The Dinglehopper

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Monsters University and the Sequel Solution

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So, our toddler was sick and I had a handful of DVDs from the library. There are popular titles that are just never in. Toy Story. Wall-E. An American Tale. So I picked up some classics and sequels with little hope. But there was one good bet. Monster’s University, the sequel to the popular and well regarded Monster’s Inc.

The first one was a relatively original plot with a core of engaging characters. Mike and Sully were definitely on our toddler’s mind for a good long while. Not like Lightning McQueen or Elsa, but there was some name recognition there.

I’d shied away from the sequel mostly because I’d heard the hip refrain, “It wasn’t as good.” I still have this strange optimism that there are really good movies that are also really good to toddlers. Since Monsters was a mixed bag, why bother with the sequel?

The sequel is a classic plot. Underdogs triumph over privileged jerks. Revenge of the Nerds. Simple. Mike and Sully get more focus. The background characters are exactly that. Background. This is perfect for a sick toddler.

Everything our little bundle of mucous loved about the first one was there. Mostly Sully doing his pose and roaring. RAWR!

It’s also pretty good. I know this is my problem, and I’ve talked about it over and over. But I think I’m officially done reviewing children’s fare as though it were aimed at me. Monsters Inc. was aimed at me. Clever, knowing jokes with a complex plot and adult motivations within a cute portal fiction amid corporate greed and plague scare. Monster’s Inc. is dense. The baby playing with the monsters was the hook for our little one. Luckily it came back often enough to prevent total disengagement if not zoning out.

But there was too much going on.

Monsters University is more fun. Monsters doing monster stuff. They’re learning how to scare and having a blast. And you know what? So was my toddler. We now have a scarer in training sneaking around and roaring and laughing and waiting to be scared, too.

So here’s the thing. Cars 2 is supposed to be a bust. They took everything that was endearing out and overlaid a spy plot, or so I hear. I bet it’s awesome. Our toddler’s favorite characters vroomin’ more often.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the emotional impact scenes from Frozen and Cars had. I’m touched by how well done they were and how effective they seem to be for all ages. And I’d love to find those moments again in other fare. But when our toddler’s down again and all i want is some calm sitting time, we’re totally checking out a sequel.

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