Monsters University (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

A friendship in the making?

While not reaching the heights of the original (or other Pixar classics such as “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” or “Ratatouille,” among others), Monsters University, a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.,” is a more than decent entry into the lexicon and is certainly light year’s ahead of the last two studio productions, “Cars 2” and “Brave.”

It manages to take most of the same lovable characters (with the exception of Boo, of course) and accompanying vocal talent (Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi) and then adds some new voices (Helen Mirren, Charlie Day, Julia Sweeney) to a fresh storyline replete with plenty of laughs and even a bit of a heart. And while some more well-known critics are bemoaning the need for another installment, it was nonetheless made and the results are very good indeed.

The plot of Monsters University centers mostly on Mike Wazowski (the giant, green eyeball voiced by Crystal, “Parental Guidance“) who, while tiny and frail, nevertheless manages to impress a Scarer (the creatures that sneaks into the bedroom of children to capture their screams at night) during a field trip to the Monsters, Inc. factory.

Seizing upon his talent, he is later accepted into Monsters University’s Scare Program and is paired with the hulking James P. Sullivan (Goodman, “The Hangover Part 3“) and the sneaky Randall (Buscemi, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone“). A rivalry immediately begins with the overconfident Sully and the book-smart Mike that results in both of them being expelled by Dean Hardscrabble (Mirren, “Hitchcock“).

Monsters University (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

First day of college!

Thanks to a convenient plot device, though, both can salvage their academic frightening careers if they can recruit a team and win the annual “Scare Games.” Of course, in a film relying on this setup (as in the recent picture, “The Internship“), their companions — including an over-the-hill octu-salesman Don (Joel Murray, “The Artist“), the spastic plush toy, Art (Day, “Horrible Bosses“), the two-headed Terry/Teri (Dave Foley, “The Kids in the Hall” TV series and Sean Hayes, “The Three Stooges“) and the multi-eyed pig, Squishy (Peter Sohn, “Ratatouille”) — leave a lot to be desired. And, like any number of movies which portray underdog squads, each member has their own talent and specialty that, when combined, make a formidable adversary.

This all leads to plenty of laughs that come quick and steady, making this not just one of the better animated features of the year, but one of the funniest, as well. This being a Disney/Pixar film there is also a powerful underpinning story of friends standing by one another that gives Monsters University a sweet conclusion, too.

Thanks go to director Dan Scanlon and his co-writing team of Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird for taking the time to truly develop Monsters University. Finally, without trying, this reviewer has had a good time at the cinemaplex. Now that’s something I have not been able to write in a long, long time.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: Monsters University (2013)' have 10 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 5:45 am jessup

    So glad you liked it. I am most eager to see this!

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 22, 2013 @ 9:13 pm Wheeler Esq.

      Me too. Sully and Mike are great characters.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 11:20 am VDeerfield

    Monsters, Inc. is a much better movie. I don’t like Pixar running through their titles to make sequels.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 2:44 pm Tom Skone

    Had a little heart but mostly just goofy

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 2:59 pm Yackus

    Not really what I’m interested in, I think I’ll wait for Netfilx/Redbox.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 3:16 pm canochinha

    WOnderful movie. Pixar is back on top again after the last two misfires (Cars 2 + Brave).

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 4:10 pm Bonaparte

    Kids want to see it and looks like a ton of fun–guess I know what we’ll be going to see tonight …

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 22, 2013 @ 7:56 pm Obesh

    I was sorely dissapointed to see there was no girl-on-girl monster hookups, binge drinking til puking or coke snorting and bong hits highlighted. Monsters U is an unrealistic college!

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 23, 2013 @ 5:35 pm clutch

      Damn man……..

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 23, 2013 @ 8:27 am Crackers and Cheese

    It’s a cute movie but it’s missing all the emotional depth and substance that I usually equate to a Pixar film. Maybe “The Good Dinosaur” or “Finding Dory” will reestablish this connection but I’m doubtful.

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