Story

Monsters University is the long-awaited prequel to the popular Monsters Inc. animated movie, released in 2001. This new movie tells the story of the early lives of lovable monsters big Sulley (voiced by John Goodman) and one-eyed Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal).

Monsters University begins with Mike as a young monster who is inspired by some of the most infamous ‘scarers’ in Monstropolis. Mike keeps dreaming as he gets older and is finally successful in getting into the respected Scare Program at Monsters University.

On his first day at university Mike meets Sulley, a natural-born scarer from a long line of successful scarers. Sulley doesn’t think much of Mike’s intelligence and ambition. But Mike is determined to prove that he can be scary, both to his classmates and to Dean Hardscrabble (voiced by Helen Mirren). He becomes Sulley’s rival, hoping that his smartness can outdo Sulley’s unsophisticated brawn.

Themes

Monsters scaring children

Violence

This movie has many scenes of menacing monsters scaring children and other people. For example:

  • A monster scares a child, who keeps screaming for a while.
  • A two-headed bird eats a worm.
  • A scary librarian slug roars and grabs the monsters if they make noise (the scene is suspenseful).
  • Monster children breath fire at other monsters.
  • All the monsters practise their scary roars on each other and on ‘pretend children’.
  • Monsters are hit with a bat during an initiation in a dark basement.
  • Some scenes show monsters at school and university bullying Mike. They call him names and leave him out of things.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The movie is about scaring young children to get their screams. This idea might scare small children who have bedtime fears.
  • There are many different monsters in the movie. Some are more scary looking than others.
  • Dean Hardscrabble is mean and nasty. She moves in a scary, threatening way. 

From 5-8

Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example:

  • Mike has a romantic dream about a princess. He kisses the air while dreaming about her.
  • Girl monsters flirt with some of the boy monsters. They flutter their eyelashes and act coyly. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie shows some mild sexual activity when two monsters kiss as they announce their engagement. 

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in the movie itself, but merchandise associated with the movie is being marketed to children. 

Coarse language

This movie has mild coarse language and put-downs. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Monsters University is a family movie and prequel to Monsters Inc. It tells the background story of Mike Mazowski and Sulley, two lovable monsters who learn life lessons at the same time as learning about the tough world of scaring.

Although the movie has been given a G rating, it has scenes and characters that might scare children under six years, particularly children who are already afraid of imaginary monsters. Also, Mike is excluded and bullied at times throughout the movie. You could talk with your children about the real-life experience of bullying and the ways that Mike learns to manage these experiences.

The main messages from this movie are about determination, loyalty and friendship. Mike and Sulley work hard to become scarers and find that working together makes them better monsters.