Animted CGI films are surely no longer of the consistent quality we once expected. While Pixar continues to go strong (though "Cars" has me worried that their streak will come to an end), the other companies competing in the field have all but tanked in the last year. We were all subjected to "Shark Tale," an embarrassingly stupid mess, and now we have an even worse disaster on our hands - "Robots."
"Robots," which features the return of Robin Williams to the cartoon genre, is an absolutely dumb and uninteresting "comedy" that stars Ewan McGregor as a robot who wants to make it big as an inventor so he heads to the big city to get a job for the biggest company in town, only to find that the company has been taken over by an evil executive seeking to create his own utopia. The movie is full of idiotic gags, overly goofy characters and a plot that is about as generic as they come - of course, the smart people would have realized this from the first previews they saw a year ago.
What bothers me the most is that these non-Pixar companies continue to rely on voice talent of big names to draw people into theaters while never worrying about plot or screenplay or anything else that will actually appeal to audiences. CGI films are not so popular because of the graphics, but because Pixar started a trend of quality films that just happened to be in CGI instead of traditional animation. Who cares what big actor is voicing the character? Why not spend their salaries on getting a funny screenplay? When was the last time you saw Pixar really flaunt its voice talent? Probably not since the original "Toy Story."
This being said, will it matter to kids that "Robots" is a dud? It's hard to tell. On the one hand, I'm confident that children would rather watch something smart and exciting like "The Incredibles;" on the other hand, some kids might be satisfied by watching an hour and a half of robots with their parts falling off. If any audience will like this film, it will be extremely young ones who are merely entertained by movement.
"Robots" makes me want to watch all the Pixar movies in a row just to wash the taste out of my mouth.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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