My good friend Mike Kuentz had the pleasure of attending Pixar artist Dan Scanlon’s Monsters University charity pre-screening at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan!
Here’s his review (WARNING – SPOILERS) and a link to some photos Mike took at the event! Enjoy!
I work in the film and TV business and there are three things you need
to know if you want to work in this business: (1) have a desire to be
as creative as you want, (2) have a desire to never completely grow
up, and (3) when in doubt, refer to rules 1 & 2.
Dan Scanlon follows all three rules.
When Dan Scanlon was kid growing up in Clawson, Michigan, only one
thing really interested him: drawing. And in High School that migrated
into basic stop-motion animation. After becoming involved in the
student based DAFT program, there was no stopping him. The Detroit
Animation, Film & Television program consists of workshops, classes,
invitation-only events and a student film festival for kids enrolled
in elementary, middle and high schools who have an intense desire to
entertain the rest of us.
Dan’s love with animation propelled him to follow his dreams as many
other former DAFT members have. And like many former DAFT members who
are now actively working in the film, animation or television
industries, Dan went from high school to art school to work for one of
the most celebrated and highly acclaimed digital animation studios in
the world: Pixar. Having contributed heavily to both “Cars” and
“Monsters Inc”, Dan caught the attention of John Lasseter who let him
direct the follow up to “Monsters Inc”, “Monsters University”. And to
be honest, I am not doing Dan’s resume any justice here as he has
written, directed and worked on a lot of animated features but this is
Every time Disney Pixar releases a film, the director is allowed to
host one Charity Pre-Screener. Ninety-nine percent of the time these
showings are held somewhere in California not too far from Pixar’s
Emeryville studios. Dan does things different. He wanted to host his
not far from his home town and help two of his favorite charities:
DAFT and the one his mom runs, the Assistance League. The
pre-screening was held on Wednesday, May 29th, at the Emagine Theater
in Royal Oak, Michigan. The reservations only crowd was able to take
part in a silent auction, screen the movie nearly three weeks before
its theatrical release, and talk one-on-one with the director. A
who’s-who of Detroit film professionals – both young and old – made up
the audience including Steve Julian, John Prusak, Kevin Walsh, Elliott
Wilhelm, Kathy Vander, and myself (who was also there taking photos).
I am not going to ruin the movie for you. But in a nutshell I want to
give a synopsis of the film. We are transported back in time to a time
before Mike and Sully were ever a partnership to be reckoned with. As
a youngster, Mike is inspired to pursue his dreams of attending
Monsters University to become a certified Scarer with Monsters Inc.
Its at college where Mike and Sully first meet up but initially they
were not the best of friends. When the MU dean threatens to kick Mike
and Sully out of the Scarer program, Mike feels the imminent threat of
his dream being slammed in his face like a bedroom door. Determined to
follow his dream and prove himself, Mike enrolls to compete in the
campus game of ScareFest and drags Sully in with him. Like I said, I
don’t want to spoil the movie for you, but neither Mike nor Sully ever
graduate from college. But they do become best friends while learning
how best to harness their strengths and weaknesses in order to be the
very best that they can be.
I wasn’t a hug fan of “Monsters Inc” but I really enjoyed this latest
incarnation of the franchise (which – spoiler alert – is #2 in a long
line of proposed “Monsters” films). When the movie is released I
intend to take my 3-year old and 7-year old to see the IMAX 3D
By the way, true Disney Pixar fans will be happy to know that many of
Lasseter’s trademark “Easter Eggs” can be spotted, although cleverly
hidden, in this film as well. Be on the look-out for the Pizza Planet
truck; its in there when you least expect it. Also, the CalArts
classroom A113 makes an obvious appearance.
Oh, one last thing. “Monsters University” is being shown with another
Pixar short called “The Blue Umbrella”. This short love story is
nothing short of amazing as just when you are thinking you are
watching a real 24-frame live action film, you need to pinch yourself
because you’re not. It is ALL computer generated. Celluloid is dead;
long live the 1’s and 0’s.
Pre-screening Charity Event photos: