, Sully, Randall and even Roz brought back a lot of memories from the first film but also made for an enticing watch as curiosity gets the better of us. We want to know how relationships were formed and developed even if it is a kids movie.
It was nice seeing the Monsters universe in HD, giving the characters a lot more texture and realism. The overall visuals are a delight to look as it is vivid in colour making their youth seem like such a bright time and yes kids will love it.
As with most Pixar movies this was a pleasant watch with your generic story line but a less predictable ending. I find in most animated kids films nowadays, the formula for story lines have been done countless times so they change the ending making it seem predictable then BAM not so predictable after all. It’s smart as it make’s the adults who may have been reluctantly dragged to the cinema feel like they haven’t wasted an hour and a half of their life.
It’s a charming film but I think it lacked the charisma of older Mike Wazowski, cause that guy was a joy to watch. The young up tight Wazowski was too… up tight for my liking. There were a few funny moments but not as many as there should have been. Other than that it was a pretty nice kids flick, definitely worth watching if Monsters Inc found a place in your heart.
Ben Affleck directs his third film following the successes of “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town”, and doesn’t fail to impress this time round with arguably his best piece of directorial work yet. He takes on a film based on true events which occurred in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution, who were outraged by American support towards the overthrown Shah. In retaliation to the Shah’s fleeing from Iran, a crowd of Iranian revolutionaries raided the American Embassy taking the majority of the American staff hostage, but six managed to escape, taking refuge at the Canadian Ambassadors house. During this crises plans had developed from the CIA to rescue the six unknown escapee’s, only to realize that non of their idea’s were actually viable. It took CIA specialist, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to come up with the next “bad” idea which turned out to be the best of the bunch. The elaborate plan consisted of developing a fake sci-fi film during its production stage so that the six hostages and himself could portray a film crew going into Iran for a location scout. Only that pretending the film crew had entered the country with him and leaving two days later would be bigger than just a white lie.
The film consists of two tones, a comedic and dark tone. During the planning stage of the rescue, which take’s place mostly in Hollywood is the more light hearted mood, which old timer Alan Arkin plays to comedic perfection, stealing most of the laughs. It was great to see John Goodman and Arkin together, playing the experienced boys in the film industry, which really created a good contrast to all the seriousness based in Iran. Once the tones switch to the setting of Iran, there is a much more claustrophobic feeling which is perfectly captured through filming and the performances of the six escapees. I really liked how the film transitioned between these tones, making the film flow smoothly and reminding the audiences that failure remains the most likely outcome.
There was something very genuine about this film, and it had to do with the filming and attention to detail. The fact that you felt as though you were actually in the late 70s possibly watching a 70s film just entices you more. The costumes, hairstyles and props were amazing, evidently shown during the end credits as they compared pictures of the actual people they were portraying with the actors. There was also something very 70s about the filming, there was a certain grain to the picture which gave it a more classic look as opposed to a crystal clear picture. It also helped fit in the real life footage with the film footage, effectively making them both feel connected and set in the same time. This film doesn’t contain adrenaline pumping action but consists of probably the best nail biting scenes you will see in film, which is totally aided from the filming. From the close up reaction shots to the shaky camera work, it all blends together to make something ultimately heart pounding. The scenes where the escapees are together debating their fate, were also my favorite scenes, because you can sense their panic and despair.
The whole cast are amazing and each important character had something special about them. I think the six escapees stole the film in terms of their performances, because they worked together so perfectly that you believed their emotions and their panic and their diminishing hope. Each scene where they are all together exudes pure realism, which I thought was pretty unique in films of this genre. Alan Arkin and John Goodman put in the comedic aspect of the film with their comedic timing. Bryan Cranston gave it his all during the last scenes which lives as one of my favorite performances by him, and Ben Affleck, solid as always. Overall solid performances, can’t fault that.
When looking back at the film in terms of plot, the story line is actually very thin, and doesn’t contain much substance, which is just a huge testament to the importance of filming style, because without the influence of Ben Affleck and the filming crew, this film would have been very unsatisfying. Great film.
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)