Today’s Prayer Focus

Monsters University

Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Kids Teens Family Adults
Genre: Animation Adventure Fantasy Comedy Family 3D Sequel
Length: 1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release: 2013
USA Release: June 21, 2013 (wide)
DVD: October 29, 2013
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studiosclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation in Christian Answers’ site for kids—activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, coloring pages, and more
Featuring Nathan Fillion … Johnny Worthington (voice)
John GoodmanJames P. Sullivan (voice)
Steve BuscemiRandall Boggs (voice)
John KrasinskiFrank McCay (voice)
Aubrey Plaza … Claire Wheeler (voice)
Helen MirrenDean Hardscrabble (voice)
Billy Crystal … Mike Wazowski (voice)
Charlie Day … Art (voice)
Bonnie Hunt … Karen Graves (voice)
Alfred MolinaProfessor Knight (voice)
Dave Foley … Terry Perry (voice)
Sean Hayes … Terri Perry (voice)
See all »
Director Dan Scanlon
Producer Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
John Lasseter … executive producer
Kori Rae … producer

Sometimes to understand a relationship, one needs to see how it began. Such is the case with Mike and Sully. We met these two lovable monsters in “Monsters, Inc.”. However, in “Monsters University” (the prequel), we travel back to the beginning, before they were friends and learn how these 2 unlikely friends became a team.

Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is in elementary school at the onset of the movie. He attends a field trip to Monsters, Inc. (the energy company) and is instantly hooked. He now knows he will be a “scarer” when he grows up. Flash forward to Mike’s first day at Monsters University. He has planned for this his whole life. His roommate is Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), and this is a tamer, slightly shy Randall. When Mike meets James P. Sullivan (John Goodman), they are instant rivals. Sully goes by Jimmy in his younger days. He has grown up knowing he would be a scarer. He is big, hairy and can roar like no other. He comes from a family of scarers, and they are the best. Jimmy thinks he can get by on his talent alone.

At the end of first semester, Mike gets an “A,” but is kicked out of the scarer program. Sully gets a “C,” and he is also kicked out. When they return after the break, both monsters are in a class about building canisters. Mike decides to enter the Scare Games, and then Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) will have to let him back in the scarer program. He teams up with the Oozma Kappa (OKAY) fraternity, but they still need one more on their team. Of course, Jimmy wants to be on the team, so he too can have a chance at getting back in the program. The Scare Competition, and what follows, makes Mike and Sully more than a team; they become best friends.

Objectionable Content: If you have seen the first Monsters movie, you should already be prepared for the scare factor in this movie. I did not see it in 3D, and I would venture to say that will add to the fright for some children. There is a scene where a scare canister shoots around an auditorium, and, even without the 3D, it could be frightening. Dean Hardscrabble is a winged creature, and she is meant to be scary when she spreads her wings and flies. She is a dark creature, and, when she appears on the screen, the tone is also dark and foreboding. There are numerous scenes where things happen that you don’t expect, like the cute cheerleaders’ flash creepy glowing eyes.

This is a college campus. There are frat parties, initiations, hazing, cheerleaders, etc. However, this is done in true Disney-style. At the frat party, the OKAY team is the victim of hazing. Colorful paint is dropped on them, followed by glitter and finally stuffed animals. The monsters take an oath during an initiation.

As far as language goes, this is one of the cleanest movies I have seen. There may have been some phrases uttered that were supposed to be swearing equivalents. Someone mentions being a New Age Philosophy major. There is also a Toxicity Challenge: Human Children are Toxic. A monster says “Give me some sugar” to a member of the opposite sex, as they prepare to kiss.

The most blatantly objectionable content is the total disregard for rules. Sully skirts by without doing homework, by cheating and lying. The OKAY fraternity breaks into Monsters, Inc. using wire cutters to get past the chain link fence. When caught, they run from the guards and jump into the getaway car.

