DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: March 30, 2007
Genre: Animated drama, comedy
Run Time: 92 min.
Director: Stephen J. Anderson
Voice Talents of: Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Matthew Josten, Angela Bassett, John H.H. Ford, Dara McGarry, Tom Kenny, Laurie Metcalf, Don Hall, Paul Butcher, Stephen J. Anderson, and Welsey Singerman.
Disney’s newest release, Meet the Robinsons combines animation genius, an inspiring story, and memorable, clever characters to pull off another Silver Screen winner.
In the 3-D screening I attended, the robot in the film comes lurching out at audiences, asking, “3-D doesn’t make me look fat, does it?” Immediately the kids in the audience started shrieking with delight, and they never stopped until the end of the movie.
Meet the Robinsons tells the story of Lewis (Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry), an orphan who realizes he has a gift for inventions, but he’s so intense about it that he’s having trouble getting adopted. He scares “normal” parents off. Finally, after 124 adoption interviews, he decides he’s had enough of the strained smiles and stilted conversations, and he refuses to meet any more parents. “I’m not going to be rejected any more!” he announces to Mildred, the house-mother.
Lewis secludes himself in his room and invents things all night, keeping his sleepy roommate, “Goob” (Matthew Josten), up and making him tired all the time. Finally, he’s ready to take his Memory Machine to the school’s science fair, and he hauls it off in his red wagon.
When he gets to the fair, however, a boy named Wilbur (Wesley Singerman) pulls him aside and tells him that there is a bad man (Stephen J. Anderson) lurking around. He's wearing a bowler hat, (which has an evil personality of its own) and looking for ways to destroy Lewis’s invention. He says the villain is from the future, and he’s come back to prevent some important things from happening.
Lewis doesn’t believe the lad but is finally convinced when he realizes that someone has tampered with his invention – and when he sees Wilbur’s time machine. The two boys take an amazing ride in the time machine and go to the world of the future, where they make a terrible crash landing that mangles the machine. There, Wilbur lives in a mansion with a huge, zany, inventive family, whose dad is a genius scientist. Fortunately for the boys, the dad is gone for a couple of days, which will hopefully give Lewis time to fix the time machine and get back to the past to deal with the diabolical, but dimwitted, Mr. Bowler Hat.
In the meantime, Lewis has some lessons to learn through his interaction with the most curious, inventive, accepting people he has ever met. But is it too late for this boy who has only known rejection to be encouraged back into life? Will he ever find the bravery and inventiveness to get back to the past to thwart Bowler Hat’s plans and ensure the good future he’s now glimpsing? It’s all about timing and choices.
Meet the Robinsons is flawless on a technical level. Lewis’s blonde, spiky hair looks amazingly real, and his inventions – especially in 3-D animation – are so life-like it’s scary. The story is commendable, too. Sure there are moments when the movie feels like an Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton-esque, drug dream – especially in the Robinson mansion. But if you look beyond the apparent creative chaos, there is a solid story structure that really brings home some sweet truths that actually evoke splashy tears at the end, (or so I’ve heard about others, of course.)
It’s movies like this that inspire young people to greatness. Many of the NASA astronauts say that it was Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that inspired them to keep seeking out space travel possibilities, and it’s not out of the question that “Meet the Robinsons” could inspire other kids to pursue their inventions and keep their creative juices flowing. The movie not only inspires Walt Disney-type creativity, but it also addresses the issue of rejection, head on, in a most sensitive and compelling way.
The only caution is that there are some scenes that could be downright scary for really young kids. The bowler hat not only has a life of its own with it’s sharp metal claws that come out, but it also reproduces itself at one point, and tiny bowler hats crawl, like spiders, all over the time machine and try to break in. There is also a charging dinosaur at one point. So, if your tot has a sensitive nature, be aware of the intense images, especially in 3-D.
Otherwise, kudos to Walt Disney and its stellar projects that bring inspiration to millions and encourage individuality and creativity in a world of cookie-cutter, follow-the-leader messages.
AUDIENCE: School-age children and up
- Drugs/Alcohol: None.
- Language: None.
- Sex: None.
- Violence: Cartoon violence, and some frightening scenes of robotic clawed creatures, dinosaurs, etc.