Monsters University (2013)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since Monsters, Inc. came out. Back in 2001, they made a movie for not only kids my age, but for anyone really. That’s the beauty of Pixar. They make films that anyone can enjoy and send a message along with said films. With Monsters University, however, it seemed like this time Pixar was going towards younger kids (which is in no way a problem because they make children’s movies). I just couldn’t help but feeling a little bit underwhelmed by this film, but it’s very hard to make something that exceeds it’s nearly flawless predecessor.

Monsters University takes us through the early childhood of everyone’s favorite, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal). We get to see him as he grows up with the singular goal of becoming a scarer for Monsters Incorporated. Unfortunately for Mike, he’s incredibly small and is always told that he isn’t scary and won’t amount to anything. This problem presents Pixar’s message for the movie. Flash-forward to his first day at Monsters University, Mike is ready to and has all the books he’ll need to ace Scare School! The college campus life is pretty accurate to most colleges these days and I really liked the portrayal of activities by monsters!

At scare school, Mike is all about book smarts. He knows how to scare, he just isn’t scary. Then we meet Sully (John Goodman), the big blue scary monster, whose family is pretty well-known to all monsters. Sully is a scare machine and let out a giant roar like it’s nothing. His only problem is that he doesn’t know the tactics to scaring, that Mike does. After a competition between the two of scaring, the two are kicked out of Scare School, with their only hope of returning lying in the hands of a Scare Contest that will get them back in. Not a big problem, right? Wrong! They have to team up with the less than scary members of Oozma Kappa and beat out Roar-Omega-Roar (led by the always awesome, Nathan Fillion). This is when the tale turns into a formulaic underdog story with predictable outcomes, but that’s fine, because they pull it off well. Before I divulge into any more of the story, here are my Top Ten Thoughts on Monsters University!


Man… Can you believe what dorks we were in college, 12 years ago? We look much better now…

What I Enjoyed

What I Didn’t Enjoy

Being 17, I really enjoyed the fact that Pixar is still able to take myself, and all the other teenagers and adults, whom were in the theater with me, on an emotional roller-coaster.

I get that making a sequel or prequel is playing it safe, I just wish that the script could have had more time spent on it. What we get is an adapted version of the formulaic underdog story that we’ve seen a lot of. However, it does the underdog story very well.

I love the idea of a prequel in which we get to meet Mike and Sully and see how they become a powerhouse scare-team. Goodman and Crystal work so well with one another.

We get to see most of the movie from Mike’s point of view, which is fine, but I wish that we could’ve spent more time seeing Sully grow up and how he dealt with things.

This movies’ message is not as prevalent as other Pixar films, but it’s there nonetheless. Teaching us that everyone can feel like an outcast or like they can’t meet expectations, but with friendship, we can accomplish all that and more.

This is hardly a complaint, but the movie was more geared towards children (which makes sense), but Pixar knows that it’s primary demographic viewer is well about 10! Give me something a little bit more mature! I’ve waited 12 long years for this!

Being a senior in high school now, I really enjoyed seeing the college campus life being portrayed thought Pixar’s vision. It was very funny and

I think a it more time could’ve been spent on Randal, if the movie were centered around character development. His growth is rather abrupt and somewhat childish!

Although this movie is more geared towards younger children than its’ predecessor, there are still many laughs to us “older” folk.

There are some moments will have you tear up a bit, but there aren’t any big, sincere moments that will have you bawling like in the first Monster,s Inc.

This movie will really connect with a lot of different people on a variety of emotional levels. Especially with those who’ve ever felt like an outcast and that they didn’t belong. This movie handles this feeling very well.

There is an essence of that Pixar magic we know and love, but not enough to set this movie with the Pixar greats. It’s not a bad Pixar film, it’s just lacking in that little extra story and message that Pixar’s great films all have.

The cast do a great job of expressing their emotions through their voices, and into the characters they portray. Voice acting is not easy, but this cast makes it look incredibly easy. Especially Goodman, Crystal, and Fillion!

I don’t mind that that Pixar is making more movies, I just wish they weren’t all prequels and sequels. I think they have some great ideas that should be given a shot, rather than playing it safe.

This movie is short, simple, and sweet. It’s not as great as Monsters’ Inc., but it’s much better than Brave, Wall-E, or Cars 2! It feels like a good Pixar film that will have you smiling all throughout.

This movie’s theme and mood shift very quickly and often without warning. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be slightly confusing sometimes.

I cried a few times during this movie. I don’t often cry during movies, but Pixar really got to me… And I’m okay with that. If you don’t cry, something might be wrong with you…

I missed Boo, or a character like Boo in this film that has a substantial impact on the cast and situation. Even thought the references to Monsters, inc. in this film were there, they often felt forced and out of place to get you to enjoy the movie more.

The last 20-some minutes of this film are really, really good! This one scene in particular explores a lot of emotional issues while also adding in a very intricate and elaborate plan.

All in all, Monsters University is not Monsters, Inc. As much as I’d like it to be, it’s not. It’s slightly unoriginal and is missing that Pixar magic. It’s still a great film though.


Monsters University will offer lots to love for little kids, which, in the end, is the goal of a Pixar film. It would have been nice if there was more for the more grownup portion of the audience. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It’s an incredibly cute movie that had me smiling the whole way through. Anyone who goes and sees it will love it. It’s wonderful to see the early relationship of Mike and Sully bloom into what would become their best-friendship in Monsters, Inc. Despite this movie’s shortcoming in regard to its’ message and not entirely living up to Pixar standards, this movie is certainly one with a lot of love that you don’t want to miss. You’ll probably end up crying, like I did. Which is perfectly okay!

Monsters University Trailer

4 STARS!!!

4 / 5 stars     

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  1. Pingback: Midyear Review: Top Ten Movies of 2013 | Nick Tiffany's Movie Reviews

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