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: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, 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 Hear No Evil

    Hear No Evil

    Martin Sheen stars in this crime thriller about a deaf woman who becomes tangled up in the plans of a corrupt cop looking for a stolen coin that she unwittingly has in her possession

    On Film4: 7 May 1:15AM

  • Film4 Judy Moody

    Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer

    Judy Moody sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life in this live-action adaptation of Megan McDonald's popular book series

    On Film4: 9 May 2:45PM

  • Film4 Taken

    Alpha Males Season on Film4

    A testosterone-fuelled fortnight as the tough guys and top dogs of macho action do the heavy lifting in a season of brawny blockbusters on Film4

  • Film4 Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook on Film4

    Jennifer Lawrence gives an Oscar-winning performance opposite Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell's superior romantic comedy.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    #Film4GhibliVote

    Vote for your favourite Studio Ghibli fantasy, and we'll show it on Film4... Over the Easter Holidays, we celebrated the world of Japanese animation legends Studio Ghibli with our most complete sea

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • @aethre Creepy... But kinda cool, right?

  • Before his new film The Lobster premieres at Cannes, catch dir Yorgos Lanthimos' Greek drama Dogtooth tonight at 2am. http://t.co/KAIyD7qufe

  • @himekida Awesome!

  • @himekida Oh, it's not over! This is just a special treat because we had so much fun with the Ghibli season over Easter.

  • @himekida 👍

Share