Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • U
  • Animation, Family
  • 2013
  • 110 mins

Monsters University

Monsters University


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


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, Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
  • Writer: Daniel Gerson, Robert L Baird
  • 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 Salt Of The Earth

    Brazilian documentary about the life of visionary photographer Sebastião Salgado, directed by Wim Wenders and Sebastião's son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

    On Film4: 2 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4


    AnnaLynne McCord stars as a teenager with an unhealthy fascination with gore and surgery.

    On Film4: 29 Oct 11:05PM

  • Film4

    Black Cinema Season on Film4

    To tie-in with the launch of the BFIs Black Star season, Film4 presents a celebration of black filmmaking talent both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Film4

    12 Years A Slave on Film4

    Film4's Black Cinema Season begins with Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten 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 editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • RT @jwoodfilm: Here's the director of Phantasm on the film screening @HOME_mcr as part of FilmFear via @Film4

  • RT @HOME_mcr: .@alicelowe gets some particularly deadly pregnancy cravings in @prevengemovie. See it Thurs with dir Q&A…

  • RT @AnxiousBatman: Some good stuff on @Film4 as part of their #FilmFear thing. Wake In Fright, Cheap Thrills, Wyrmwood, Excision, among oth…

  • @icecream4crow We're showing the 2009 restoration, which is considered to be the 'complete' version.

  • @HEELWrestling @TheBarrylad Yep, Wake In Fright/Outback tonight! And loads more to come - full lineup here: