Ten years after the release of Pixar’s animated classic, ‘Monsters Inc.’, fans finally have a sequel, in the form of a Disney+ show. ‘Monsters at Work’ will be released on Disney+ on the 7th of July, and will be a 10-episode series. The show takes place right after the events of the 2001 film and sees a new recruit, Tylor Tuskmon, join the company just as the company overseas a huge change. Now Tuskmon must adapt to these new rules, replacing scares with laughter, and relearn everything he knew.
The first two episodes act as an introduction to the characters of the show as well as the state of the company after the events of the 2001 film. And, while Mike and Sully did save their friend and ‘save the day’, it makes sense that the running’s of the workplace would be affected by this huge change. By taking away the CEO and changing the overall set up of what Monsters Inc. does, the show immediately opens with chaos. The city is experiencing blackouts due to a reduce in energy, and it was already experiencing a shortage, as the 2001 film mentions, so this drastic change doesn’t help matters. But it also questions the stability of the current workers. With scaring now being replaced with laughter, humour and jokes, the top scarers are now struggling because they have to completely change their work performance. It’s interesting and eye-opening to see that not everything is going right for the company, and it makes sense that, with the drastic changes, Monsters Inc. has been flipped around completely.
What is pleasant to see is the original voice cast returning! Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles as Mike Wazowski and James. P. Sullivan, who are now the new CEOs of the company. Despite the minor appearances they make in the first two episodes, the voice performances are fantastic and demonstrate to the audience that these two actors still know the characters despite the decade long gap. The episodes also show how much the two friends have grown and that they may be a great fit as the new CEOs of Monsters Inc. after all. Their brief appearances in the first two episodes may deter fans who were expecting them to be the lead characters, but this aspect works for the story it’s telling.
The animation is the only critique so far. It’s not as good as the animation quality of Pixar’s usual work, but it’s ultimately fine for the show. The character designs, for the most part, have stayed the same which helps with the continuity of the series and the new character designs are unique and creative. Each monster is different and there isn’t a single one that looks identical. However, the shading, specifically in episode 2, is a little odd. Some scenes are strangely lit and shaded, and even Celia’s colouring changes in episode 2, which is a baffling decision. But the animation isn’t unwatchable; there’s just some strange choices when it comes to this aspect.
The first episode, ‘Welcome to Monsters Incorporated’, introduces viewers to the new character, voiced by Ben Feldman (As Above So Below, Cloverfield) at his chaotic first day at work. It’s a good introduction to the show and a great continuation to the result of the 2001 film’s ending. Understandably, Tylor is confused and frustrated at the sudden change the company’s going through, especially since it was his dream to become a scarer to now being told that that doesn’t matter anymore. He then meets the MIFT’s, Monsters Inc. Facilities Team, who are the company’s repair team and their strange behaviour due to them being situated underground a lot.
The second episode is called ‘Meet the MIFT’s’ and this is where Tylor truly sees the work that the repair department carry out. While they are strange, as seen in the surreal Initiation scene, they also know what they’re doing when something breaks in the company. This episode specifically demonstrates their skills at fixing a malfunctioning door and it shows that the team are truly valuable to the workings of Monsters Inc. Of course, if something breaks, a repair team would be needed so this episode, and show, highlight a side of the company that audiences have never seen before.
Episode 2 also shows the skills that some monsters have who were previously just assistants to the scarers. Because of the big change in how the city’s energy is gained, it turns out that Mike is a great jokester (not scarer), and even teaches the Comedy classes in a hilariously fast-paced sequence. While he wasn’t a good scarer, he makes a fantastic jokester.
The first two episodes of ‘Monsters at Work’ have caught my attention and re-captured my childhood. While the animation quality isn’t as polished as Pixar’s feature films, the beloved characters are back, and the new characters are interesting. The show highlights a side of Monsters Inc. that wasn’t previously seen before, but one that is valuable to the workings of the company. The company has also gone through a big change, and it makes sense that it would not work straight away. The first two episodes are ultimately great at re-introducing fans into the Monster world and to the new and (sort of) improved Monsters Incorporated.
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