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Monsters University

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Monsters University
MU Poster.jpg
Before they were workers, they were classmates.
Genre: Animation
Directed By: Dan Scanlon
Written By: Dan Scanlon
Dan Gerson
Robert L. Baird
Starring: Billy Crystal
John Goodman
Steve Buscemi
Helen Mirren
Peter Sohn
Joel Murray
Sean Hayes
Dave Foley
Charlie Day
Nathan Fillion
Alfred Molina
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date: June 5, 2013 (BFI Southbank)
June 21, 2013 (United States)
Runtime: 104 Minutes
Country: United States
Prequel: Monsters, Inc. (by release)
Sequel: '
Monsters, Inc. (chronologically)

Monsters University is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated monster comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, with John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich as executive producers. The music for the film was composed by Randy Newman, marking his seventh collaboration with Pixar. It was the fourteenth feature film produced by Pixar, and is a prequel to Monsters, Inc., marking the only time Pixar has made a prequel film. Monsters University premiered on June 5, 2013 at the BFI Southbank in London, England, and was theatrically released on June 21, 2013, in the United States.

An animated short film titled Party Central, which takes place shortly after the events of Monsters University, premiered in fall 2013 before being released theatrically with Muppets Most Wanted in 2014.


Set about 10 years before the events of Monsters, Inc.. Ever since he was a little monster, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) has dreamed of becoming a Scarer. To make his dream a reality, he enrolls at Monsters University. During his first semester, he meets Sulley (John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. Sulley and Mike engage in a fierce rivalry that ultimately gets them both kicked out of MU's elite Scare Program. To make things right, Mike and Sully -- along with a bunch of misfit monsters -- will have to learn to work together.

Why It Rocks

  1. It's nice to see that it explores the story life of Mike and Sulley in college before they became friends.
  2. Pixar did a very good job creating a prequel, for the very first time.
  3. Well-done and nice-looking animation for Pixar standards, with once again providing creative monster designs as well as major upgrade from the first movie, similar to Toy Story 3.
  4. The humor is funny, with Billy Crystal and John Goodman once again doing a great job as Mike and Sulley.
  5. Several clever callbacks to Monsters, Inc., such as the Yeti appearing at the end of the movie as it is revealed that he used to work at Monsters, Inc. in the mail department during their intern days, before he was banished to the Himalayas for accidentally messing up his job by tampering with the mail.
    • However, in Monsters at Work, it turns out Waternoose banished him because he accidentally uncovered plans for the Scream Extractor in the mail.
  6. The third act is exciting and interesting, and it is the point in the film where it truly becomes like something Pixar made this.
  7. Some of the new characters are really likable, especially the Oozma Kappa members.
  8. The film features some very well-implemented cameos from several characters from Monsters Inc., including Mike (as the brains) and Sulley (as the brawn). One of the most clever implementations is with the CDA and Roz at the end.
  9. This film displays an interesting backstory for Randall. Originally, Randall was a good-natured nerd, but because of Sulley he ended up humiliated in front of his fraternity, causing him to form a grudge on Sulley.
  10. Memorable scenes, including Mike and Sulley having the great escape plan. On the top of that, Sulley scaring the camp rangers, due to being the natural-born scarer.
  11. The musical score by Randy Newman is excellent, by perfectly capturing the college theme style of the film.
    • In particular, the main theme of the movie, "Gospel" by MarchFourth Marching Band (located in Oregon) (which also used for the trailer, Mike's studying montage and the end credits), is also pretty good and catchy. Many people thought it was the film's actual theme song, but it turns up it was the pop-culture song choices.
  12. Amazing voice acting, as always, especially the new cast of Peter Sohn, Helen Mirren, and Alfred Molina.
  13. Impressive World-Building: This movie shows us that there's an entire science behind the act of scaring children, that there are different techniques and information that must be taken account to perform the proper scare. It also teaches us that each monster has their own unique abilities and quirks that helps them in order to be scary in their own way.
  14. Lots of messages can be found in the movie:
    • Bad actions have consequences.
    • Goals and objectives are achieved with effort, hard work, and determination.
    • We all have our virtues, we just have to know how to recognize them.
    • You don't always have qualities to live your life-long dream, but you'll eventually find your calling.
  15. Dan Scanlon did a good job for directing this movie. It also started his directing career.

