CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • U
  • Animation, Family
  • 2013
  • 110 mins

Monsters University

Monsters University

Synopsis

This Pixar prequel sends lovably monstrous duo Mike and Sully back to school for some funny life lessons on scaring.

About

As nerdy, swotty Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and complacent, entitled Sully (John Goodman) meet, compete, and eventually team up (with each other and a fraternity of prodigious pariahs) to win the coveted award in Monster University's annual Scare Games, this prequel to Monsters, Inc. (2001) also reveals itself to be a remake of Revenge of the Nerds (1984). Yet if in its day Revenge... represented a briefly satisfying moment in which the jocks - and all the Reaganite anti-intellectual machismo and swaggering entitlement that they embodied - lost out to marginalised Poindexters, then the Lambda Lambda Lambda geeks have long since grown up into a weird, wired world where nerd is the new normal, where Washington's biggest frathouse now has an African-American President, and where Eighties dweebs now run Microsoft, Facebook and even Pixar.

So times have changed, and now that Monsters University does not have to work so hard to sell its nerdy characters as lovable misfits, it can instead take what is arguably an even more audacious route (whether in the Eighties or today), by suggesting that winning isn't everything, and that some (American) dreams are destined to remain chimerical. Mike's aspiration to be top Scarer is constantly undermined by the fact that he is just not cut out to inspire terror - and yet through failure he gradually discovers where his real talents lie, and through hard work he eventually realises, by the back door, a different version of his ambitions. Likewise the film itself, though ostensibly focused on fear, is too funny to frighten, playing to all of Pixar's strengths: strong characterisation, well-written zingers, exquisitely imaginative visuals, measured lunacy and boundless heart. It might even inspire a new generation both to go to university, and not to be fratty brats when they get there...

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, Billy Crystal, John Goodman
  • Writer: Robert L Baird, Daniel Gerson
  • Composer: Randy Newman

In a nutshell

A funny, furry entry for kids yet to experience the horrors of tertiary education, or the disappointment of dashed dreams.

by Anton Bitel

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Devil's Tomb

    The Devil's Tomb

    Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as one of an elite group of soliders on a mission to save a scientist from an underground lab where they encounter an evil presence

  • Film4 High Rise

    High-Rise

    Tom Hiddleston stars in Ben Wheatley's adaptation of J.G. Ballard's novel about the residents of a tower block

  • Film4 Chronicle

    Chronicle on Film4

    Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan star as three teens who test their limits after gaining superpowers in Josh Trank's found footage movie

  • Film4 Men In Black 3

    Men In Black 3 on Film4

    When Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is killed in the past by a time-travelling villain, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back to 1969 to save him, and teams up with a younger version of Agent K (Josh Brolin) on Film4

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • @janelesley Very well put!

  • Next at 11.55pm, our sci-fi double bill continues as Vin Diesel stars in Mathieu Kassovitz’s Babylon A.D.: http://t.co/U4thscUkTu

  • World cinema fans! Our late-night highlight @ 1.40am is Werner Herzog's iconic Amazonian epic Aguirre, Wrath Of God. https://t.co/nbbKxCEktT

  • Premiere alert! On Thursday, we're screening time-travelling sci-fi sequel Men In Black 3: http://t.co/U4thsdbVL2 http://t.co/W7zlCgIgUU

  • Up next at 9pm, Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox & the gang of robots in disguise return in sci-fi action sequel Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

Share