Plot summary (from the studio): Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he’s dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. With their dreams temporarily dashed, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- Family movies don’t get much better than Disney-Pixar, and MU continued this streak. My son really enjoyed this one — to the point where we finished it in one sitting, which is a real rarity with him.
- The overall message is a nice one for kids: don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of your dreams. Hard work and determination can overcome a lot of perceived shortcomings.
- It was fun to get the backstory on how Mike and Sully met. I hadn’t seen previews for this one, so I thought they’d be friends from the start. I was surprised that they had so many issues to work through first.
- I wasn’t expecting the twist with Sully rigging the final contest so Mike could get a top Scare score. I liked that part, as well as what followed.
- It wasn’t necessary to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Monsters Inc to enjoy this film. I probably missed a lot of in jokes and references to the other movie, but I was still able to follow this story with no problems.
- Let’s face it: this wasn’t the most original screenplay around. It “borrowed” heavily from just about every other college-themed predecessor and was fairly (though not entirely) predictable.
- The film was a bit slow in parts — at least for me. My son didn’t really get restless at any point, but I sure did (and perhaps other adults will, too).
- Almost all of the secondary characters were complete stereotypes, from the doofus OK frat members who triumph in the end to the overly rigid dean. There wasn’t a single character in the film that came off as unique.
As an adult, I was somewhat disappointed with Monsters University. I was hoping for an epic prequel that could stand alongside other Pixar gems such as Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, but this fell short of that bar. Nevertheless, it deserves credit for being mostly entertaining for kids, so I give it 3 stars out of 5 (3.5 really, but I don’t ordinarily do half-stars!).