After the abysmal reception of Cars 2 and overall lukewarm reaction to Brave, many are hinging their faith in Pixar on Monsters University‘s success. Thankfully, just as April’s CinemaCon test screening reactions indicated, early reviews of Pixar’s latest are gushing over its humor and emotional resonance.
We’ll update this post with links to reviews as they arrive over the coming weeks. Check back closer to MU‘s June 21 release for our verdict.
"As far as Pixar films go, it’s the funniest and most engaging since The Incredibles, and the most emotionally affecting since Finding Nemo or possibly even Monsters, Inc."
– Brendon Connelly, Bleeding Cool
"Only a curmudgeon would not be melted by the exuberance and execution of Monsters University — a film that is truly laugh-out loud funny, and is armed with an equally touching coda of a moral lesson that avoids the precipice of melodrama."
– Greg Wetherall, Huffington Post Entertainment
"Monsters University is fun, warm, subtly inspirational and proof that prequels can be done right."
– Blake Howard, Graffiti with Punctuation
"Continuing the detachment from childhood theme seen in Toy Story 3, the creators once again ally themselves to an audience who grew up with talking toys, bugs and monsters who live on the other side of a cupboard door. Nothing short of brilliant, Pixar maintain their genius throughout, upholding their mantle and providing a film for all ages."
– David Steedman, The Hollywood News (some spoilers)
UPDATE (June 10): Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet; a string of less-than-enthusiastic reviews have made their way online. If this trend continues, it should be interesting to keep an eye on the film’s Tomatometer over the next few days.
"A humdrum straight line of a film, Monsters University never surprises, goes off in unexpected directions or throws you for a loop in the manner of the best Pixar stories."
– Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
"Not even attempting to scale the heights of Pixar past, Monsters University finds Disney’s toon studio operating at a pleasantly middling level of artistic achievement."
– Justin Chang, Variety
"Falling as it does squarely between the studio’s classics and its decidedly lesser work, Monsters University is a solidly average Pixar effort, one that brings some laughs to the kegger, but you’ll be hard-pressed to remember it at the reunion in 10 years."
– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
UPDATE (June 11): Another batch of encouraging reviews:
"Every single character and moment is played to near perfect effect, leaving the audience dumbfounded at how the movie constantly keeps raising the bar. Just when you think it can’t get better, it does, and you’ll leave the theater fulfilled, but also wildly surprised at where Pixar goes this time around."
– Germain Lussier, /Film
"Discussing it with a fellow reviewer after the screening, they made the point that there’s simply nothing you’d change about it. There’s not a moment that sags, or slows, or fails to hit the target. Not a character you don’t love or laugh at, not a scene that isn’t immaculately timed and directed. And the performances of Billy Crystal and John Goodman are up there with the best of cinema history’s double acts."
– Tim Chipping, Holy Moly
"Monsters University is the perfect prequel/sequel – it takes all that is so great about the original and builds upon it – its an exceptional film that blossoms throughout and in the process warms the heart and fills the spectator with joy. Beautifully constructed, fantastically written and laden with laughs – what more could you ask for?"
– Chris Haydon, Filmoria
UPDATE (June 13): Enjoy these new reviews, most of them generally positive.
"Pixar has always excelled in the art of pumping emotion into abstract and animal shapes. The Monsters movies are not the most subtle of their creations but there’s a lot to like."
– Sandra Hall, The Sydney Morning Herald
"All in all, Monsters University knocked it out of the park for me, and returns Pixar to a level of style and grace that has been absent for the last few years."
– Bob Simms, Binge Media
"Now this is such a joy. A prequel with as much heart and soul as the original. A group of characters that are not only both lovable and flawed, but consistently entertaining. A wonderfully rich and colourful animated world where you can get lost in. Yes, I am very pleased to say that Monsters University is a terrific film. It’s perhaps not got the initial flavour of genius that the 200(1) outing had, but there is plenty here to relish."
– Barnaby Walter, The Edge
"Pixar’s first foray into prequel territory, Monsters University continues the animation film studios tradition of hearty laughs and character rich stories, yet cannot contend with the mighty weight of high expectations brought on by its superior original."
– Matt Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews
"Much like its sequel, Monsters University will probably be very few people’s favorite entry in the Pixar library, but average Pixar is still top of the class in family entertainment school!"
– Brian Rudloff, Screen Invasion