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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2013
Mike desires to be a "scarer." The monster world is powered by screams. The problem is that Mike (Billy Crystal) while smart, isn't scary. He attends Monster University where he studies hard to be a scarer. The plot reads like "Revenge of the Nerds" as Mike must win a scare contest along with his hopeless fraternity to prove himself and stay in school as a scarer.

Mike is a rival to Sullivan, a university legacy (John Goodman) but later they operate on the same team.

The film is cute. The initiation scene was my favorite with a laugh out loud chuckle. I watched the film with a five year old who can't stand scary movies. She loved this one.

One the kids enjoyed ages 5 and up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2015
I have a strong feeling that my nostalgia for Monsters Inc. is going to bias this review, but I’ll say it anyway, I loved this film! There, I said it.

Monsters University is the prequel to Monsters Inc. and follows Mike and Sully before they became the scare duo of the original film, back to their “collage” years. Mike and Sully are initially enemies, due to Sully’s lazy attitude, and Mike’s lack of scariness. After nearly getting expelled, they are forced to compete in the “Scare Games” together, where they bond and discover what a great team they are.

Mike and Sully are as great as they were in the original. They contrasted each other and reflected a little bit of everyone. Pixar really tapped into everyone’s love of the underdog, and the supporting cast of Oozma Kappa was hilarious. Helen Mirren’s first voice acting role deserves a mention, as she was definitely the scariest monster of them all.

It’s very predictable up till the end, and for once I don’t care. Because Monsters University has all the charm, character, and wit of the original. It reminded me off my childhood love of Pixar, and the universality of its stories. Or maybe it has a little to do with me going to university this year… Was it the best Pixar film ever made? No. But Pixar’s bar is pretty high. The entertainment for adults as well as children was showcased through the film, with plithy remarks that were sure to skim over children’s heads but into adult mind. Most importantly, it tugged at your heart-strings. I genuinely cared about all the characters, and although I could guess at the ending, it didn’t make the journey any less enjoyable.

What I liked the most about the story was the message it sent out. In a society where a university degree seems like everything, and the attitude of “ you can do whatever you want to”, Monsters University took a daring stance on it. Despite studying his hardest, Mike was not cut out to be a scarer like he dreamed off, but he found out that there was something he was better at instead. The ending also showed that you don’t need a university degree to achieve what you want, but hard work and effort.

As for the animation? Pixar is upping its game with each production. Fur was a breakthrough back in 2001, but now the backgrounds are starting to look more like film clips from the real world. For me, the real testament of Pixar’s true ability was in the six-minute short film The Blue Umbrella before the main film, which not only showcased Pixar’s astonishing skills (for the first minute I honestly thought there was real world shots), but its ability to make you feel things you never thought you could.

Pixar may not be quite back to its former glory, but this film is a step closer to it, and gives me faith for Finding Dory, its next sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I have two favorite Pixar movies - Up and Monsters Inc. So when they announced the Monsters University prequel, I greeted it with mixed emotions. Yes, I was interested in revisiting Mike and Sulley, but I was afraid it would pale next to the original. And it's not the original, but it is fun in its own way.

As a kid, Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) set his sights on becoming a scarier. And the best university to learn to do that? Monsters University, of course. So he is thrilled as a freshman when he finally arrives on campus. Also a freshman is James Sullivan (John Goodman) of THE Sullivans. His family is scaring legend, and he is automatically big man on campus. That hardly bothers Mike since he is working hard to learn all he can about scaring, must to Sulley's annoyance. But when both of their positions at the college are threatened, will they be able to work together to stay at Monsters U?

Now, I will start by saying if you haven't seen the original, it should be no problem jumping in here. Outside a few cool cameos for fans of the original, most of this movie features new characters and situations. Think of the stuff you'd miss more as in jokes. It won't hurt your enjoyment to not get them, but there are a few moments you are missing.

The original did a good job of creating this wonderful world where Monsters are normal, and they had these great gags that were blink and you miss them type of things. While there are a few of those here, they aren't quite as plentiful. Then again, they'd already done so much in the first one, it's hard to picture how they could match or top those gags.

And, frankly, that's the main problem with this film. There are jokes. The jokes are funny. But they aren't as funny or as plentiful as the original. Then again, is going to the same well ever as good the second time?

My other complaint? The heart of the first movie for me is Boo, the little girl that Mike and Sulley spend that movie trying to get home. She's not here, and there really is no substitute. I was expecting that going in to the film and yet I still missed her.

So, now that I've talked about what the movie doesn't have, let's discuss what it does. The story is good. Predictable, yes, but still enjoyable. I got caught up in the events and enjoyed watching them unfold. Also predictable was the moral about working together, but they also organically work in some thoughts about working to your strengths and, in the last few moments, the rewards of hard work. All in all, not a bad bunch of messages without once preaching at us.

