Film Review – Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University

Title – Monsters University (2013)

Director – Dan Scanlon (Tracy)

Cast – (Voices of) Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Charlie Day

Plot – A look back at the beginnings of Mike (Crystal) and Sully’s (Goodman) friendship in college where they must overcome nasty Dean Hardscrabble (Mirren) and turn a bunch of misfits into winners to prove to everyone that they can scare with the best of them.

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life! I’m gonna be a scarer!”

Review by Eddie on 25/11/2013

It really does feel like some form of sacrilege to not like a Pixar movie with the company producing grand movie after grand movie for so long it makes one feel uneasy when a product of theirs lacks heart and lacks the soul that made their early outputs so amazing. Sacrilege officially committed then, for Monsters University is an average film and a reaffirming that the mojo at Pixar is waning.

After mediocre efforts Cars, Brave and the nothing short of a cheap cash grab Cars 2 (which I have avoided seeing at all costs to try preserve some Pixar love) it’s not exactly a secret that Pixar have seemingly lost their way, whether due to Disney’s takeover or not. Monsters Inc was a fantastic movie filled with charm, humour, heart and a story that seemed wholly original. Monsters University is anything but, a movie that again seems to exist solely to produce a range of toys that can be sold in conjunction with its release, and while not terrible by any means is not even in the same ball park as it’s predecessor.

Setting this prequel story in a college setting seems to be an excuse for Pixar to play up every college movie stereotype available. From outcasts, jocks, mean headmasters and sororities everything in the film feels somewhat cheapened by it appearing to be some form of homage or in joke, something early Pixar movies never had to contend with. It must be said also that the iconic characters of Mike and Sully seem diminished in this film, banter between them that sparkled in Monsters Inc fizzles here which makes audience investment a lot harder.

Monsters University has some laughs and travels along at a fast enough pace so you never feel bored with proceedings. It’s a movie though that’s story feels pointless with the usual follow your dreams message the only real element to be taken from it. No doubt this colourful movie will appeal to those under the age of ten but for all of us ten year olds that have now grown up, Monsters University is a forgettable and regrettable entry in the once untarnished Pixar canon.

2 and a half angry librarians out of 5

36 responses to “Film Review – Monsters University (2013)

  1. I enjoyed the film as the ending was realistic in terms of college. That, and I saw the first one as a kid and this one as a college guy. Things came full circle. I wrote a review of it a while back. If anything, I’m worried about next year’s absence from Pixar and what that means for their next film.

    • Oh so many youngens love Cars many of my younger relatives all hold it in high esteem and have provided Pixar with some extra funds from ample products relating to the Cars universe.

      Sad to hear about Cars 2 but makes me somewhat happy to have always resisted seeing it.

  2. I had many of the same feelings in my review of Monsters University. Monsters, Inc. is up there as one of my favorite Pixar films, but this just felt forced and lacked the heart of the first one.

  3. Monsters Inc is probably my least favourite Pixar film… and maybe the first half of Cars. Though Monsters University was just okay, but I’m still not too fond of the characters. Can’t fault them for their animation though, and there were a few good spots.

  4. For the longest time, if you overlooked Cars, you could actually trace the Pixar films as they got better and better. The first two Toy Stories and A Bug’s Life were pretty damn good; Monsters, Inc. was better; Finding Nemo made me really sit up and take notice. Then the Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall*E, Toy Story 3, and Up were all beyond masterpieces. How long could Pixar keep that kind of quality up? The answer is, not forever. I’ll admit that I have not seen Cars 2 or Monsters University; I will get around to seeing the latter soon. But Brave was the biggest miscalculation this side of The Village. They took an evocative, weighty film and turned it into low comedy midway through. Yes, it entertained a lot of kids, and finally gave girls an excellent role model (it took enough time, Disney). But Pixar films used to work on more than one level. I sure hope they bounce back.

    • Very true they use to hit so many different levels of entertainment mate. And that run of 5 films starting with The Incredibles was out of this world. Wishing them well into the future!

  5. I felt making this a Monsters Inc prequel was unnecessary. It’s like Pixar wanted to do a college movie and Disney said they had to do a sequel and this is what we got. I think compared to other movies targeted towards families, it was really good but, as you said, up against the rest of Pixar’s catalog it’s just a “meh”. It was fun once but I won’t be adding it to my blu-ray collection.

  6. My daughter is nagging me to get this for her. I’m expecting disappointment – the appeal of the first film was the weirdly parallel world, combined with the sense of danger and adventure, and the emotional bond between the monsters and the child. I can’t see how any of that would appear in this follow up 😦

    I have to disagree and say Brave was a really good film! Maybe not so much in the animation innovation. But it was very emotionally rich and that background of it being such a fight to get it onto the screen at all makes it one of my favourite children’s films.

  7. I thought it had enough solid laughs to not be boring, but you’re right, it’s got nothing on the first half dozen or so Pixar classics (including Monster Inc).

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  9. It isn’t a masterpiece but I enjoyed it. The one thing I really liked is the message. I dont think ive ever seen a kids movie where the dream didn’t come true and that was the right thing. That’s a great message for kids.

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