USC vs. Notre Dame: “Monsters University” Wins!
by Brian Walton on November 26, 2012
This past Saturday, thousands of college football fans descended on Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles for the final home game of the season for the USC Trojans against #1 ranked Notre Dame. For those that don’t follow sports, the team with the marching band from the Fleetwood Mac concert played the team with the Sean Astin movie to decide whether the team with the hunchback would get to play in a lame duck championship game while we wait for a tournament system to take effect in college football. In other words, Gryffindor and Slytherin were battling for the right to play for the house cup in Muggle Quidditch. Why am I writing about a massive football game on Nerdist? Thanks to the folks at Disney, I was there, and I got to see an exclusive clip of Monsters University and a preview of the 3D being used in Monsters Inc. 3D on the USC campus before the game. Did I survive the culture shock of tailgaiting at a Division I football school? Not unscathed…
We haven’t seen Monsters, Inc.‘s Mike and Sulley on the big screen since 2001. 11 years have passed, and the original Monsters, Inc. is still one of the most well balanced family movies ever made. We’re hoping to get the same mix of grown up nostalgia and child like wonder in the latest monster mash from Pixar, Monsters University. And based on what we’ve seen of the movie so far, they’re on the right track. Set before Monsters, Inc., MU focuses on Mike Wazowski and Sullivan as they enter college as rivals in the school’s prestigious scare program. Remember, in Monsters Inc., the “Scarers” were the rock stars of the Monster world; well, it’s even more important in college. The furry blue beast and one eyed opto-monster get booted from the program because of their inability to get along and realize the only way to get back in is to team up and join a fraternity to win the Scare Games (Greek festival, anyone?). Unfortunately (or fortunately in our case), the only frat that will take them is also the Lambda Lambda Lambda of the monster collegiate circuit.
The clip we were shown featured Mike and Sulley moving into their new frat house and meeting a group of rejects that could never hope to make into the scare program. But with a little help from the natural scarer Sulley and the always plotting Mike, maybe they have a chance. The fraternity includes all manner of college students, from the older “returning student” to the new age hippie to even a momma’s monster that had his mom convert her home into a Frat house. The awkward outcasts get fair representation in this throwback to the underdog college movies of the ’80s. The clip ends with Mike and Sulley getting initiated into the brotherhood, and leaves us anxious for June to find out how the pair get out of their mess.
We were also treated to a clip of the final spectacular door chase from Monsters, Inc. in 3D before its debut next month. Much like I, Robot‘s recent up-conversion, Monsters, Inc. was made in such a way that it is a perfect fit for 3D, the door chase being a wonderful example: In many post-converted films, you realize how quickly a 2D film can cut away from scenes with depth, and Disney is very lucky that Monsters, Inc. doesn’t have that problem. Its scenes are full of depth and larger than life imagery from which the director doesn’t cut away, allowing you to become really engrossed in what is happening. As the doors race along their tracks, the 3D gives a nice depth of field and makes for a thrilling coaster ride. If this clip is any indication, the movie is going to look splendid in 3D and I can’t wait to relive the adventure of Boo on December 19th.
And then there was the football game. Like most movie nerds, my exposure to football is limited to film. From The Program to Necessary Roughness (starring Sinbad in a proto-Neil Degrasse Tyson-esque role) there is a wealth of solid movies to better understand the game of football, but in the chaos of a college stadium and in real life, football is intense. As nerds we often compare Comic-Con to being our Super Bowl, but there really is no comparison; A college football game is the most intense social interaction you can have. While I love the idea of a tailgate, a marching band playing today’s pop hits (The USC Trojan Marching Band doing Neon Trees was particularly memorable) and lots of good-natured taunting (I’ve never heard “F@&# you!” used as a term of endearment so much in my life), the game didn’t do much to change my mind that I’m not a football guy, but I did try to get a Rudy chant going with two minutes left in the game. As far as who won, well, let me put it in a context I know we all understand: Slytherin won because Gryffindor was playing like Hufflepuff.