Monsters University Movie Review: A Parent’s Guide to the Movie

After months of anticipation, Monsters University hits theaters TODAY June 21st. My family and I had the chance to preview an advance screening earlier this week and it was fabulous. Kenzie, aged 7, and Kyle, aged 5 both absolutely LOVED the movie. Likewise, my husband and I also give MU rave reviews for parental enjoyment too as this movie has something for everyone. Once again, Disney Pixar has turned out a hit that will appeal to everyone. Pixar is full of genius storytellers and once again this film finds a way to emotionally touch all of us  while adding in action, laughter, and a fantastic plot line.

I’ve been talking tons about Monsters University a ton online after having the chance to attend the press day for the film in San Francisco at Pixar headquarters this spring so I am super excited for this release and that everyone else can now see what all the hype is about!

Monsters University is a prequel to  Monsters, Inc. that revolves around a storyline where  Mike and James P. Sullivan (Sulley) head  to college with aspirations of becoming “Scarers”. The big concerns parents always ask me after I see a movie are two fold . Common questions are ” Will my kids be scared?” and “Will parents like it?”

My topline answer: Monsters University is a must see family movie that everyone will love. Go see it! Your kids will love it and you’ll have a blast watching MU too. Truly, one of the best family movies we’ve seen together. My kids are still obsessing over it days later! 

Regarding “FEAR” in Monsters University, I think kids 5+ will do GREAT with this movie and younger children will do fine with proper preparation too. (I’ve got tips below to prep your kids to see MU)  The movie is rated G and definitely meets my “ClassyMommy” approval.As for parents enjoyment – this movie is hilarious and has a stellar storyline. The “college” elements will really appeal to parents as you will love seeing how a college campus and courseload is “Monsterfied” for the movie. Everything from Frats to College parties are included. And if you are worried about your children seeing “college scenes” – do not fear as nothing too wild or risque ever takes place in that sense.

The animators explained it really wasn’t necessary since the wildness of huge variety of monsters on campus and parties with furry creatures swinging from chandeliers made it “wild” enough and still gave the film a genuine sense of taking place on a real college campus – albeit a monster one!

Tips for Taking Kids to See Monsters University

1. Previews Galore

We always show our kids movie trailers before we take them to the theater. This genuinely builds up excitement for the movie and preps them to instantly relate to the characters at the start of the film.

Search for the official trailers along with tons of additional scenes and clips online at YouTube. I promise this preparation will increase your kids enjoyment of any movie. Kids love repetition and being comfortable and familiar with a storyline.

I included some trailers below but you can find lots of clips online.

2. Read the Monsters University Story

Pick up a handful of the new Monsters University children’s books at the store. I bought several versions from Target – a hardback, and a few early easy readers for my kids. This is an awesome way to familiarize your kids with the full storyline so they now what to expect during the “highs” and “lows” of a movie and how the story ends. I find my kids do so much better at the movies because they go with a real sense of the story. This helps them handle the more stressful and suspenseful parts of a movie and be prepared for characters that might be more spooky since they’ve faced the images and story before.

Plus, from a comprehension standpoint, my kids always better understand a movie since they’ve read the book already. Kids love repetition and talking about a storyline after reading the book gives them a real grasp of the movie before we hit the big screen.

3. Optional: re-watch Monsters Inc. if you haven’t seen it in years to re-familiarize yourself with the characters. 

Monsters University Movie Trailers

Check out these official trailers for Monsters University here. And remember to share it with your kids to prep them for the movie too.
“Like” MONSTERS UNIVERSITY on Facebook: “Follow” Disney/Pixar on Twitter: Visit the website: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY releases in theaters on June 21st!

Are there any scary characters or scenes to watch out for in Monsters University?

Two things worth mentioning as far as Kenzie and Kyle’s reactions to the movie. I’ll note that they handled these elements beautifully since we went in prepared but I think if they were not as familiar with the storyline the elements would have been more emotional for my kids.

Dean Hardscrabble is a CREEPY looking critter. This is honestly the only “SCARY” monsters in the movie. She doesn’t even try to scare anyone, but does play the role of a “strict” principal and educator in charge of the Scaring Program at Monsters University. Take a peek at her here so you can share her with your kids in advance. She gives me the willies too!


The next thing is that sensitive kids will likely really FEEL for the studious Mike Wazowski during his struggles to “fit in” as a scare student at MU. He goes up against a bunch of bigger and meaner monsters who don’t really include him and make fun of his size. Much like a coming of age story, Mike will struggle to make friends and try to achieve his goal of becoming a scarer. His path is not easy and my 7 year old daughter felt very sad for him and his efforts when the monsters were making fun of him.

Official Synopsis for Monsters University

Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (voice of John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer.  The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.

Note: Thanks to Disney Pixar for providing us advance tickets to see Monsters University. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.


7 thoughts on “Monsters University Movie Review: A Parent’s Guide to the Movie”

  1. Colleen, THANK YOU so so much for this review! Abby is terrified of the dark, but loves the Monsters characters, so I was torn as to whether to bring her to the movie or not. With the tips you’ve provided, we might give it a go. Preparation in advance always helps. The movie looks great and I’ve been hearing TONS about it so we’re excited to finally see it!

  2. My 10yo is SOOOOO excited to see this! Went to Downtown Disney last night and all she picked out was the MU toys. This will be our kid date next weekend when we are back from vacation!

  3. My kids are really looking forward to seeing this movie! We definitely are up for re-watching Monsters Inc. again before hand. I had no idea that there were books…we’ll have to get some of those!

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