In the UK, we've been fortunate enough to have seen the likes of 'Iron Man 3' and 'Star Trek Into Darkness' before our American counterparts. However, we're a good three weeks behind the States with the latest DisneyPixar animated feature, 'Monsters University' - a prequel to 2001's terrific and superior 'Monsters, Inc.'
'Monsters University' sees most of the cast of the original return, exploring the relationship between Mike Wasowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) - which started off on surprisingly rocky ground. The duo are both Scare majors at Monsters University, along with another familiar face, Randall (Steve Buscemi).
After the rivalry between Mike and Sulley escalates, the duo are threatened with expulsion and forced to team up. They find themselves working with members of the Oozma Kappa fraternity - the misfits on campus - to win the Scare Games, and the respect of the peers.
So 'Monsters University' is something of an underdog tale and much like its overall theme, proves slightly uninspired. There are some well played references and cameos from 'Monsters, Inc.' but the new film lacks the charm, drama and emotion of its predecessor.
The tension between Mike and Sulley dissipates to a predictable reconciliation, while the rest of the team unsurprisingly begin to prosper. These moments appear in all too predictable a fashion, although the finale does raise the stakes in an unexpected manner.
'Monsters University' is quite average. Something good enough for most families. But when compared to a back catalogue that includes the 'Toy Story' trilogy, 'The Incredibles', 'WALL-E', and several other truly brilliant animations, 'Monsters University' feels like a loss. It is very much the prequel no-one asked for. Even its preceding short, 'The Blue Umbrella', doesn't quite inspire - nor does the entirely unnecessary use of 3D.
'Monsters University' is out in UK cinemas today, through Walt Disney Pictures.