I still like Mike and Sulley, and enjoy watching them build their friendship. Part way through the movie, we meet some oddball characters who are very funny and just plain fun. They get some of the best laughs in the film.

And make no mistake about it. While this isn't as creative and funny as the original, it is still funny. It might be a tad scary for kids in some spots, but I don't think it's much worse than the original.

The voice talent is all top notch. In addition to the returning duo, we get the likes of Helen Mirren, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Alfred Molina, and Nathan Fillion. They all shine, and it's easy to forget about the actors behind the voices and get lost in the characters and world they are creating.

The animation continues to shine as well. While not quite the realistic world they created for last year's Brave, it's still quite good.

Speaking of Brave, while I did enjoy that movie, this one was certainly better.

Really, Monsters University had too high a bar to reach in my eyes. I knew that going in, and set out to enjoy it for what it is. While it's not the original, it's certainly entertaining and worth watching. Set your expectations accordingly, and you'll find you enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2015
A good fun use of your free time!
All your favourite characters are back for some more fun scaring the sleeping night-lights out of little kids.
The main thing to be aware of with this film though, is that this is not a sequel but a prequel! I do confess that for the first five or ten minutes, I didn't realise this fact and found that it wasn't making much sense.
However, once you know that this is all about what goes on before "Monsters Inc", it all makes perfect sense!
A good feel, afternoon or evening with the kids movie that will leave you smiling for quite a while. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 12 December 2013
From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other.

“Monsters University" is a prequel to the film "Monsters Inc.". In addition to the two main characters, a whole lot of new characters are introduced at the college that Mike and Sully attended. The CGI was simply and yet gorgeous, and a production that was a pleasure to watch. It’s a sumptuous film, which was all infectious fun, despite the lack of originality it, still managed to tickle the funny bones. There is good animation here and with a plot driven by well-done characterisations.
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on 22 November 2015
From Disney Pixar comes Monsters University, the prequel to 2001’s Monsters Inc. starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Before they were the top Scream Team, they were bitter rivals in college. Does this prequel do justice to the original, or should Pixar have concentrated on an original story?

Ever since he visited the Scream Floor of Monsters Inc. on an elementary school field trip, little Mikey Wazowski has been obsessed with growing up to be a scarer. Everything is going according to plan as he enrolls into the Scare Program at Monsters University. He’s got the brains, but lacks one major trait, he’s just not scary.

James P. Sullivan comes from a long line of scarers. He’s so cocky and arrogant in his talents, that he overlooks the fact that he still needs to study for his first semester Scream Final. Mike and Sully are too busy competing against each other that they fail and are kicked out of the program.

Determined that he is destined to be a scarer, Mike has one more chance to get back into the Scare Program and that is the annual Greek Council Scare Games that pit the University’s major fraternities and sororities against themselves for bragging rights and the coveted Scare Cup. The main problem for Mike is that he is not in a fraternity, so he pledges the least scary one on campus, Oozma Kappa just to qualify, but the team is short one player. With his back against the wall, he reluctantly accepts Sully onto the team. Can Mike and Sully win the Scare Games and stay on campus, or will Dean Hardscrabble permanently kick them out of school.

I’m a sucker for a good Pixar film. I was a fan of the studio the moment I saw Toy Story in 1995 in theaters. When Monster’s Inc. came out in 2001, I fell in love with Mike, Sully, but most importantly the little girl Boo. When Boo’s door was shredded and Sully thought he would never see her again, I got choked up. The original had a lot of heart and some fantastic characters.

So now, twelve years later, how does the prequel compare to the original? It’s fun for the family, but it falls short on the emotions and heart that the first one had. It may not be the movie’s fault, but this is sometimes the problem with prequels. You know how it has to end, but if it was that important of a story to tell, it would have been told first. I think the only major problem is that we already know and love Mike and Sully that to see them hate each other is a bit of a turn off. And to see Sully as a young punk is equally disheartening. I also admit that without Boo, the original would have been a completely different story. Go with me on this analogy, but Monsters University is Revenge of the Nerds for kids. Instead of the Nerds competing against the Jocks for respect, the cute and awkward monsters of Oozma Kappa battle it out against the best of the best scarers of Roar Omega Roar.

