Directed by Dan Scanlon
Starring Voice Actors:
Music by Randy Newman
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Running time: 103 minutes
This prequel to Monsters Inc shows us how best friends Mike & Sulley first met while at Monsters University. And how they weren’t exactly best friends at first…
Oh Pixar… I love you so much. You’ve brought me so much happiness over the years, which is pretty amazing considering that I was already an adult when Toy Story came out. I won’t go on about Pixar too much – I’ll get on with the Monsters University review. Just letting you know I’m a HUGE Pixar fan.
Does Monsters University live up to Monsters Inc? No, of course not. But I doubt anyone expected it to – that would be a pretty impossible task as the first one is absolutely brilliant. One of the best things about the first one is the relationship between Sulley and the adorable Boo. Obviously, you don’t get that here so I knew from the start that it was going to be missing a big part of what helped to make these characters (especially Sulley) so endearing in the first place. I was also a bit worried as the trailers were making it look more and more like some sort of All-American Animal House kind of college comedy film. And it is. But it’s still fun and it was great seeing two of my favorite characters together again.
As far as Pixar sequels (er, prequels) go, Monsters University is unfortunately not as good as Toy Story 2 & 3 were. I felt those really stood on their own as good films – the third one actually managed to be almost as good as the first while the second one was very funny. I was hoping that, where Monsters University wouldn’t have another “Boo” relationship, it would at least be really funny to make up for it. And it IS funny (unlike most inferior kids films from other studios, such as Dreamworks). But it had way fewer laughs than I was expecting – Monsters Inc is much more funny overall. I think a big part of the reason is that Mike Wazowski, one of my favorite movie characters EVER, is far more serious in Monsters University as he works very hard to achieve his dream of becoming the best scarer at Monsters University and to work at Monsters Inc. Okay – I realize he’s very serious in the original as well but all the funny stuff at his expense just worked much better in that one. Also, Sulley isn’t the loveable big blue furball that he is in the first one. As I said, this is thanks to the fact that we don’t have Boo there to help make his character that way. But also, and I think this is pretty common knowledge by now, he starts out a little “less than likeable” in Monsters University. But we all know that this prequel is about watching HOW the friendship develops between these two very different monsters and that was fun to watch. I still adore these two guys!
As to be expected, it lacks a lot of the heart of Monsters Inc but is also unfortunately lacking in the number of laughs we get from that one. It’s a bit too “frat humor” at times, which kids and most people outside of America won’t relate to. And the straight-forward college comedy/underdog storyline just can’t compare to the totally “out there” concept of Monsters Inc, which I feel sometimes doesn’t get the credit it deserves for how truly original it is.
I hate that I’m making Monsters University sound bad, though, as it certainly isn’t – it’s just very hard to NOT compare it to the Monsters Inc movie I so adore. It does drag a bit in the middle but the beginning and, luckily, the ending DO make up for it and capture some of the magic (and some of the “heart” I keep mentioning) of the original. I obviously won’t give away the ending but I’m happy to report that I found it a satisfying conclusion (or “beginning” if you want to look at it that way) for Mike & Sulley. And as my hubby pointed out, it sends a good message to kids – which is good after a bit too much “college humor” that probably went over their heads. As for the beginning: I loved it. Probably my favorite part of the whole movie. But Mike Wazowski has always been my favorite… For lovers of Mike, you’ll be happy to know that Monsters University is much more the story of Mike whereas Monsters Inc is more Sulley’s story. And Mike as a little kid is the cutest thing I’ve seen in a very long time. 🙂
My Rating: 7.5/10
(FYI – My Monsters Inc rating is probably 9.5/10)
Scene After The Credits?: Yes, Monsters University does have an extra little fun scene at the very end of the credits. Worth watching for completionists. Like me.
Characters From Monsters Inc?: Yes, we get to see some characters from Monsters Inc. I won’t say who so it can be a surprise. I feel bad at not mentioning Randall – it was fun seeing him again as well. Watch for the poster above his bed – You’ll recognize it if you know Monsters Inc well.
How does Monsters University compare to Despicable Me 2?: I was very much looking forward to both of these as I love the originals so much. My fear was that Despicable Me 2 was looking like it was going to be much better than Monsters University. Well, I do think Despicable Me 2 did manage to live up to its original a bit more than Monsters University did. I thoroughly enjoyed both but almost hate to say that I enjoyed Despicable Me 2 (slightly!) more. My review is HERE if you’re bothered.
I gave it an 8 too. I kind of liked that Pixar dropped the sappy stuff for a change and just made a very funny film. I’ve only experienced american college through movies so I enjoyed this as an affectionate homage to animal house etc. Great review!
Thanks! But I kind of like the sappy stuff… 😉 I think Pixar gets the right “sappy balance” in their films, though. It doesn’t feel contrived. And I suppose I experienced American college so don’t find that as interesting. It was a fun film, though, and I’ll always love Sulley & especially Mike. 🙂
Great review. Its not as good as Monsters Inc but it was a lot of fun. Best animation so far with Despicable Me 2 being a distant 2.
Thanks! Although Despicable Me 2 certainly isn’t a distant second for me. I DO think Monsters University is a better film but think Despicable Me 2 was closer to achieving being on par with the original more than Monsters U was. Inc is just way too hard to live up to! 🙂
Commented on a couple reviews on your blog. Think they’ve probably gone into your spam folder… Wish WordPress would sort that problem out!
Wow ok, I will check it out.
Waiting for dvd myself, good review 😀
Thanks! 🙂 But how can you possibly wait for DVD for a Pixar film?!?! Lol
Well the only time I go see a kids film in cinema is if I can take a younger cousin, otherwise I am a 20 year male sitting amongst children with their parents who are seconds away from calling the police 😀
Lol! The way you get around that is by going to the latest possible showing after most kids are at home & in bed…
…so I can prey on the few kids who are there?
Um, that’s not exactly what I meant. Lmao! Seriously – I’ve gone to plenty of Pixar films at the latest possible showings and not one kid was there. Don’t want noisy little brats ruining my Pixar experience! 😉
Haha well i’ll give it a try then 😀
Saw this at the weekend and I loved it! It doesn’t quite live up to the original but it was never really going to, but it does come very close. I sat there with a grin for most of the film. Nice review 🙂
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 We definitely felt the same way about this one.
I agree with everything. This was so enjoyable. I love Monsters Inc although it’s not the most hallowed Pixar film for me so it wasn’t hard for this to live up to the original for me, which it did.
Thanks. 🙂 I LOVE the original so it was never going to quite live up to that one for me.
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