‘Monsters University’ Reviews: Does The Prequel Live Up To The Original?

Sat, June 22, 2013 3:29pm EST by 13 Comments
Monsters University Reviews
Courtesy of Pixar

Our favorite two lovable monsters finally came back on June 21 in ‘Monsters University,’ the sequel to ‘Monsters Inc.’ The original was such a huge hit, and Pixar flicks never disappoint — so did the sequel live up to the huge expectations?

Monsters University, the sequel — well, actually it’s a prequel — to Monsters Inc. hit theaters on June 21 with huge fanfare. Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) were finally back! Pixar has historically made great movies — just look at how many Oscars they’ve won — and they’ve been especially capable with sequel movies, so we certainly have high hopes for their newest installment. But let’s see what the critics had to say about Monsters University!

‘Monsters University’ Reviews

New York Times

The voices are pleasantly recognizable, and the details meticulously playful, like the jagged, teethlike contours of a building’s arched entrance. But the story remains disappointingly familiar, mired in recycled buddy movie dynamics and the usual child-developmental directives about finding yourself and learning to work well with others. Both the originality and stirring emotional complexity of Monsters, Inc., with its exquisitely painful and touching parallels with the human world, are missing, which might be a lot less noticeable if Pixar had taken some bold leaps elsewhere: like making a movie in which girls and women are as central to the story as the boys and men of Pixar, as crucial as Mike and Sulley, Nemo and Marlin, Andy and Buzz and the other creatures great and small and male.

Los Angeles Times

Remember the days when Pixar meant perfection? When you could count on its animation to amaze, its stories to sweep you up? Remember Up? Or the smooth ride in Cars? The Toy Story pals whose friendship was anything but plastic? The love among the ruins unearthed by Wall-E? A clownfish dad’s deep-sea desperation in Finding Nemo? What has happened to the memory makers who gave us all that? They are nowhere to be found at Monsters University, the latest shiny new movie to roll off what increasingly feels like the Disney-Pixar assembly line. Cars 2 certainly sputtered. Even Brave, which won the 2012 Oscar for animated feature, didn’t seem especially brave. Monsters University is not so much substandard. It just isn’t the Ivy League.

New York Magazine

Monsters University is funny, fast, and likable, with occasional moments of real visual surprise and laugh-out-loud offhand gags: A schlumpy school librarian turns into a looming, horrific mountain of evil upon hearing loud noises in her library; a sweet monster mom rolls up the car windows to be alone with her “tunes,” which turn out to be death metal; a mild-mannered freshman struggles to learn the true value of his tentacles. But much of this is low-hanging fruit — milking the brilliant conceit of the original movie for all it’s worth. Call it the harsh bigotry of insanely high expectations, but it’s hard not to feel a little let down by Monsters University. Perhaps only Pixar could give us such a rare beast: a delightful disappointment.

Washington Post

Until Monsters University, a new origin story set several years before the action of Monsters, Inc., [Pixar] had never attempted a prequel. You wonder what took them so long, because the characters Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) are funny enough and their relationship rich enough to make the back story worth telling. The result is a charming addition to the Monsters canon.

New York Post

Monsters University is yet another play-it-safe cash grab that doesn’t aspire to come within light years of even the second tier of Pixar titles — including the three “Toy Story’’ films and the original “Cars’’ — all of which had genuine multigenerational appeal, if not quite the level of sophistication of the studio’s classics.

What? We’re — a disappointing Pixar movie? We’re clearly shocked. It seems Monsters University is — perhaps unfairly — being held up to the standards of classic animation movies, and it just doesn’t quite get there. That being said, a mediocre Pixar movie is likely better than most flicks, so it’s probably still worth catching. Will you see Monsters UniversityHollywoodLifers? Let us know!

