With kids' movies of late being almost entirely rated PG or PG-13, it's a breath of fresh air to welcome the G-rated Monsters University this summer. The prequel to the 2001 megahit, Monsters, Inc., shows how the lovable monsters Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) studied the art of scaring children in college, before doing it for a living.
Monsters University won at the weekend box office because it has something for everyone. Adults will enjoy the humor and benign references to college life. Teens and 20-somethings, who were kids themselves when Monsters, Inc. came out in 2001, will love seeing the whole story come full circle. A new generation of children ages 5 and above will also enjoy Monsters University, even if they haven't seen Monsters, Inc.
The scariest part of the film is the character Dean Hardscrabble (played by Helen Mirren). "The movie almost should be PG because of her," my 7-year-old said. She might be frightening to some children.
My daughter's 7-year-old friend chimed in with another good point: "They should have made this movie before Monsters, Inc." If possible, rent Monsters, Inc. first to get a refresher before watching Monsters University. It's fun to see how the characters are depicted in both. For instance the bad guy in Monsters, Inc., Randy, begins as Mike's shy, socially awkward new friend in the prequel.
The movie is mostly entertainment, but parents can talk with kids about themes like teamwork, first impressions, and why we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Kid Focused Grades for Monsters University
Compelling story line - A
Strong message - A
Leading character is a role model - A
Sexual content - A (one kiss)
Language and Violence - B+ (bullying language like "stupid")
Suited for the whole family - A
Overall Kid Focused Grade: A
Monsters University, Rated G
Running Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of four young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues. Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. If you enjoyed this post, "Like" us on Facebook for updates on more posts like it. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.