Parents need to know that Monsters University -- a prequel to Pixar's hit 2001 comedy Monsters, Inc. -- tells the story of how Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) met in college. This animated comedy has fewer frightening antagonists than the original, but it does include several scenes of monsters trying to scare simulated (or in a couple of cases real) kids. The flying Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren) is a scary sight, and there's some mild bullying and pranks from the popular fraternities and sororities toward Oozma Kappa (Mike and Sulley's frat of misfits). Some scenes imply a little bit of college "partying" (characters hold red party cups, the contents of which aren't discussed), and there's one kiss. Fans of the original comedy will recognize certain characters and themes, which ultimately emphasize friendship, teamwork, and perseverance to overcome your fears.
- Families can talk about whether Monsters University lives up to your expectations. Do you wish it had been a sequel instead? Which do you usually prefer -- sequels or prequels?
- How does Monsters University depict the college experience? Parents, talk to your kids about which aspects of university life are realistic.
- For those who've seen the first movie, what does the prequel explain about the friendship between Mike and Sulley or the way Randall dislikes them? What else do you learn?
- The movie is about monsters, but it's not intended to be scary. Do you think that combination works well for young kids?