Pixar does not release sequels quickly. The company takes a great deal of time in crafting and developing characters and story lines. The goal is not just to make money; it is to make a powerful movie that will make the viewer think after they leave the theater.
And so some ten years after Monsters Inc. was released, the sequel (or perhaps the prequel) Monsters University was released. Now this is not the story line I would have followed; I personally would have continued the story begun in Monsters Inc. and continued with Sully running the company and developed a plot off of that, perhaps including in some respect Boo and a peaceful meeting of humans and monsters.
But then again, I am a movie goer, not a movie maker; and the product that Pixar has produced without my help is pretty awesome, so I will give them a pass for not asking for my advice.
Having said that; many viewers may perhaps wish that they did take my advice.
In a society where every kid gets a trophy, where mediocre is rewarded, and every child is told from the minute they are born that they can be the next Bill Gates or the next Michael Jordan or the next President of the United States; this movie takes a hard stand that no you cannot all be the next so-and-so.
By definition, Mike should be a great scare-r; he has read all the books, aced all the tests, and literally knows it all. He even has the heart to inspire others to greatness. What Mike does not have is the ability to scare anyone. He knows the material, but is just not a scary guy.
Sully is quite the opposite. He is naturally scary, but has no time for books or studying. He is able to pass based solely on talent; and truthfully, does not need to go to Monsters University to learn how to scare anyone.
To the outsider, including the professor and the dean, Mike is the perfect student to teach, while Sully appears to be wasting his talent.
But the reality is that Sully can scare children and get the coveted screams, while Mike cannot.
The movie then goes about teaching us how Mike comes to grips with the fact that he cannot scare, but can coach; and while Sully can scare, he needs a coach.
One can liken this to professional sports in that great players are often horrible coaches; but below average players, who don’t even make it to the pro’s, can be some of the best coaches.
Ultimately, there is a role for both Mike and Sully at Monsters Inc. when they learn to put their talents together and egos aside.
The lesson from Pixar this time may be just that. It is great to be great, but sometimes greatness needs help; but not everyone can be great, and sometimes those who are not great, need help realizing that to.