FROM ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
FOR RELEASE: AT WILL DATED: 7/6/2021
TELEVISION REVIEW by Richard Roeper
“MONSTERS AT WORK” Three stars
A collection premiering July 7 on Disney+, with a brand new episode dropping each Wednesday.
Within the prehistoric period often known as the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s, Disney recurrently pumped out dozens of cheaply made, typically bizarrely plotted, straight-to-VHS after which straight-to-DVD sequels to their theatrical animated hits. Motion pictures comparable to “Magnificence and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World,” “Hercules: Zero to Hero,” “Sew! The Film” and even “The Lion King 1 1/2,” which options Timon and Pumbaa watching the unique film and fast-forwarding to their featured scenes, I child you not. (Timon has a distant management. Do not ask.)
Considerations about watering down the model led to Disney correctly abandoning the follow in 2008 — and within the fashionable period, when a sequel is launched underneath the Disney and/or Pixar banner, it is a high quality effort comparable to “Ralph Breaks the Web” or “Frozen II.” Or “Monsters College,” the 2013 prequel follow-up to “Monsters, Inc.,” the 2001 smash hit in regards to the lovely “scary” creatures who stay in Monstropolis, a metropolis powered by the vitality generated from the screams of small people.
The excellent news in regards to the straight-to-streaming sequel collection “Monsters at Work” is that the 25-minute episodes come fairly near the colourful, layered, eye-popping visuals of the theatrical releases — plus we get the return of the comfort-audio heat of John Goodman voicing Sulley and Billy Crystal as Mike. Twenty years after the unique, these two monsters have not aged a day! They’re as animated as ever, pardon the dad joke.
First issues first: In case you and the youngsters have not watched “Monsters, Inc.,” you need to verify that out first earlier than diving into “Monsters at Work,” because the collection picks up within the quick aftermath of the primary movie, when (retroactive spoiler alert!) the monsters have realized youngsters’s laughter is definitely way more highly effective than screams, and Monsters, Inc. might be retooled to reap chuckles, giggles and guffaws.
However as is the case with any firm the place sweeping modifications happen in a single day, the general temper at Monsters, Inc. is considered one of: HOW WILL THIS AFFECT ME???
“Do I nonetheless have a job?” wonders one pink monster in a tough hat, whereas a yellow fella with two periscope eyeballs frets, “Can snigger vitality energy automobiles and heat properties and light-weight town?” after which provides, “However I do not need issues to alter.” (What number of occasions has THAT chorus been heard in a office?)
Goodman’s Sulley and Crystal’s Mike at the moment are in control of the corporate, and whereas we see fairly a little bit of them, they’re actually supporting gamers in a brand new story thread that options newly minted Monsters College graduate Tylor Tuskmon (Ben Feldman), a purple behemoth with horns that stretch eternally. Tylor was the highest scarer in his class and one of many biggest college students within the historical past of the varsity — however when he arrives at Monsters, Inc. for his first day on the job, he learns the corporate is dropping the slogan “We Scare As a result of We Care” in favor of going for the laughs.
It is a downside, as Tylor is not significantly humorous. No less than not deliberately.
“Monsters at Work” quickly transitions into an animated office comedy, because the overwhelmed and underqualified Tylor is assigned to the Monsters, Inc. Services Staff (MIFT), the “monsters behind the monsters” who’re relegated to a darkish nook of the operation and are tasked with upkeep and repairs of the intricate equipment. The invaluable Henry Winkler is fantastic voicing Fritz, the lovable and barely daffy head of MIFT, who explains to Tylor, “Regardless of how arduous the duty, or troublesome the restore could be, MIFT is there to tighten the bolts, unclog the pipes, wrench the nut!” Different members of the MIFT group embody the exceedingly chipper Val (Mindy Kaling, who is aware of a factor or two about office comedies) and the scheming suck-up Duncan (Lucas Neff), who has a nameplate saying he is the “Official Assistant Supervisor” (shades of Dwight Schrute) and thinks Tylor is after his job. Tylor retains protesting that that is only a short-term project and he’ll quickly be shifting on, however as we all know from so many workplace comedies, leaving is loads simpler dreamt than performed.
In the meantime, Mike is working 18-hour shifts producing laughs to maintain the ability working and instructing comedy courses on his lunch hour, with Sulley plying him with espresso within the “Laffateria” and a co-worker tossing Mike a bottle of “36 1/2 Hour Vitality” drink to maintain him going. As we stated: office comedy. The gamers simply occur to be furry monsters with wherever from one to 4 eyes.
“Monsters at Work” is not on the identical degree as the 2 function movies, but it surely’s miles forward of the likes of “The Return of Jafar” or “Kronk’s New Groove.”
(EDITORS: For editorial questions, contact Josh Peres, jperes(at)amuniversal.com.)
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