Not Pixar's finest say critics, but a rib tickling animation nonetheless, Billy Crystal and John Goodman's Monsters' University is a prequel that visits the college days of Monster's Inc. characters. SPOILERS ALERT
The monsters (or rather the wannabe monsters) Mike and Sulley have returned but in a flashback story. Monsters University is the prequel to the very successful 2001 animated film Monsters Inc.
"When the film opens, they are not exactly the characters we know and
love from the 2001 film. Mike is much more wide-eyed and innocent; Sulley is, to put it bluntly, a huge jerk. And they don't exactly like each other," reveals Michael O'Sullivan in The Washington Post.
Calling the film "a charming addition to the "Monsters" canon" O'Sullivan adds, "It may be children's terror that powers the movie's fictional universe, but it's the energy of its stars that lights up "Monsters University.""
Marshall Fine establishes that the film is more of a college-comedy than a mere animation in The Huffington Post, "As Monsters University (and its 2001 predecessor, Monsters, Inc.) proves, a solid comedy is a solid comedy, no matter how it's made. While some may dismiss this prequel…it's actually a college-comedy with smarts, heart and a lot of laughs."
Henry Barnes looks into what the prequel does for Pixar in The Guardian. "There are Pixar films you mess with and Pixar films you don't. Re-fit Cars as much as you like, leave Ratatouille alone. Before Monsters University, I'd have classed Monsters, Inc - the 2001 adventure about a pair of bogeymen employed by a corporation to scare up energy from human kids' screams - as untouchable," he writes.
But to his surprise "this prequel is just faithful enough, just funny enough to leave it lurking in the twilight in-between."
The film invokes a sense of the old Pixar. Joe Morgenstern writes in the Wall Street Journal, "It's an awful disappointment-and one more reason to worry about Pixar's future under Disney ownership", but Barnes feels otherwise.
"Monsters University - a fun, disposable watch - has taken one of these worlds and repeated it to formula. It leaves the studio looking nostalgic. Aching for the days when they made some of the best films - animated or otherwise - out there," he writes.
Peter Travers can't help but put in a good word for the film in Rolling Stone. "It's all infectious fun, despite the lack of originality. In the art of tickling funny bones, Crystal and Goodman earn straight A's."