Meet the Robinsons is the first (and possibly last?) film from Walt Disney Feature Animation, a Disney unit that wanted to distinguish itself from Pixar. It really shouldn't have, as this poorly titled comedy is a muddled mess.
It's not that Meet the Robinsons won't appeal to younger kids. The movie is visually fun, with plenty of Jetsons-like elements, singing frogs and so on and so forth. The story is cute enough, and the presentation is certainly watchable. But I'm not a little kid, and I have higher standards for films, even animated films. This is just another piece of evidence that traditional animation was not killed because of the visuals, but because the writing at a certain company has gone downhill. Do you think that when the creators of this movie were sitting down and shelling out the story, the dialogue and the visuals that they were expecting this to be the next Snow White or Bambi or The Lion King? I sure hope not.
Meet the Robinsons' flaw is that it just has too much going out without much actually going on. The plot is about some genius kid who hasn't quite managed to get his first invention working. When an evil villain from the future shows up and steals his contraption, the kid is whisked away to a glorious future full of all kinds of weird things, from flying cars to... yes, singing frogs. Stranger yet is that he gets "adopted" into a family of mental patients, all of whom are loving but quite off their rockers. Hence, meet the Robinsons.
The thing is, I never felt the title, which is not a very good title at all, really does a good job of describing the movie, and as such, implies that the director didn't quite know how to focus his picture. Yes, the Robinsons are involved in the storyline, but as a family as a whole I wouldn't say they have an integral part in the movie. The movie is about a kid who is trying to get his invention back from an evil dude, and he just happens to run into this weird family along the way. They're really not in it all that much, and you never really get to know most of them. Disney could have made an entire movie out of the strange family, but instead they are left as secondary characters. It's quite odd.
Still, if you have little kids, Meet the Robinsons is about as harmless as you can get - even the villain isn't all that evil (though he tries to be). It would be a good film to leave them alone in the room with, and even if you had to watch it yourself you could handle it. My problem is that there are so many good animated films out there that it's sad to see Disney try to one-up Pixar (this was developed before the merger) with something as mediocre as this.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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