The daily life of the Monstropolis factory told in the new Disney Plus series may be colorful, but not very exciting.
Yes Monsters, Inc. (2002) is one of the best Pixars ever produced by the studio, the franchise struggles to capitalize on the tenderness that Bob and Sully still generate in many of us. Monsters University (in 2013) was a real failure, preventing the saga from spreading to the cinema. So it is on television that the mythology of Monstropolis hopes to develop. Monsters at Work arrives today on Disney Plus for several weeks (season 1 has 10 episodes). A nice cartoon that takes us into the bowels of Monsters Inc., the famous factory of the original film, to install Bob and Sully at the head of a “workplace” comedy with family ambitions, even a little childish.
The idea behind Monsters, Inc.: At work (of its title in French) is nevertheless rich and promising: to resume the story exactly where we left it, at the end of Monsters, Inc. After having foiled the plot of director Waternousse, the factory of terror was converted into a factory for laughter. Now it will be the sweet sound of a child’s hilarity that will fuel the city with energy. A transition not really obvious, when one has been used for so many years to freak out kids … Moreover, the freshly graduated Tylor Tuskmon, trained to become an elite terror, suddenly finds himself obsolete, with his gifts of frightening monsters. No more “Scare Floor”, he was sent to the basements of the building, joining the crazy team of mechanics from the maintenance and repair team …
Over the first two episodes, Monsters at Work therefore plant this colorful decor, populated by hairy, horned or dripping creatures. The series takes great pleasure in exploring the bestiary of Monsters, Inc., unveiling a whole new gallery of funny characters, in charge of running the factory. It’s fun and we always enjoy meeting old friends like Bob, Sully or Célia on the way. Except that after an hour, we wonder what Monsters at Work has to tell us more. As the hexagonal title says with uplifting clarity, we watch the monsters of Monstropolis At work. After that ?
Not much. Make Pixar terrors of office workers in a vibe to The Office had everything a good idea. But the humor deployed is difficult to address adults, even if the script vaguely sketches in subtext a plea on the difficult but necessary effort of energy transition (ecological, as far as we are concerned). Without ever succeeding in fully capturing the charm of the original, this nice cartoon full of good feelings, which smacks of tea time, struggles to highlight lesser versions of the stars of the franchise. Tyler, Fritz and Val have been thought of with the best intentions, but are far from having the thing besides Bob and Sully … that we end up looking for as often as possible, when they are supposed to be only secondary characters this time.
Not enough to scream in fear either. Monsters at Work is not Monsters University. Much better built, much smarter, it conceals some good moments that will undoubtedly enchant Pixar lovers … And maybe with time, this series on Monstropolis will manage to find the right tone.