FILM: Monsters University (2013, Dan Scanlon)

Monsters University poster 3.jpg

Monsters University is the fourteenth feature-length computer animation from Pixar, and the prequel to Monsters, Inc. When eager Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) begins as a scare major at Monsters University, he meets the egotistical James “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman), with whom he becomes rivals. When their places on the scare programme end up on the line, however, the pair agree to work together to lead the Oozma Kappa fraternity to victory in the annual Scare Games. As they start working together, Mike and Sulley begin to positively impact each other’s lives as they come to see the value in each other, and their outlooks on life ultimately begin to change.


  • As always with Pixar, there is some wonderful animation here. The colour palette is rich and the backgrounds are full of smaller details and feature a plethora of monsters who are creative and quirky in their designs.
  • Through Mike and Sulley, the screenplay does an excellent job of depicting the awe and excitement of starting university life, while also conveying the importance of teamwork and seeing the value in others, and emphasising how petty and unnecessary rivalries are.
  • Billy Crystal and John Goodman are great as they reprise their roles of Mike and Sulley, bringing real energy to the roles and having great chemistry with each other, while Helen Mirren steals her scenes as Dean Hardscrabble.


  • While the character designs are quirky and creative, the quality of their animation is far more cartoonish and bland than the background and environment animation, and is lesser quality-wise than those of most other Pixar films.
  • Some notable issues with the film’s pacing. It often feels quite rushed due to the use of montages, which means a lack of character development, yet the climax is convoluted and feels quite padded-out.
  • A number of underdeveloped supporting characters, with over-reliance on university stereotypes, and the voice talents of Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina, Aubrey Plaza and Nathan Fillion being poorly utilised.


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