Revisiting a childhood favourite with Monsters University

Monster’s Inc. was one of the many influential movies put out by Pixar during this generation’s childhood. Coming out in 2001, many were able to relate to Monster’s Inc. as most were still terrified of monsters under the bed.  But the original Monsters Inc. was able to show audiences that monsters can be just like us.

Pixar got their timing perfect again with the upcoming release of the prequel Monster’s University (MU). MU follows characters Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan (Sulley) as they experience the turbulent and exciting times of college alongside the original audience of Monster’s Inc. It was comforting to see the characters look the same but extremely interesting to see them in their college glory.

“We had to make them look younger so our art department did a really good job trying to study, you know, how do you make an eyeball look younger” Dan Scanlon, first time director of a Pixar movie, joked.

“Mainly, you know, we started to notice that thinning them up really helped.  We were all a little thinner in college. ”

Since Scanlon joined Pixar in 2001, he has risen quickly from animator to storyboard artist to director. The transition to director versus previous experiences in the Pixar community gave Scanlon the opportunity to fully understand the inner-workings of what makes a Pixar film great.

“… being a director, I got the rare opportunity to see everything.  To see what everyone does. It was, a lot of people I’ve worked with for years and eaten lunch with, but really had no idea what they did and there I’d be in a meeting with them and think, ‘oh wow.  You’re a genius,’” recalled Scanlon.

Though this is Scanlon’s first time as a director with Pixar, producer Kori Rae is a veteran. Rae has been a part of numerous familiar films, acting as an associate producer on the original Monster’s Inc. and The Incredibles.
“What I try to do is, is really to, to learn from all of the different people on every film.  I used a ton of stuff on this film that I had learned on The Incredibles in addition to Monsters Inc.” said Rae on her experiences. “So it’s, it’s just kind of all of that experience just kind of I think rounded me out and gave me a good base to produce this one.”

They were also tasked with the challenge of creating a whole new world for the monsters to explore. For this, they scouted universities to truly capture the sensation of being in college for the first time.

Per Pixar’s standards, Monster’s University will premiere the short film The Blue Umbrella by director Saschka Unseld.

Look for Monster’s University to come into theatres on June 21.

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