The hardest-working, most studious, most diligent, undaunted outcast of a student ignores the doubters and critics who say he doesn't have what it takes and that he'll never achieve his dream, ignores the party scene and hits the books, proud of the fact that he has to work hard for what he wants instead of having it handed to him like some annoying unjustified egomaniacs, never giving up no matter what they throw at him, and in the end... it doesn't work. How badly he wanted something and how hard he worked for it wasn't enough to get it. It sucks, it's disappointing, it makes you want to call it a Wall Banger and... it's completely realistic. Audiences hate it when Reality Ensues (that's my personal theory why readers hate, for example, Mansfield Park), but the fact is, a lot of people will go through exactly what Mike goes through and learn that the major you had your heart set on just isn't right for you (that's why it's so common for students to change their major in college). Pixar sacrificed the most emotionally satisfying resolution for realism, and you can't fault them for that... well, I can't, anyway. This is no Toy Story 2 or 3, but it's no Cars 2, either. Mike and Sully are no Buzz and Woody, but they're still a great duo. It never made me cry, burst into laughter, or glow in the face of a heartwarming moment like you're used to from Pixar, so it's not their best, but it's no Cars or Brave. It's a great journey with a great climax and mostly great characters (ex. I love the Dean, I hate Oozma Kappa). I hope Mike got Sully's message that he should've learned, not that it's okay just to be okay, but that he is great, even if it's in different ways/at different things that he expected. I hope everyone gets the message, not that the supposedly-mediocre and supposedly-great are all equal, but that you can't always judge who's great by what's on the surface. Greatness is a good thing to strive for, but it doesn't come from heritage or appearance or popularity but from hard work, intelligence, and courage, and what you turn out to be great at may surprise YOU as much as it surprises others. That's the ultimate impression I got from this film, which isn't mind-blowingly awesome like other Pixar films but is still great to watch.
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