Illumination, Opinions, Other Studios, Pixar

‘Monsters University’ vs ‘Despicable Me 2′: Which One Is The Better Movie?

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monsters-university-young-mike

Adorable. Simply adorable.

Summer is here an that usually means a huge movie opens every week. In the animation front, Pixar and Illumination Entertainment have released prequels/sequels to their hugely successful movies. There have been lots of inevitable comparisons, which beg the question: which one is the better movie?

They’re both doing great in the box office and according to critics–both are practically tied in Rotten Tomatoes. Some people preferred Pixar’s Monsters University and others enjoyed Despicable Me 2 more. This is, of course, personal opinion and if you enjoyed one more than the other, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind. What I will do is share my opinion on which one is a better movie.

People say comparisons are odious and that criticism is annoying. And to quote Anton Ego, and what is probably one of the very best quotes out of any animated movie ever:

“We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

Now that I’ve share a bit of that excellent quote, let’s get started!

Monsters University

monsters-university-final-trailer-disney-pixarI went to see MU with high expectations, since it’s preceded by a little jumping lamp that I associate with movie magic. It was also a prequel to a phenomenal movie that I’ve loved for over 10 years. The original Monsters, Inc was hilarious and Sulley’s relationship with Boo is still one of the most heartfelt relationships Pixar has shown. So did MU meet my expectations? 

It did. I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I laughed A LOT. I thought the animation was beautiful, the voice-acting great and it did what a prequel has to do: Work on its own and add another level to the original. You learn more about Mike and Sulley’s friendship, you see Waternoose with sweet hair during the credits and you can feel the whole Pixar team had a lot of fun doing the movie. It has its flaws, more than the original probably, but it worked really well for me.

What disappointed me the most was the resolution of Randall’s storyline. Since the first image of the adorable Randy Boggs was released, I expected to see why he turned into the evil Randall we love to hate. It turns out (spoiler alert) that he resents Mike and Sulley because Sulley roared really loudly and he tripped? I felt it was completely disappointing. Other than that, I greatly enjoyed the movie even though the new characters aren’t as memorable as, for example, the new toys in Toy Story 3. 

It still didn’t feel as magical as “classic Pixar”, but none of its movies have reached that masterpiece level since 2010. None of the features it’s released has been written and/or directed by a senior creative member of the studio since the same year, though. And we won’t get that until 2015′s Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc Up) and written by the always phenomenal Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3).

Despicable Me 2

despicable-me-2-trailer-halloween-teaserThe original was a runaway hit because of its over-the-top sense of humor, the charming and adorable characters and, of course, the minions. The sequel brings all of this back and delivers another hilarious story with plenty of heart. Most of my friends preferred it to MU and to the original.

However, I had a problem with it: I really like it when a movie’s goal is clearly defined and every scene is a step trying to accomplish that goal. Take Finding Nemo for example. Everything Marlin does is done in order to find Nemo. I thought Gru’s goal wasn’t really defined. I think the idea of having the Anti-Villain plot plus the romantic plot is really good. A romantic sub-plot is always good to add heart to the whole thing.

But watching the movie, I didn’t know which was the main plot and which was the sub-plot… At first I thought the goal was to get Lucy so the girls would have a mother. And halfway during the movie, I even thought it was rather genius to have the romantic plot as the main one. But then it suddenly changes to the villain plot and the romantic story is left unattended for a while. This felt oddly disconcerting and it was my biggest problem. I didn’t feel the whole thing was organic, I was taken out of the movie by this.

The Minions were extremely funny and it will interesting to see if their spin-off will work, since the hilarious comedic sidekicks tend to make poor protagonists.

Cars-2

Unrelated picture?

Conclusion

So if I had to choose between two really good movies, I’d choose Monsters University over Despicable Me 2. I felt it was a better movie with a stronger script. But every Pixar movie is a collaborative effort between a group of creative masterminds, which is a rather rare thing in the movie world. Despicable Me 2 was written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, but they didn’t have the support of people like John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Michael Arndt or Brad Bird and I think it showed.

Andrew-Stanton

Here’s Andrew Stanton. You thought I was going to show that Brad Bird picture, didn’t you?

Do you agree with me? Or do you think Despicable Me was the better movie? Comment away!

About Pablo Ruiz

Pablo Ruiz is a Colombian screenwriter and animation fan. He loves Pixar and Harry Potter and his greatest ambition is to one day write for Pixar. He idolizes Brad Bird and Michael Arndt and thinks "Toy Story 3" is the greatest movie ever made.
  • http://TheConnoisseurReviews.tumblr.com/ Arnold Kumar

    I would choose “Monsters University” over “Despicable Me 2.” Both films are about par with their predecessors, while I find Despicable funnier, Monsters has the stronger narrative. Also Monsters is the better looking movie of the two. Neither film hits those amazing highs that we’re so accustomed to by animation, but they provide great entertainment.

    My favorite animation of the year is still “The Croods” though.

  • William Jardine

    Your pictures and captions always make me laugh, Pablo. Kudos, good sir!

  • Sasha

    Yeah, I agree that Monsters University is the better of the two. I enjoyed both films, but I felt that MU was much stronger all together. Despicable Me 2 was cute and funny, but I think it lacks in the story department. I feel like they couldn’t think of a good story so they attempted to cover it up with humor (and excessive screen time for the minions even though they are not exactly central characters). MU had a great story, animation, and humor. That being said, I do think they’re both worth a watch, but I have to go with MU.

  • samrt

    sorry i do not agree with you of saying Mu has good scripts instead i felt scriptwise i would like to go with Despicable me 2,, about Mu i felt i already knew the story as it doesn’t interest me morever i was thinking how to pass my time in theater as i got bored …watching it…but Despicable 2 have almost different aura around it when movie started i hooked up to big screen and then i found it ended reaally count believe want if they could show Ds 3 back to back….this might be somewhat becz of i am not a prequel guy (as thanks to latest bombardments of reboots of my Fav Charactors) that being aside MU didn’t have that jiggleing and curiosity effect which i found in D Me 2 , as we already know they both gone be friends ,,,i believe they shuld have made a sequel to it instead of Prequel that would have an aw moment..in .it….. as People get bored if they already know wha’s goine happen next later , as they have already seen Sequels to them…..that’s also one of the reason i usually support sequels instead of prequels….so my vote goes to Despicable Me 2 as it has curiosity factor as well good plot factor …

  • donald

    I found a child’s Monsters University Student Card in a parking lot in Lantana, Florida. It has a name and a number. How do I get it back to its rightful owner?

  • Monica Rae Jennings

    Monsters University is definitely the better one of the two the only thing I enjoyed about Despicable Me 2 is the Minions while Monsters University just had something that made me love it more. It was stronger plot had more loveable new characters (and old) the humor was excellent as well as the story and animation and I can go on about Monsters University. Despicable Me 2 however felt a little rushed. I liked Lucy and still loved Gru, Margo, Edith and Agnes as well as the Minions but I didn’t enjoy it as much I did with MU.

  • Despicable Me was way better than Monsters University. I prefered the first Monsters movie :/ this one was kind of a disapointment… Also I love Despicable Me :P How can someone not love Gru??