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: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi
  • 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 Lawless Breed

    Rock Hudson stars in Raoul Walsh's western, which traces the evolution of a Texan gunslinger.

    On Film4: 18 Jan 5:15PM

  • Film4

    Yakuza Apocalypse

    Takashi Miike's ultra-violent, darkly comic horror about a vampire mobster seeking revenge.

  • Film4

    Wild In The Streets on Film4

    A thrillingly dark and dangerous season of anarchy, paranoia, violent action, gang warfare and urban crime

  • Film4

    The Grand Budapest Hotel on Film4

    Ralph Fiennes, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan and Bill Murray star in Wes Andersons The Grand Budapest Hotel, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten

    Film4.com Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with Film4.com editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • RT @Film4: Best fictional hotel:

  • Coming up next at 3.15pm, we're going abroad with Cliff Richard & The Shadows in 60s musical comedy Summer Holiday. https://t.co/f1SVKwTUdk

  • (We're showing The Grand Budapest Hotel tonight at 9pm, FYI.) https://t.co/Se1SiMIlYE

  • Best fictional hotel:

  • RT @stephanieburgis: This movie is *wonderful.* https://t.co/Vv3OYXgx3G

Share