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:
Stephen Anderson

Meet 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 animation 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 Open Season and Ant Bully (no mean feat though).

Not 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.



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