The last few nights of movie viewing have been rough going…I try to be kind and positive on my reviews but I would be lying if I didn’t say how much I disliked Brother Bear, Chicken Little and Home on the Range. Treasure Planet was fine but kind of dry. The reviews don’t have any meaning if they are all vanilla and you never either love or hate something.
But it’s tough when there is a stretch of bad reviews. Start to feel like a jerk! I want to like them! Really I do.
Fortunately we get a break from the dreck with Disney’s strange but entertaining 47th animated classic Meet the Robinsons. This is not a masterpiece but as pop entertainment it is creative and bizarre and I liked it.
There isn’t a ton to say on production but that Pixar was officially purchased by Disney during the making of the movie, which is why John Lasseter became a producer on the film.
In fact, he saw an early screening and didn’t think the villain was scary enough so he changed it and evidently 60% was changed and retooled. It has the feel of a movie that is a bit overwrought and maybe retooled a bit too much but it still works.
It is also of note because it was the first Disney movie to be released in digital 3D that is so common now.
The movie has a bit of a Simpsons feel with broad humor and bright colors and even has Danny Elfman as the composer of the score (who wrote the Simpsons theme). It’s not as good as the Simpsons or as funny but I would bet it is a creative influence.
The soundtrack has songs by Jamie Cullum, Rob Thomas, They Might be Giants and others and it is very good. Probably Disney’s best pop song soundtrack. (At least it is a step up from The Spice Girls in Chicken Little…)
The voicecast is universally strong and huge (shows how many characters are in the story). Steve Anderson voices 3 parts including the Bowler Hat Guy, Ethan Sandler 5 including Doris. Tom Kenny, Tom Selleck, Laurie Metcalf, Angela Bassett, Harland Williams all provide voices.
This movie is impossible to describe without being a huge spoiler for those who haven’t seen it.
Basically it’s kind of Back to the Future meets The Incredibles meets strangeness.
A little kid named Lewis is an orphan who likes to invent things (kind of like Doc Brown as an orphan kid). He even keeps his roommate up all hours of the night with his inventions.
Wilbur is looking for a man with a bowler hat who has stolen a time machine. This sends Lewis on quite the journey! The Bowler Hat man is a very good and creepily drawn villain. You will never guess who the Bowler Hat man really is. Or at least I didn’t. It’s very clever!
Lewis and Wilbur meet the Robinson family and I don’t want to give the surprises away but there is a dinosaur and several other inventions. It’s a nutty movie.
I don’t want to oversell Meet the Robinsons because it has big problems. It throws a lot at the screen and at a certain point it becomes exhausting, but I’d rather have that than a lazy predictable entry like Brother Bear. Just my personal preference I suppose.
I’m not sure every plot point works out and the writing could be sharper, creating more compelling characters but what we get isn’t bad. In fact, I think it is pretty good.
It’s certainly bright and colorful and the story definitely surprised me. The villain is very well done and like I said caught me off guard. The big reveals work and overall I was charmed by it.
It might be a little hard for kids to keep track of everything and I wish there were a few more laughs but I think enough is there to entertain kids and it’s maybe even more suited to teens.
We do also get some really nice messages about family, being yourself, and getting adequate amounts of sleep each night…!
It’s certainly a huge step up from Chicken Little. That’s for sure. It’s no Pixar. I mean Pixar came out with Rataouille in 2007 and who can compete with that?… (was a weird year for animation because the Bee movie also came out which is a strange mixed bag like Meet the Robinsons).
So looking for some odd and colorful entertainment? Give Meet the Robinsons a shot.
Overall Grade- C