2007
Rated: G
Genre: Kids/Family Science Fiction Comedy Adventure
Directed By: Stephen J. Anderson
Running Time: 1:35
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 1/16/08
MEET THE ROBINSONS

 


Lewis: Why is your dog wearing glasses?
Grandpa Bud: Because his health insurance won’t pay for contacts!

Color me confused as to why “Meet the Robinsons” was so poorly received by critics everywhere. Because, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I loved every erratic, nonsensical, witty, surreal kitschy moment from the squid butler to the singing frogs, “Meet the Robinsons” is a hilarious Disney adventure with some of the better animation that manages to be just as sharp as the usual Pixar style we’re all grown fond of. To boot, what adds to the enjoyment is the overall excellent voice work from the entire cast who manage to successfully take the adorable computer animation to a whole different level; folks like Adam West, Nicole Sullivan, and Harland Williams are at their best here. At times the writers seem to be launching off the wall gags for the sake of being weird, but I really didn’t mind because I enjoyed what the movie had to offer so much that it was a damn good ninety minutes with moments that had me roaring with laughter. “Meet the Robinsons” is classic science fiction for kids a la the fifties with some aesthetics that will definitely cause you to scratch your head and still spark a giggle or two and you have to appreciate the daring way the creators just let loose with unabashed erratic energy never offering an explanation beyond “Well, it’s the future, so anything is possible.”

And this is a future filled with vibrant pastels, goofy inventions, and oddities like flying bowler hats. It’s a cheap excuse to rely on the future theme to account for unusual machinery and quick pacing, I know, but damn, the creative team run with it with a rather competent script with some utterly razor sharp one-liners. Just the same, the characters are utterly fantastic as our young hero Lewis’s eventual trip into the future with a large and awfully eccentric family becomes a touching look at a young orphan who seems to find a home with people of the same ilk.  

Our main character Lewis is an adorable and often times humble character of the typical Disney mold, and his mission to find his birth mother becomes the primary catalyst for his eventual meeting with a young boy who claims to be an officer of the Time-Continuum and beckons him to come to the future. On his tail is a dysfunctional and hilarious villain named Bowler Hat Guy who is a character in the vein of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons. He’s goofy, he’s stupid, and he can barely achieve anything, let alone his mission to destroy Lewis for reasons that I won’t ruin for you. “Meet the Robinsons,” like every other Disney movie, sports a very interesting moral about moving on with your life and learning to move on and not dwell on the past. The ultimate path to destruction is harping on old scars, and the intent for the entire arc is explaining that moving forward can be healthy. I enjoyed every weird moment and goofy bit of Warner Bros. reminiscent animation, and I was pleasantly surprised by the wholesome message, and overall strong storytelling, and I’d definitely suggest it for children.

One of the primary problems with “Meet the Robinsons” is that the writers are so anxious to get to the central setting and plot motivation that all focus on our main character, and his goal are lost and completely rushed. All sense of why we’re supposed to be rooting for Lewis, the emotional aspect towards it, and how he learned to be such an amazing inventor is either barely hinted on and incredibly rushed through at a breakneck speed, and only when we get to the future does the story finally settle down and focus on character emphases. As for the surprise plot twists, they’re all sadly incredibly predictable and the way the story was heading toward was rather simple and obvious from the get go. Once characters started being introduced and the story progressed, it became much too obvious what was occurring before it was even explained. As for the entire message of the story, it’s dampened by a closing scene that really wants to have it both ways. It wants to be a story about moving on with your life and forgetting your terrible past, and it wants to be a masturbatory homage to Walt Disney, and while it builds on its own identity, the climax pretty much tells us, “No, this isn’t about moving on, it’s about the brilliance of Walt Disney.” That comes off incredibly smug and insulting, especially for a movie that assumedly deifies him.

Not without its faults of a rushed character focus, and a smug double edged message, “Meet the Robinsons” is a hilarious and adorable science fiction film with great animation, top notch voice work, and sharp humor.

 

 

 


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