Ever wondered how Mike and Sully, the monsters from Monsters Inc, became friends? This prequel to the 2001 Pixar animated hit tells that story, as eager one-eyed green ball of enthusiasm Mike (Crystal) busily studies the art of scaring at college while his fellow student, the blue and furry hulk Sully (Goodman) coasts by on charm and little else, all overseen by the school’s scary dean (Mirren).
Featuring the rivalries of college students as opposites Mike and Sully go head to head but then have to reluctantly band together when they both get into trouble, this is essentially National Lampoon’s Animal House for kids – sadly without so many laughs. For while Monsters Inc had a great story and lots of gags, this follow-up is mildly amusing rather than laugh out loud funny (some of the college-movie jokes will fly over the heads of younger viewers, too), and the storyline – Mike, Sully and the campus geeks end up competing against the cooler kids for a trophy that will ensure they can stay in school – is rather slow. There’s also a lack of cuteness –while the original movie had the adorable little girl Boo, here there’s nothing cuddly at all, and in fact some of the creatures are more obviously proper monsters (such as the Dean) that will scare the smaller kids in the audience.
It was always going to be a difficult movie to make – after all, the first film ended with the Monsters Inc business discovering making children laugh made more energy than going into their rooms and scaring them witless, thereby rendering Mike and Sully’s scaring days in college here a bit of a waste of time – and while it’s not perfect, there are some nice moments and comic touches that kids and parents will enjoy. A good try then, not top of the class, but a solid C+
Is Monsters University suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The under-6s will find the dragon-like dean of the school scary. Some of the other monsters may be frightening for very young children, too.
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