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I'm writing reviews for a German movie website and thus got into a
press screening of the new CG animated Disney movie "Meet the
Robinsons" in Munich a little while ago. I'm a big animation fan myself
and love many of the old Disney movies, although lately I've been more
impressed with Pixar's films than anything Disney had to offer in the
last few years. However, the story of this one is actually quite
interesting and not as uninspired and generic as Disney's last
traditionally animated feature Home on the Range or as messy as their
first CG outing Chicken Little. It offers a number of nice surprises
and even a good plot twist or two without causing too much of the old
time-traveling headache. The humor also works quite well, although many
of the jokes seem to be aimed at adults and little kids might not get
all of them. (Didn't bother me, though
) Most importantly, this film
does not contain a single fart joke nor any talking animals or even
animal sidekicks (except for those singing frogs you might have seen in
the trailers, but they're really not the same thing). I don't know how
close this adaptation is to William Joyce's novel "A Day With Wilbur
Robinson", as I've never read anything Joyce has written, but it all
works pretty well and manages to be an exiting and entertaining family
One aspect of the movie that works particularly well is the design. The buildings, machines and landscapes of the future really look totally cool and have a very own look that is inspired by Joyce's illustrations and various visions of the future from the 50ies and 60ies. They're beautifully rendered, too. Furthermore, the animation is pretty awesome. The movements of the quirky characters are very fast but funny and cleverly stylized. The best example for this is the Bowler Hat Guy who moves in a unique style that makes him look like a giant Spider. This really is a welcome change from the hyper-realistic motion capturing stuff we've been seeing in a lot of movies lately. The character design isn't so bad either. However, the humans don't look quite as good as the ones in The Incredibles, the stylization of some characters makes them look a little too artificial for my taste. The voice-acting, which relies on solid voice actors and luckily doesn't involve any fancy stunt casting, leaves nothing to be desired. Danny Elfman's score is pretty fine, too. I could have done without the cheesy pop songs that were played at some parts of the film, though.
Altogether, I highly recommend seeing this warmhearted family film to any animation fan. It might not be as good as my Pixar favorites The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, but it sure is a lot better than most of the other studios' wisecracking-and-farting-animal flicks. With Pixar's John Lasseter pulling the strings at Disney's animation unit now, they finally seem to be getting back on the right track and I'm looking forward to their next projects, especially the traditionally animated The Frog Princess.
One last thing: as some of you might have heard, Disney wants to start putting original animated shorts in front of their feature films again. Meet the Robinsons kind of makes a start by showing the old Mickey, Donald & Goofy short Boat Builders in the beginning. It's a great experience to see one of those on the big screen again and the kids in the audience apparently loved it.
The tagline of this movie is perfect... because it describes exactly
what Meet the Robinsons means for the Disney Feature Animation
studios... a step forward. Disney had been on a slide in the last few
years... they were beginning to make cheap comedy movies with thin
characters and story lines. I am happy to report that those days are
Now, I'm sure many are wondering just what kind of influence John Lasseter has had on this film... and I can report that it is all positive. This movie could easily have been just as pointless as Chicken Little and The Wild... it could have been another thin comedy... but it wasn't. Here we finally have somewhat of a return to Disney's old style, where they make the audience laugh but also have a deep story with real-life problems and great characters. And I am happy to report that the humor is actually made with wit! There are no fart jokes, no potty humor, and the sidekick characters don't annoy the heck out of you.
The first part of this movie, where we first see Lewis and Goob growing up at the orphanage, and then Lewis is whisked away to the future, is where all of my complaints lie. The beginning is very rushed, and does not give you a chance to really get to know Lewis or his feelings before he is whisked away into the future. And once he gets there, everything remains rushed. You meet the entire Robinson family in only about two minutes, and it's slightly overwhelming to have that much thrown at you. The opening of the future part is the part of the movie where you see what it COULD have been... a comedy that did nothing for you, and tried to overwhelm you with endless one-liners from wacky characters. But then the movie turns serious, the plot begins to unwind, and pace is much better. The characters become deeper and more realistic, their motivations and personalities shine through, and the storyline becomes absolutely fantastic. By the end of the movie, you really feel like you have been on an adventure. The main character shows hope, he develops and grows quite a bit through the course of the film, and there is a very uplifting message, from Walt Disney himself, to keep moving forward.
So, overall, this is great family entertainment. The animation is quite good, much better than most other studios, but I don't think it's quite as great as some critics have made it out to be... maybe because I didn't get to see the 3-D version. But for me, it was the story that made the movie. Combine the great story, witty humor, and fun animation, and you have a movie that is definitely a step in the right direction for Disney. The motto could not be better placed... keep moving forward, and keep looking for better and better films from Walt Disney Pictures in the future.
