Of all computer-animated movies (except possibility Tron) this is my favorite. Like most others, it is pretty, with a simple, child-friendly plot, some action, and cheesy dialog. But "Robots" shines like no other on one point: the message it delivers. It all comes down to the message "you can do it". I'll try to break it down to sub-messages:
- You can shine no matter what you're made of. This is a blow at the horrible "remake" trend. You are just fine the way you are!
- Be persistent, try again, don't give up your dreams!
- The expectations and encouragement of our parents is the key to the persistentness.
and the list is completed by
- Technology is fun! Creativeness is fun!
Even the problem of making good young heroes is perfectly made. The youth of Rodney doesn't require the old-timers to be idiots (like in some low-quality scripts), young and old need each other.
All this is well packaged in a way that makes sense. The robot world resembles the monster world in "Monsters Inc", but with the added logic of mechanical creatures who can replace parts of themselves as they like.
Speaking of technology, in many media I often perceive messages that math and technology are boring and tedious. Even Sudoku is defensively presented as "not math". In this movie, technology, physics and mechanics in particular, are good and fun things. Experiment! Invent! That's what I like my kinds to hear, not that learning is hard and best avoided.
The music is very amusing, from Tom Waite's "Underground" to James Brown's "Get up offa that thing" in the fun ending.
On the negative side, the ending fight is cheesy and boring, but I know, the kids don't agree with me. Anyway, I do *not* like the idea that a bad guy should be melted down in an oven. That is cheap revengeful blood-thirst, that shouldn't have been in a fine movie like this.
It disturbs me a little bit that the female characters are (as so often) fewer than the male ones, but at least we get two strong and resourceful women plus a female bad guy, so it doesn't fail completely.
So it loses a point for the fight, but otherwise, this is the best computer animated movie, even better than Pixar's, and a lot better than the tedious and hollow "Ice Age" movies. If you care about what messages your kids get from movies, this is the movie to show them!
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