Monsters University has us worried. Late Sunday evening reviews for the Pixar sequel, which comes out on June 21, began trickling out and they range from mixed to bad. The world may well survive a not-so-great follow-up to Monsters Inc. But we don't think our sense of nostalgia could bear similar treatment of the impending Finding Nemo sequel.
In his review for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy points out that this is the "third sub-par film in a row from Pixar, after Cars 2 and Brave, suggesting that the brain trust in Emeryville has lost a bit of its edge." Not all reviews were that searing, but they do suggest that not all is right at pixar. Justin Chang at Variety explains that Monsters University isn't "even attempting to scale the heights of Pixar past." Alonso Duralde at The Wrap compared it to The Internship. Oof. (He adds that it's not as bad as Cars 2 though—but that shouldn't have been hard.)
Of course, Pixar has tons of projects in the works, and we don't doubt some of them are inspired, but what concerns us most about this down-period for the studio is what might become of Finding Dory. Finding Nemo is (arguably) Pixar's most beloved property, certainly more so than Monsters. We now know that—aside from Toy Story, wonder that it is—Pixar's sequels haven't been particularly inspired. There's of course still hope for Dory. Nemo was a better movie than Monsters, Inc. and Cars. Still, might, like in the case of Arrested Development, we want to rein in our expectations? That seems like a pretty good idea.