If you felt Inc got a little too hung up on human-child "Boo" and didn't give you enough of the monster otherworld: all that has been remedied here. Monsters University is, of course, a prequel -and good thing, too. Where a return to the industrial setting of the first film might have led to a lazy, unproductive rehashing of familiar material, turning back the clock and opening up the outside 'monster' world gives the animation new life.
Though the conceit is old, the monstrous twist makes for lively viewing. It's immediately clear why Pixar decided to go through with this particular sequel. Moneymaker or not, the film is relentlessly charming and, surprisingly, very funny. The sight gags are crammed into every frame, as can be expected, a clear sign that the animators had a field day with the possibilities. The script though, too, is impossibly sharp. I say this not simply because I laughed, but because the writers (and possibly the voice talents behind them) really seem to have a feel for the characters and their distinct personalities. Mike and Sulley each have their particular ways of communicating, not in a language of animated exposition, but in revealing bits of their own frustrations. It's something that's echoed in the animation. Technologically, Pixar has only improved since 2001. Here, the movements of our monsters say as much about them as their voices do, and we love them immediately for the humanity they're able to capture that so many campus comedies can't.