VOICES OF: Angela Bassett, Daniel Hansen,
Jordan Frey, Matthew Josten, John H. H. Ford, Dara McGarry, Tom Kenny, Laurie
Metcalf, Don Hall, Paul Butcher, Tracey Millier-Zarneke, Adam West, Tom Selleck
2007, 90 Minutes, Directed by:
the Robinsons kicks off with a scene that we should have seen in a Disney
movie before, but haven’t: namely that of a woman dumping a baby at the steps of
an orphanage. Practically all Disney heroes (Lion King, Cinderella,
etc.) are either orphans or have absent parent figures. Of course it isn’t
limited to Disney heroes —
many non-Disney characters such as Harry Potter
for instance are also orphans.
There are probably four reasons
why this is so:
(a) The plot requires that
there are no authority figures to get in the way of the fun. You can never
imagine the dangerously negligent father of the Hardy Boys saying “rather let
the police take care of those smugglers” and promptly bringing an end to their
latest adventure now can you?
(b) Wish fulfillment. Kids
probably fantasize that they don’t have any parents. Life would be so much more
fun if there is no one around to tell them when it and when it isn’t a good to
eat any sweets or go to bed.
(c) Morbidity. There is
something in the idea of actually not having any parents round that fascinates
the darker more morbid side of kids’ psyches.
(d) Audience sympathy. We all
just go gaga over orphans, now don’t we?
"Features some time travel-style twists of the sort that
made Back to the Future so popular!"
Lewis, the hero of Disney’s
latest solo-computer animated flick (the division’s previous effort was
The Wild and before
that Chicken Little) is of course the little
baby left at the steps of the orphanage. Lewis grows up to be a geeky techie
sort of 12-year-old, always inventing devices that explode. Of course this sort
of puts a crimp in any of his adoption possibilities: who wants to adopt a kid
who’s going to blow up the basement?
Anyway, Lewis soon becomes
obsessed with finding out who his biological mother is and invents a device that
will retrieve his forgotten childhood memories of her. However, the device gets
stolen by a mysterious, villainous Bowler-hatted figure and Lewis himself is
whisked away to the future by a time traveling kid. See what fun is to be had
when there are no authority figures present in your movie?
Meet the Robinsons
clearly illustrates why Disney went out of its way recently to keep Pixar. The
while serviceable —
doesn’t represent the sort of technical breakthrough that movies such as
Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo or even
Cars achieved. That
doesn’t mean that Meet the Robinsons is a bad movie though. Quite the
contrary: it is a clever, witty and inventive affair. It beats hands down recent
mediocre competitors such as
and Ant Bully (no mean feat though).
only does Meet the Robinsons feature no cure fluffy animals and
storytelling conventions stolen straight from the Hollywood rulebook, it offers
some nice time travel-style twists of the sort that made the
Back to the Future trilogy so popular.
If the animation and noise
factor becomes a bit hectic for adult sensibilities at one point (it blows
several punch lines and jokes by hurrying things along too quickly), this is no
problem as the final act throws up some great ideas and concepts.
Of course as is the case with
most time travel tales your head will explode if you try to apply logic to it.
But that is no problem: Meet the Robinsons is the most fun you’ll have
taking your little ‘uns to the cinemas in quite a while after recently suffering
through endless animated cookie cutter Hollywood fare. Take them today.