Somewhere Walt Disney must be smiling. "Meet the Robinsons" is the
perfect, unlikely marriage of manic, absurd humor, eye-popping visuals
and honest-to-goodness emotional depth. It is a close cousin to the
first "Back to the Future," yet it feels completely original at the
same time. The 3-D animation works seamlessly within the story. It is
not played for a cheesy gimmick (like, for example, "Spy Kids
3-D"...groan). In fact, it is so well integrated into the narrative
that you could almost take it for granted, so it's a good thing that at
the heart of "Meet the Robinsons" there is a wonderfully entertaining
story. In typical Disney fashion the central character is a motherless
(and in this case, fatherless) youth -- however this time it is not
merely a device whose sole purpose is to leave him unencumbered to
embark on his own adventure. In fact, his orphaned status and quest to
find the mother that left him at the orphanage as a baby IS the point
of his journey. But there's no room for sugary sap here, thanks to an
almost unending stream of quirky characters and plot twists. Of course
stories like this can't succeed without a great villain. In this case
the filmmakers have managed to craft a bumbling villain who is
simultaneously hilarious, sympathetic and just menacing enough to keep
the tension going. He reminded me of Snidely Whiplash, Mack the Knife,
and the magician from Rankin-Bass' "Frosty the Snowman," all rolled
This movie has all the seat-of-your-pants fun of a great amusement park ride and still manages to make you (well...me) cry at the end. The deft combination of love and laughs results in a movie that stays with you well after the lights have come up, leaving you wanting more. It is rare nowadays for and entire audience of moviegoers to spontaneously burst into applause at the end, but that's what occurred when the credits began to roll for this film. "Meet the Robinsons" is loaded with enough heart, rapid fire jokes and blink-and-you'll-miss-them sight gags to make it worth repeated viewings. We can't wait for the eventual DVD release -- hopefully in 3-D. Come to think of it, we REALLY can't wait, so we're going to see it again on the big screen.
I went to the theater this afternoon to catch an R-rated film and goofed on the times. The only movie available in my time frame allowed was Meet the Robinsons. I reluctantly bought a ticket and was pleasantly rewarded with a movie experience that reminded me very much of my childhood. When we got to go to the movies in the 50's and 60's, there were trailers, followed by the newsreel and then a cartoon before the main attraction. The non-three D version started with non-R rated trailers, followed by a Mickey Mouse cartoon (loved it!) and then the main feature. It was very entertaining to sit back and relax and not worry about the good guys dying, the amount of slaughter that would be portrayed, or that there wouldn't be a positive message at the end. As an adult, there were enough references to keep me entertained and from the sounds of the kids in the theater, they were obviously enjoying this movie. I would highly recommend it to all but the crankiest movie-goers, and I personally loved the quote from Uncle Walt at the end of the movie. When I was little, our whole family watched Walt Disney every Sunday and I particularly remember when it changed to Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Walt Disney was a man ahead of his time and I really miss his adventurous spirit and inquisitive mind. He introduced and ended each episode and I really enjoyed seeing him every week. I wish that Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color was still on every week and that new episodes would still be made.
Outside of the beautiful faces that I helped to create and another that
made an honest man of me...I truly loathe most everything that passes
as...anything, truly. I took two of my sons and a young friend of
theirs to see Meet The Robinsons, today. Having never wanted to shout
anything from a mountain top - let me just offer up a piece of advice
for anyone looking for something uplifting, inspirational -
heartbreaking but re-affirming...you must see this movie. I'm a
braveheart guy, I love goodfellas and Will Ferrell movies - I'm an
idiot; but I can't imagine hearing more beautiful words come out of my
sons mouth than when we left the theatre and hearing him say "that
movie made me feel good about myself". Poetry - from the mouth and mind
of someone who doesn't know any better - or any worse. The movie is
about - and this isn't a spoiler - family and caring for someone other
than yourself. It isn't standard Disney stuff - even though that sounds
EXACTLY like standard Disney. I'm running out space and I'm not
completely making the most sense which is exactly how I feel at 37
Do me a favor, do your drive to work tomorrow morning a favor...go see this movie. Take an extra second in the morning to smell your kids, kiss your spouse and lay off your horn...it's nice every once in a while to leave something...inspired, and feeling "really good about yourself" - even for just a second.
Was a little "ify" about taking my 5 and 2 year old daughter's to this
movie. Actually was concerned that it may not hold their attention.
Based on some reviews, I honestly didn't think I would care for it.
Being a huge fan of Disney's work, but seeing their young target audience erode to the digital-only studios, I was hoping they'd come back to strong story lines.
Well, Meet the Robinsons was a surprise to me. Had a great story line, extremely visually appealing, awesome voicing (I do professional voice work so have a different appreciation for this), and an all-round great movie.
The only negative thing I must say (without spoiling the movie) is that when it came down to the part of the movie where it changes and you see much more of the hat in the future (again, don't worry.. no spoiler in this info) both of my daughters were pretty frightened and jumped to my lap. The visuals and content during this part of the movie really took on a different edge (color/music changes, etc.) As far as making it to frightening, I would hate in retrospect to see it changed to be a little more "small kid friendly". I would say that it might be a much better movie for children over 7 or 8 to see. I have to say again that as an adult, I thought it was really great.