So what does the film do to make audiences want to love it? Add adorable misfit monsters. Billy Crystal and John Goodman return to reprise their roles as Mike and Sully along with Steve Buscemi as Randal from the original, but this time around, Mike needs the help from his fraternity brothers. Art voiced by Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia/Pacific Rim) is a purple fuzzy monster with major break dancing skills. Terri and Terry Perry, voiced by Sean Hayes (Will and Grace/The Three Stooges) and Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall/A Bug’s Life), is an orange two-headed monster who constantly bickers amongst itself. Don Carlton, voiced by Joel Murray (brother to Bill Murray), is an out of work middle-aged purple tentacled monster who is back in college to learn a new skill. And Scott ‘Squishy’ Squibbles, voiced by Peter Sohn (Ratatouille), is a wide eyed and naive little monster whose mom’s house acts as the Oozma Kappa’s frat house. Together these six monsters must work together to prove to the head of the school, Dean Hardscrabble, voiced by Helen Mirren, that even though they may be cute and cuddly, they can still be scarers. It’s through these four extra monsters that Monsters University gets its heart and soul, but in my opinion, they still can’t hold a candle to Boo. I do recommend to people to watch the original if you have not to understand the importance of the monsters to collect “Scream” from little kids.

One major difference in the twelve years between films is the computer technology used to create them. Monsters University looks gorgeous. All the different textures, skins, scales, feathers, and hairs look a million times better than the original. I’m not saying the original looked bad, but look at the differences between Toy Story and Toy Story 3 and you’ll know what I am talking about. The color palette of the movie is filled with bright colors as the hundreds of monsters at any given time on screen are fluidly animated.

Monsters University is a quite enjoyable film, as my kids and their friends can attest to who joined me at the screening. They laughed and had a great time. They loved how adorably cute little Mikey was in elementary school. The flaw I have with the movie, is if this story warranted a movie at all. I personally think this would have been awesome as a television series on the Disney Channel like the Adventures of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, or what DreamWorks did with the Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. I think the background story of Mike and Sully would have been better told as a thirty minute show over 13 episodes. While I understood how the movie ended, I think a tv show would have allowed for a better story with great character development.

Bonus Review: Like previous Disney Pixar movies, the feature films starts off with a really cute cartoon called The Blue Umbrella about a love story between a blue umbrella and a pretty red one during a rainy evening in New York City. I was amazed at how absolutely photo realistic the computer animation was. The romance story was cute, but I thought it was a bit out of place in a kids movie compared to previous pre-show cartoons. None the less, I think it lacked a minor bit of charm compared to last year’s Oscar winning animated short, Paperman. I think with the theme of the main movie, a more fun short would have properly suited the smaller kid audience like previous shorts like One Man Band, Boundin’ , La Luna, and Night and Day.

The movie is quite enjoyable for the entire family. The monsters are cute for the kids and the adults won’t be bored by the story. While 3D does add depth to the picture, there isn’t enough sight gags to warrant the extra money. Take my advice and check it out at a 2D bargain matinee for a nice family outing. If you are a fan of the original, keep your eyes open for Easter Eggs.
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VINE VOICEon 12 November 2015
This prequel to Monsters Inc. tells us the story of how best friends and work colleagues Mike and Sully first met at Monsters University (MU).

When I heard that Pixar were making a prequel rather than a sequel I was very disappointed because I wanted to know why sully beams so brightly when he looks through Boo’s door at the end of Monsters Inc. I always supposed that a sequel would follow to explain that scene; however it was not to be. I suppose we will never know now.

So I didn’t go into MU with much enthusiasm and I was right to. MU is something of a disappointment to say the least. The story is weak by Pixar standards, and to be honest I didn’t find mike or sully as youngsters very engaging. Sully was a selfish jock and Mike a bit of a nerd and their experiences through the incomprehensible world of American College, unfamiliar to most of us, just didn’t resonate with me at all. I wasn’t really very interested and although there were a few laughs and a couple of good ideas, on the whole the film felt a bit flat and uninspired. Where Monsters Inc. was inventive and exiting and had a proper story to tell, Monsters University is neither and the story seems more like a collection of separate idea’s strung together to create a story.

There is however much to enjoy, the animation is first class and it all looks very handsome, some of the other students (the fat one, the thin one, the nerdy one, the old one, the geeky one, you get the picture) all stereotypes rarely concentrated so strongly together, are often funny but you do feel you’re laughing at them rather than with them. At 100 minutes it’s a bit too long and should have had a bit from act two removed to improve the pace, but even that could not improve on a dull script that just doesn’t have enough laughs or emotional interest. In other words we don’t have a Boo to hold it all together, and the film needed one. I watched it a few weeks ago and have forgotten the end already.

Let’s hope we get a proper sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2015
The first Monsters Inc movie was a tough act to follow but Monsters University somehow manages to keep the idea fresh and add an engaging new storyline that doesn't spoil the original. I loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2015
Funny and great for the family get together in the afternoon.
Story line is good, shows confidence, shy and good team playing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2015
Who doesn't love these characters. Both my two year old and four year old love it. Even the "bad chaps" aren't too bad.
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