By Rawan Salameh
The first prequel in the history of Pixar, “Monsters University” will call class into session on June 21.
The film brings back the lovably scary creatures from 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.” and captures the collegiate escapades of Mike and Sulley by providing the background story on how the two friends first met.
Director Dan Scanlon asserts that they wanted to create a story of how the two characters met and a college setting was perfect because they didn’t want to go too far back to where they were not familiar to fans.
“We loved the idea of doing something in a university and the opportunity for fun monster antics that can come out of that and that lead us to the story of Mike and that feeling of difficulty when you arrive at college thinking you are the best of the best and then you come up against some pretty stiff competition,” said Scanlon.
According to producer Kori Rae, another reason why the college theme was chosen is because the age period is such a critical time in anyone’s life that fans can relate to the story line.
“That age between 18 and 22 is so crucial in all our lives, whether you went to college or not,” said Rae. “That’s when you are first out on your own, figuring out who you are and who you want to be to reinvent yourself.”
The characters needed to look younger than the previous film because they are now in college. The creators noticed that making them appear skinnier made a huge difference. Also, making them brighter in color and much more energetic gave the monsters a younger image and persona.
“It’s important that they stay recognizable. We had perimeters that we were sure we didn’t want to do anything too crazy because they still need to look like Mike and Sulley,” said Rae.
Many new characters were created for the film. The creators needed inspiration to come up with so many new personalities, so they based them off of people they knew during their own college experience.
“We wanted characters that were similar to people we went to school with or certainly reminded us of people we went to school with,” said Scanlon.
One character that is newly created is Scott SquishySquibbles, who is a typical 18-year-old college student that has not decided he what he wants to be.
“They [college students] are sort of a ball of clay wanting to be molded and in this case he is literally a mushy tiny ball of clay,” said Scanlon.
Now that the movie is complete and ready to be released, Rae talks about her experience as the producer of the film.
“As a producer, you are more involved in the story stage. As painful as it was early on, I learned so much about how difficult this is and it made me more aware and surprised at how we can ever pull this off,” said Rae. “I really enjoyed my time in story the first couple of years and really going through all the alliteration.”
Scanlon discusses his challenges as the director of the film.
“Every Pixar movie goes through an awkward teenage phase when it doesn’t make sense or it’s bizarre and not quite working right,” said Scanlon. “You can get terrified that you’re never going to crack it and it is a relentless journey to just keep trying new things until you crack the puzzle.”
New technologies for this film compared to “Monsters Inc” are the hair simulation and different lighting that creates a much richer look to the animation.
“Although it is original to Monsters University, I would hope that it feels familiar to everyone and feels like that’s my school,” said Scanlon.
Courtesy Pixar Animation Studios
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