Bad Qualities

  1. The movie is not that original, as it features some clichés, like the plot of the Oozma Kappas trying to win the Scare Games uses the "underdogs team" cliché: The Scare Games plot resembles the X-Games plot of An Extremely Goofy Movie a bit too much.
  2. While the film can be funny, some of the jokes are hit or miss.
  3. It isn't quite impressive for Pixar standards that much.
  4. A plot hole occurs in that, while in Monsters, Inc., Mike remarks to Sulley "You've been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade, pal", but here they hadn't met or become friends until they went to college together. However, there was an early draft that had them meeting in grade school before Pete Docter advised director Dan Scanlon to disregard the line to focus on the setting, and Scanlon retconned this as an "old monster expression" (here).
    • Likewise, it is not explained either why Mike and Sulley didn't recognize the Yeti and vice versa in the first film when here it's shown that the Yeti used to be their boss in the mail department as Monsters Inc. during their intern days, although it's possible that they had forgotten the Yeti ten years later.
    • Another plot hole is that in the Toxicity Challenge (the first event of the Scare Games), it's unconvincing that only the Oozma Kappa members were getting hit by the urchins while almost all the other teams were flawless (one member of the EEK's touched an urchin and Jaws Theta Chi cheated, but still).
  5. Out of all the Oozma Kappa members, it's a little weird that Hardscrabble only singles out Mike as not being scary, when a few of the others, especially Art and Squishy, aren't scary either.
    • Speaking of which, Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren's character, who voiced Nrya from Legend of the Guardians) can be somewhat unlikable at times as she flunks Mike out of scaring class just because she believes that he is not scary and the film implies that she believes that Mike is not scary due to his looks, and she makes a mean-spirited bet with him that if he loses the scare games, then she would expel him from the university. Because of this, Dean Hardscrabble comes off to some people as shallow.
  6. The film is quite mean spirited towards Mike as it can be seen as a Mike torture film due to having him flunk scaring class despite his hard work and effort and then deemed not scary and was constantly looked down upon by others throughout the film.


Monsters University received positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 80% based on 203 reviews with an average rating of 6.81/10. The audience approval rating is at 81%, with an average rating of 4/5 from over 250,000 ratings. The site's critical consensus reads "Offering Monsters, Inc. fans a welcome return visit with beloved characters, Monsters University delivers funny and thoughtful family entertainment for viewers of any age.". Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 65 based on 41 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The user score for Monsters University is 7.6/10. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale. According to Disney, audiences were 56% female and 60% below the age of 25. Families made up 73% of business, and teens accounted for 15%. The film played well with all ages. For IMDb and Letterboxd, the movie got 7.3/10 rating and 3.3/5 score.