WATCH: ‘Monsters University’ Trailer

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Posted at 11:46 AM on July 6, 2013  

to those who said “it’s boring”, “it’s not entertaining”, “wasnt funnier than the original” YOU guys need to re-watch the film. LIKE TOY STORY 3, the film was really INTENDED for young adults NOT EXACTLY FOR KIDS. how the hell do you kids could possibly understand Mike’s hardships? It’s got more moral and funny stuff, im in college and the film was so relatable. maybe you guys arent even in college so you cant appreciate the film,

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Nancy M Truax

Posted at 1:55 PM on July 5, 2013  

Well, I loved all of it; the music was great as were many of the messages. It totally beat both Cars and Brave … All Brave did was depict every male as someone in great need of something . Thought humor was both out loud funny with some sly dry wit for all of us adults (more adults were laughing at times than children, another Pixar positive by appealing to all ages). We really enjoyed all the various “departments of education” at Monsters U. I’ll give it 4 stars.

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Nicolás González

Posted at 12:23 PM on July 1, 2013  

Of course, everyone had high expectatives with the movie, but what you must think, is that the story is a prequel, not a sequel, that means you dont have to think about human world contact when nothing of that has happened yet, everyone wanted to see boo, somewhere, but it’s a PREQUEL, and all that really matters, is the fact of HOW SULLY AND MIKE began with the amazing frienship story we notice after all, in spite of all that problems and issues Mike got in his life, he fortunatley was able to become the monster we know, and that’s the only thing I care, The Dialogs between Mike and Sully were Beautiful!, and I personally believe that Monsters University has been involved in Drama Scenes as we never had seen before, creators did it with Style and realism, I loved it, the scene of the lake and the campsite was so emotional, and i had never notice how emotional the characters can be, Pixar always has tried to give an awesome message in each story, and for me, It was the BEST MESSAGE THEY COULD GIVE, how succesful you can be although the problems you got in your life. Although that gaffes you just keep moving on, carry on with your life, no matter how difficult it can be, you just do it with motivation and determination, FOR ME WAS THE BEST PREQUEL MOVIE YOU COULD SEE, thanks Pixar….
My english is not so good, I speak Spanish xD

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Posted at 2:50 PM on June 23, 2013  

It wasn’t as funny as the original, the characters weren’t as fully realized, Mike’s “lack of scariness” was a new development, and overall the Monsters U. wasn’t much of a college satire. They could have had some real fun with a raucous, funloving Sully loosening up a Type A, nerdy Mike but instead fell back on an Animal House us vs. the evil Dean plotline. It was a bit darker, with all the bullying (is it that prevalent at the college level? We’re in trouble) and struggle that was kind of unfunny and off-putting. It wasn’t even a good Animal House satire, which it certainly seemed like it was influenced by. Or a Harry Potter satire. However, overall it was a decent Pixar movie, not their best, and the family liked it.

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Santhosh Mallya TL

Posted at 1:15 PM on June 23, 2013  

I really thanks to pixar once again for an wonderful message delivery. You were great in all ,thanks PIXAR awaited for the next release from u’ll

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Kerry Hitch (@KerryHitch10)

Posted at 5:25 AM on June 23, 2013  

what Bobby responded I didn’t even know that people can make $8724 in 1 month on the internet. did you read this site link ………….. Rich6(dot)com

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Posted at 10:23 PM on June 22, 2013  

Ouch, critics are harsh. If you are like most people you will see the difference between critics and real people who watch films for enjoyment. This is a great movie and is an excellent addition to the Pixar library. Go find a real job film critics.

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Cynthia Beattie

Posted at 3:19 AM on June 23, 2013  

what Maya explained I am alarmed that a single mom can get paid ($)9110 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you seen this site… can99.ℂ­om

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Posted at 10:20 PM on June 22, 2013  

It’s a prequel not a sequel. It was fantastic, as I expected. Pixar and Disney never disappoint.

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Posted at 10:15 PM on June 22, 2013  

UNIVERSITIES “play” the music these day’s!!

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Posted at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2013  

i loved the movie, but the prequel is just… not that nice.. or entertaining…

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Posted at 4:35 PM on June 22, 2013  

This movie was genius! I thought it was fantastic. I am 19 years old and wanted to see it because the first one was HUGE in my ‘childhood.’ I wasn’t let down at all.

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Posted at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2013  

I took my grandson to see it yesterday. We loved it.

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