Movie 47: Meet the Robinsons

posterThe 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.

Meet The Robinsons Disney Robinson Family

The Production-

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.

The Story-

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.

meet-the-robinsons-1His inventions prevent him from being adopted, so he decides he wants to get to know his mother using a memory scanner he has invented.  He then meets a strange boy named Wilbur

wilburWilbur 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!

bowler hat guy

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.


Meet-the-Robinsons-Family-Tree-meet-the-robinsons-28991696-842-464At times it gets a little cluttered and convoluted but basically it’s about how Lewis gets to understand his mother, his own potential and the importance of family.

Movie Review/Conclusion-

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. meet-the-robinsons-original-2

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

16 thoughts on “Movie 47: Meet the Robinsons

  1. I have mixed opinions on this film. While there is heart in it, it does not take away from the story issues and the convulted-ness in the film. It is very jumbled, and you can tell that a lot was changed. Things are only better from here.

    1. I’m kind of mixed too. It’s got lots of problems and is way too cluttered. Still a few surprises and its general weirdness entertained me. I suppose if I hadn’t seen such dreck I might have been less forgiving.
      It was hard to write a review on because I didn’t want to give away the big reveal because it is pretty effective. But I agree it is a mixed bag. That’s why I gave it a C

  2. Yeah, this one I agree with you giving this one a C- or C. It has some heart, sure, but I wouldn’t consider it all that great.

  3. I remember seeing the adverts for ‘Meet the Robinsons’ and feeling incredibly annoyed by it, just as much if not a little more than I was for ‘Chicken Little’. I thought “Disney, why? You have a studio producing great 3D animated movies, just stick to what you do best!” I saw it on a plane once, and found myself intrigued but otherwise not impressed. Up front, I don’t like this primitive CG animation style, it hasn’t aged well. I know Disney did get a lot better over the years but it’s still really jarring and awkward. The assault of weirdness and slapstick put me off at points and I found the family themselves to be poorly developed. The message itself is a good message, and I especially love the closing quote at the end (though I won’t reveal it here), and it was enough to leave me with a lasting positive impression.

    I understand this film does have its share of fans and good on them, but it just did nothing for me. I don’t want to sound snobbish for writing it off for the reasons I listed earlier, but imagine if you will if it was 2D animated an a little less zany and heavy on the out-there ideas, I might have had a more favorable impression. I know that sounds a little bit selfish, but at the time I was still feeling bad that Disney had seemingly cast off everything (in terms of animation and morality) that made me love them in the first place.

    1. I get it. It’s a very strange movie so I can see it going either way. I didn’t think it was perfect but it was just weird enough to engage me. I liked the heart to it and I thought the villain was very clever. I had basically forgotten about Disney during those years and didn’t see it in theater. Just Pixar was my focus and Pixar is far better than this but I was surprised how entertained I was. But it is definitely out there. The family is probably a little bit too cluttered but I thought they were fun and made me laugh. The story was something new and at least there was a story unlike Chicken Little that had 3 or 4 stories mashed together with completely unlikable characters. But like I said, it’s a strange offering from Disney so I get if someone doesn’t care for it. I gave it a C so I am aware of its flaws.

      1. Perhaps my impression of it is far too jaded to considered reliable, as I was a lot more bitter and cynical back then around 2007 then I am today. Maybe I should give it another shot, see if it improves on second viewing, after all it has been eight years since then and by now I might be able to appreciate its merits more than its perceived flaws.

      2. Yeah I didnt see it until doing this project so I think I would have felt the same back when it was released. It’s a very odd Disney entry and doesn’t feel like anything else they’ve done but like I said it was just odd enough to win me over to the like side. Don’t love it but I was entertained. Let me know if it warms up on you.

  4. This is my first comment and I have to say I love reading your reviews. You’re very fair in analyzing these movies and I especially enjoy this Disney project.

    I actually love this movie but I can see what you’re saying. The movie throws an astonishing array of stuff at you during its runtime. That said, I think this movie’s central question, “If you could change your past, would you do it?” This is such a bold question. We see in Lewis’ case how his past molded his future, and how even heartbreaks had a purpose. Maybe I’m overanalyzing it but I tend to do that with Disney movies 🙂

    1. I love that heart in this movie as well. It is a bold question and even though I mention some problems I really do enjoy this film. I am doing a rewatch on my youtube channel and in that series I’m a little bit nicer on the grades because here I was new and I was comparing Disney to Disney. If comparing this to films on the whole it definitely gets a higher grade. There are a few I havent liked as much but most are higher. My video review for Cinderella posts tomorrow 🙂

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