Monsters University movie review – true friendship can be scary

Monsters University movie review

Monsters University movie review

About ten years ago, Pixar gave us an imaginative look at the world behind the monsters in our closets.  It turns out that there is a whole parallel universe of monsters whose society is scream powered.  Brave scarers risk their lives by going through those closet door portals night after night.  Monsters Inc. introduced us to the successful scaring team of Mike and Sully.  Monsters U. takes us back to their college days to when these heroes first met.

Mike Wazowski kidThe movie begins by going back even further than that, to a school field trip when a young Mike Wazowski and his class visit the famous Monsters Inc.  Mike, who is just a little tyke, is awed and inspired by the experience, his one eye wide with admiration.  He decides then and there that his life’s mission will be to become a scarer.

Fast forward a decade or so and Mike is now a Freshman at Monsters U, struggling to succeed in the vaunted scaring school.



monsters-university-gateIt is a cliche’ that the sequel is rarely as good as the original.  Fortunately, Monsters U is a prequel, and it is even better. Mike and Sully may be younger, but the storytelling is more mature this time around (the soundtrack is a treat as well).

Monsters University is a melting pot of Monstropolis, packed with a plethora of fascinating characters, some we love, some we loathe.  The Pixar animators have mastered the art of monster facial expressions (no small feat).  (Quickly, buy stock in Disney plush toys!)

These are characters that really grow.  College is a time for epiphany:  Mike, Sully and their friends face difficult struggles together, but finally see the light and embrace teamwork.  Even the seemingly immovable Dean Hardscrabble shows surprise.  Predictable the plot is not (did Yoda write that sentence?), but the ending is satisfying and just right.  Anything else would have been monstrous.

The movie mines the depths of college life for visual gags and humor, some of which children will laugh at but be clueless about. There is more here for parents than for kids, meaning both will have a great time. Moral lessons abound as Mike realizes who he is and who he isn’t. The value of friendship is front and center. Expect many enlightening dinner conversations following the movie.

The MPAA rating is “G.”  No, really – a nine year old could watch this (the monsters aren’t too scarey).  Are “G-rated” movies so rare now that they are remarkable?  Take “Man of Steel” for example:  why is a movie inspired by a kids’ comic strip rated “PG-13” because it is too violent for kids?  Thanks for this treat, Disney!

FOR PARENTS:  Mike and Sully and the gang get away with breaking and entering at one point, apparently without any negative consequences.  College-style pranks and other shenanigans (hazing/partying) are also fodder for parental instruction opportunities.

THE BLUE UMBRELLA: No Pixar flick would be complete without the “short” movie at the beginning. “The Blue Umbrella” is a strikingly beautiful tale of – you guessed it – a blue umbrella. The animation is amazing, and the storyline is sweet. Emotionally, it doesn’t quite reach the standard establish long ago by “Geri’s Game,” but it is a fine addition to the Pixar short canon.


5 starsNoEndToBooks MOVIE RATING

5 out of 5 scares (“because we care”)


Geri’s game – greatest pixar short ever!



My family and I loaded up the mini-van and headed to the local drive-in theater to catch this summer blockbuster.  We removed the seats from the van and leaned them against the tailgate for a comfortable viewing experience complete with home-popped, buttery popcorn.




Did you have any scary dreams, recurring nightmares, or monsters in your closet when you were growing up?


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Sherrie Hutson
Sherrie Hutson

Hi Jeff and Julie! It is the Hutsons:). Hope all is well.