What is context? Part one.

This morning I left the class contemplating this quote from Scott; “The context of reception determines how audiences from different times and places interpret the same text.” Such a statement does in fact hold a lot of significant weight to it. The determining factors that surround a specific text, such as release date, country, genre etc. will most definitely aid in the persuasion of how one will interpret its story, meaning – as well as manifest particular consequential outcomes from such an interpretation. Will it inspire and stimulate the heart and soul, mind and body? Will it cause a riff between specific parties with varying viewpoints? Will it unite neighbourhoods, nations, peoples?

All very nourishing food for thought…

In regards to our class exercise, I have chosen to look into the contextual meaning behind the film Monster’s University (2013)! I mean, just look at this little cutie – who could resist that innocent, wondrous smile?

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I would most certainly consider myself to be under the umbrella of ideal persons targeted to participate as an audience member for Monsters University. Firstly let’s take a quick moment to debunk what the film entails. We have two very different monsters, Mike Wazowski and Sully, who meet at university and unexpectedly become pals as they work together in the annual Scare Games . You know, just typical college banter; parties, games, monster mischief, intimidating teachers, procrastination, preppy girls, nerds and jocks galore.

The whole college kid storyline demonstrates the clear cut transition form childhood into the last onslaught of awkward teenage years – when both Mike and Sully are forced into thinking about their careers and responsibilities throughout and after college. This storyline and setting scream out to a demographic of the 16-20 year old school/university student of an ‘everyday man American world’ who is facing the exact same flippant crisis in their own daily lives (although the film bases its ideas of college life via an Americanised viewpoint, the film addresses the types of issues that wider western world students collectively face).

Yet another reason I would say that this is the main demographic would be that the first film, Monsters inc, was released in 2001. I was six then and it seems that having the release date of Monsters University (2013) fits perfectly into the age group that has grown since their first film…in 2013 I was 18 and in my last year of high school. The idea of making Monsters University a prequel to their original film craftily allows for their original-now-grown-up audience to embrace the  new film positively, and therefore be drawn in to remaining as the main audience demographic…in a way, it makes this particular set of people feel as though they are being remembered and in turn praised and thanked for remaining loyal to the Monsters Inc story world.

In contrast, a child demographic of boys/girls aged from say 5-10 would have a completely different set of contextual receptions from this film. Although Monsters University demonstrates that it is aimed at an older audience through its storyline, setting and sense of humour/fable…it is an animation with nuggets of silliness that are enough to entertain and capture the attention of a child’s mind (such as the scene where Mike rides the mascot pig). The films vibrant colours and quirky character designs would also stimulate a child allow for them to make simple and easy connections with the characters (The blue fluffy monster, the green monster with one big eye, he is fluffy, he is big, the monsters are playing a game, the monsters are chasing the pig, he looks happy/sad etc.)

These are just a few summative ways in which the production of Monsters University affects the way in which it is received by a certain demographic audience.

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