One of the features of this movie I thought was clearly outstanding was the musical composition (and songs) that Danny Elfman (Nightmare, Corpse Bride, Simpsons, and a million other compositions) did. One particular song is such an awesome, up-beat, fun song that I really hope Disney puts a push behind it to give it radio airplay. (I'm also a former radio jock in Dover, Athens, Akron, Cleveland, Denver, Fort Collins, and Madrid-Spain) Certainly Elfman has written some great and memorable music ("What's This? - Nightmare Before Christmas), but I'd have to say the music in Robinsons is some of his finest.
I'd sum this all up in saying that, like the Disney tradition, this is story with great writing, great music, a lesson to be learned, and fun in general. It might be a little too much for the very little kids (even Beauty & The Beast or Aladdin had parts that could be frightening to very little kids though). I get (and hope) that Disney stays on the course they've moved with Robinsons. It's nice to see Disney getting back to their roots for story telling, yet moving forward (Shrek-like) with their animation and modern feel.
On a side-note: Ironically, the new opening cartoon (Mikey, Donald & Goofy build a boat cartoon) was made to feel very old by Disney. Audio was clearly intentionally "warbled" (for old-time 1920's/1930's affect). It was shot in 4x4 ration (not TV's 4x3 or Cinemascope) And drawn images were full of dirt-type flaws (specs that were on their drawings and not on the lens of the camera or projector and they "jumped" throughout the short cartoon). Very tradition cartoon which traces back to the Walt Disney roots. Wondered if it hadn't been placed to really show the contrast of the original Disney and the new Disney.
The Robinsons is a one weird family. It takes time to know them, and
once you do, you will like them.
They come from the future, filled with colourful buildings, flying jets, travelling tubes that would remind you of the Jetsons. Everyone is strange in their own way, from Frannie who conducts frog band, Grandpa who wears his clothes backward and twins Dimitri and Spike who stay in flower pots. Plus a talking robot like C-3PO.
In Back to the Future style, 13th year old Wilbur Robinson brings a smart nerd Lewis to 2037 to recover his invention. Are you lost yet? Now, all these eccentric characters and story can be quite hard to understand. Everything happens so fast, so don't lose your attention.
Once you get past the initial stage, everything falls nicely into place like a jigsaw in this intricate story. Although there isn't one main character who will appeal to you like The Incredibles, the whole Robinsons family will charm you the same.
Some critics may say: Too many characters. Too much dialogue. Too confusing. Too many things happening at the same time. Indeed, there were points where young children may go "huh?". Nevertheless, the singing frogs, big-headed dinosaur, colourful setting and music from Danny Elfman makes it all quite likable.
With a strong "keep moving forward" educational message and a touching ending, this animation is recommended to families who will continue to enjoy this work from Disney.
(As a bonus, audience will also be brought back in time with a nostalgic cartoon featuring Mickey, Donald and Goofy)
I saw an advance screening of 'Meet The Robinsons' today with the
family and all of us thoroughly enjoyed it. After getting a bit sick of
recent CGI animal flicks (with the possible exception of Flushed Away),
this was a refreshing change.
An intriguing storyline revolves around orphan Lewis who, as a 12-year old, is an up-and-coming inventor, and dreams of building a time machine to find out who his mother was. He meets a mysterious boy Wilbur Robinson who tries to save him from the equally mysterious man with the bowler hat. We are then drawn into a time travel story that, while having as many paradoxes as Back To The Future, ends with some interesting plot twists.
We saw the movie in 3D - and while there were a few "especially for 3D" visual effects, such as flying food - the 3D was not overdone and did not detract from the story.
"Meet the Robinsons" is just superb in every way - plot, animation,
characters, substance, and music. All put together in an astoundingly
gorgeous film - easily enjoyed by ALL ages. Clever, clever humor and
wit - many things that only adults may understand. Loved the way the
story progresses and how it ends.
Love the music. Gorgeous "Little Wonders" by the fantastic Rob Thomas played at the end coordinated with the story ending - beautifully done. And the phenomenal Jamie Cullum doing 2 great songs for Frankie the Frog - 2 bouncy songs, done to perfection by a great artist. Enjoyed Rufus Wainwright's songs - fit in well with the story. And, Danny Elfman's score is wonderful. So, I also highly recommend the soundtrack!!! I really do not have enough superlatives for this movie. It could be my favorite Disney film, (and I've seen them all). I definitely plan on seeing it again in 3-D. But, even in 2-D, it is not to be missed!!
A heartwarming story with eye-popping 3D special effects. If you have the option of seeing this in 3D, you should opt for it. The story is strong, so you will enjoy it either way, but since 3D is a rare instance in this day & age, you should go that route. This movie has a stellar cast that may not be the big A-list names like the Dreamworks movies, but they are very talented and well cast in their roles. I prefer the subtlety of casting for quality versus stunt casting, and this movie delivered. You can tell that John Lasseter played an important role in this movie - "Cars" delivered the message that the journey is more important than the destination and "Meet the Robinsons" delivers a message about not living in the past...keep moving forward. John Lasseter should be commended for helping lift Disney features back to their glory days. I will be the first to admit that they are not there yet, but with his help and movies that focus on the story & the characters like "Meet the Robinsons", we won't have long to wait...
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