There is a lot to be learned from these characters about friendship and perseverance. This is a typical college campus where everyone loves the jocks and the cheerleaders, and the geeks are the loners. Mike and Sully learn that in true friendship you stick together. They also learn that we need each other. Mike thinks his smarts and persistence can make him a great scarer, and Sully believes that his looks and raw talent can do the same. It takes both of them working together to fulfill their purpose in life. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This is a lesson all of us can benefit from.

While I fully expect critics to pick apart this movie, I fully enjoyed it. As stated previously, I think it will be scary for some younger children, and my advice is to preview before taking your child under the age of 7. I had very low expectations going into the movie, and, from the previews, I expected more crude jokes and college humor. Disney/Pixar has proved once again that they can deliver a prequel that the family will love.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Mild to none

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Monsters U. was fantastic! Not just the art work, but the morals it teaches were unbelievable—determination, learning to work together, working hard towards something you really want and that means a lot to you—these are just a few of the lessons. This movie is a must-see. I’m trying to think of something in it that was even slightly questionable—I can’t—unless you don't like your kids to see monsters. Then, this movie is a total out.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Lisa, age 47 (USA)
Positive—Just saw “Monsters University” tonight, and I enjoyed every minute of it. While the movie is a must-see, there are some moments that aren’t to be imitated: The main moment is when Mike breaks his friends into Monsters Inc. to show them how the scarers come in different shapes and sizes; of course, Mike’s intentions are good, but it still could’ve been better (he could’ve scheduled a tour, like his grade school did early on). Mike also disobeys his teacher early on (not to justify sin, but who hasn’t disobeyed at one point in life? We as Christians ought to know)

While some of the monsters did hiss, glow red eyes, and breathe fire, this was part of their scientific biological make-up, not anything occult. Sulley also cheats in the last Scare Game event, but he comes to regret his decision and even confesses to the dean who expels him, which eventually leads to the successful life we see in Monsters, Inc. I adore how telling the truth is shown to be a factor to success; AWESOME moral. In this movie, we learn Randall Boggs used to be a nice guy until the Scare Games drove him and Mike apart, plus Sulley beats Randall in the games. Sort of makes me feel sad for his fate in Monsters, Inc. Overall, it was a good movie; I recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Peter, age 23 (USA)
Positive—I loved the movie. I especially enjoyed the movie’s moral that you can achieve your goals by hard work and teamwork, instead of the usual “Disney magic”. I feel it’s a more realistic yet optimistic lesson for kids to learn. Thank you Disney.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Keith Chandler, age 34 (USA)
Positive—Took the family to see this movie and we loved it ! I can honestly say it was every bit as good as the first Monsters movie. I can’t remember any questionable material, and the movie was very entertaining. A must see !
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Jason, age 39 (USA)
Positive—I truly enjoyed the movie with my grandson, It was good to see the positive lessons for Kids!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
James Hampton, age 72 (USA)
Positive—I saw this with my 4 year old who is going through a “scared of the dark” and “monsters under the bed” phase. We watched the original at home this morning and the new one in the theater this afternoon. He loved them both, especially the second one in the theater! He wasn’t scared at all, he commented about the main characters learning valuable life lessons, and he sat still through the entire movie. That’s saying a lot about movie’s ability to reach small children with a message and keep their interest!

I’d recommend it to anyone—children and adults alike! (I really wish I’d brought my 7 year old, too. I think the lessons in the movie would’ve been very appropriate for his current behaviors and phases. He was home sick with dad, though.)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Chrystal, age 37 (USA)
Negative—I was SO bored in this movie, I wanted to leave. I had a feeling the storyline would be that way, even though I loved the first one, and I love the animated kid films. This is more for kids than adults, even though many of those movies do entertain me. Definitely not something that needs to be seen in a theater or even 3D.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Amanda, age 39 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive— My whole family and I went to go see this movie on the Fourth of July, and, I have to say, it was a pretty good movie. I enjoyed all of it. There were some parts that were slightly questionable, such as the OKAY fraternity breaking into Monster’s Inc. Then, when they were caught by the guards, they ran to their car. However, it was a good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Elijah, age 10 (USA)

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