  • Before the film was released, there was a video game known as Monsters Inc: Scream Team, for the PlayStation 1 and 2, as well as PC that served as a prequel where Mike and Sully are hand picked by Waternoose to go to Waternoose's private training facility, Scare Island, in order to training to become scarers. This video game prequel is considered non-canon, due to this movie's release. However, it is possible that this game takes place sometimes after the events of University and before the first film.
  • The film was originally a sequel called Monsters Inc 2: Lost In Scaradise, and it was to be made by Circle 7 Animation as one of the planned sequels for some of Pixar's previous works, along with Finding Nemo 2 (which would become Finding Dory) and Toy Story 3 (which was actually made by Pixar and released in 2010 with a completely different plot than Circle 7's treatment). The film would involve Mike and Sulley visiting the human world to give Boo a birthday present, only to find that she had moved. After getting trapped in the human world, Mike and Sulley split up after disagreeing on what to do. Disney's change of management in late 2005—in which Eisner was replaced by Bob Iger—led to renewed negotiations with Pixar, and in early 2006 Disney announced it had purchased the studio. The Disney-owned sequel rights were then transferred to Pixar, leading to the cancellation of Muir and Hilgenberg's version of the film and the subsequent closure of Circle 7. Four years later, it was eventually announced in 2010. On March 29, 2011, it was confirmed that the film would be a prequel and the title was announced.
  • Monsters University is the first Pixar film that used global illumination, a new lighting system introduced as part of the overhaul of the rendering system used since the first Toy Story film. In the planning stage of the film, director of photography, Jean-Claude Kalache, asked "What if we made these lights just work?" Before the new system, artists had to build reflections and shadows manually, which became increasingly complex as the models and the setups became more technologically advanced. The new lighting system uses path tracing, a technique that imitates the behaviour of the light in the real world; this automatized the process, delivered more realism, produced soft shadows, and let the artist spend more time on models and complex scenes – some of which contained thousands of light sources.
  • Four versions of the trailer exist; in his sleep, Mike mutters excuses to avoid attending class in each one, such as "I'm not wearing any clothes," "My homework ate my dog," "Class President?", and "My pony made the Dean's List."
  • If time passes the same in the Monster World as in ours, given the fact that the title school was founded in 1313, then Monsters, Inc. takes place in 2001. And if 10 years is between Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, then Monsters University takes place in the 1990s, mostly in 1991.
  • The film was originally planned for release on November 16, 2012, but the release was moved up to November 2, 2012 to avoid competition with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. On April 4, 2011, due to Pixar's past success with summer releases, according to a Disney executive, it was confirmed that the film would be released on June 21, 2013.
  • Celia, Fungus, and Waternoose (recast with Kelsey Grammer) were going to appear. All three were cut, with Celia’s signature appearing in a paper, and Waternoose appearing in a photograph.
  • The movie was in development for 12 years after the first film.
  • From June 27 until July 11, 2013, Disney's online game Club Penguin hosted a Monsters University Takeover event to promote the film. Players could dress up as their favorite monsters and take part in the Scare Games.

Pixar Animation Studios

Toy Story - A Bug's Life - Toy Story 2 - Monsters, Inc. - Finding Nemo - The Incredibles - Cars - Ratatouille - WALL-E - Up - Toy Story 3 - Cars 2 - Brave - Monsters University - Inside Out - The Good Dinosaur - Finding Dory - Cars 3 - Coco - Incredibles 2 - Toy Story 4 - Onward - Soul - Luca - Turning Red - Lightyear - Elemental - Elio - Inside Out 2

Short movies:

Theatrical short films:

The Adventures of André and Wally B. - Luxo Jr. - Red's Dream - Tin Toy - Knick Knack - Geri's Game - For the Birds - Boundin' - One Man Band - Lifted - Presto - Partly Cloudy - Day & Night - La Luna - The Blue Umbrella - Lava - Sanjay's Super Team - Piper - Lou - Bao

SparkShorts series:

Purl - Smash and Grab - Kitbull - Float - Wind - Loop - Out - Burrow - Twenty Something - Nona


Mike's New Car - Jack-Jack Attack - Mr. Incredible and Pals - Mater and the Ghostlight - Your Friend the Rat - BURN-E - Dug's Special Mission - George and A.J. - The Legend of Mor'du - Party Central - Riley's First Date? - Marine Life Interviews - Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool - Auntie Edna - Lamp Life - 22 vs. Earth - Ciao Alberto

Short series:

Cars Toons:

Mater's Tall Tales:

Rescue Squad Mater - Mater the Greater - El Materdor - Tokyo Mater - Unidentified Flying Mater - Monster Truck Mater - Heavy Metal Mater - Moon Mater - Mater Private Eye - Air Mater - Time Travel Mater

Tales from Radiator Springs:

Hiccups - Bugged - Spinning - The Radiator Springs 500½

Toy Story Toons:

Hawaiian Vacation - Small Fry - Partysaurus Rex

Forky Asks a Question:

What Is Money? - What Is a Friend? - What Is Art? - What Is Time - What Is Love? - What Is a Computer? - What Is a Leader? - What Is a Pet? - What Is Cheese? - What Is Reading?

Pixar Popcorn:

To Fitness and Beyond - Unparalleled Parking - Dory Finding - Soul of the City - Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Love - Chore Day the Incredibles Way - A Day in the Life of the Dead - Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Three Heads - Dancing with the Cars - Cookie Num Num

Dug Days:

Squirrel! - Puppies - Flowers - Smell - Science

Television series:

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (co-production) - Monsters at Work - Cars On The Road - Win or Lose

External Links