FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT YET SEEN MONSTERS AT WORK, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
My excitement was through the roof for this new series, as Monsters Inc. is one of my favorite Pixar films. And this might be a hot take, but I also adore Monsters University as well. I think this world really lends itself well to expansion because there seems to be so many untold stories from Monstropolis that are just waiting to be put up on the screen.
This is only the second time a Pixar property has been adapted into a long-form television show. The first was Buzz Lightyear of Star Command which came out two decades ago. I was a little worried going into Monsters at Work however, because this is not an associated production from Pixar… although they were lightly involved in the development of the series.
DOES THIS SERIES WORK FOR ADULTS?
I think Monsters at Work has gotten off to a great start. The plot works perfectly to progress the storyline after the happenings in the first movie. These characters are all trying to adapt to this new way of work… instead of scaring children, they have to make them laugh now. And a lot of the monsters who were great at their jobs before, are now struggling with this new status quo. This is where I think the show succeeds for adults, as well. Besides that rush of nostalgia you get from the first episode, when you enter Monstropolis for the first time, again… the show’s themes of displacement and adaptation in the workplace will really resonate with older viewers. In a time when things are changing constantly in our workforce, Monsters at Work’s plot seems more fitting than ever.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
Children will also be engaged by the new and returning characters, the outrageous shenanigans and the vibrant and colorful animation. Though the series definitely doesn’t have the depth of the pristine animation of one of Pixar’s theatrical outings, for a television show, I was really impressed with what Canadian-bred ICON Creative Studio was able to bring to the screen here.
WHICH CHARACTERS FROM THE FILM RETURN?
I was also really happy to see how much screen time Mike and Sully got in both of these episodes (the fact that John Goodman and Billy Crystal return is a huge plus for the series), as well as cameos with Jennifer Tilly’s Celia May and fan-favorite Roz. Though I can’t help, but feel like something is missing without Boo in the picture. The young girl brought the much-needed heart and humanity to the original Monsters Inc. I believe that is what people thought was severely lacking from Pixar’s prequel film. The heart is also nowhere to be found in these first two episodes. But, that surely doesn’t mean that they can’t mend that in future installments.
HOW ARE THE NEW CHARACTERS?
The series has created a whole slew of zany new characters for us to fall in love with, and they are voiced to perfection by Ben Feldman, Mindy Kaling, Henry Winkler and Kelly Marie Tran. But, it is Alanna Ubach (who was also in Pixar’s Coco) as Cutter, who is the stand-out for me, as she garnered the most laughs out of all the newbies. Speaking of laughs, the show is still finding its footing with its comedy, just as the characters in the show are, as well. But, there were a couple of moments of brilliance and I can see the writers coming into their own as the show progresses.
If you enjoyed the original film (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Monster’s Inc.) you are going to love this new series. I think adults will get a kick out of returning to this world and kids will be enthralled by the vibrant animation and zany shenanigans. I do hope the show is able to find a little bit more heart, to go along with the humor, in future episodes, though.
Monsters at Work premieres on Disney+ Wednesday, July 7th and tune in every week after that, for new episodes.
Are you excited for this new spin-off series? How does Monsters Inc. rank in your Pixar line-up?
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