19 July 2006

Ink Blots XXII - Robots

Rodney Copperbottom (played by the always likeable Ewan McGregor) has big dreams that take him to where else? Robot City. Rodney wants to meet up with big name industrialist Bigweld to become an inventor. Unfortunately, Ratchet and his mama have taken over the company with a new ad campaign selling robot parts with the slogan, "Why be you, when you could be new?" Along the way, Rodney meets up with the Robin Williams voiced zany character (yep, the same stale character he always plays) who always falls apart. Rodney doesn't get his dream job, but he finds plenty of work fixing up robots that can't afford the high end robot parts being peddled by Ratchet. This makes Ratchet angry...

The visuals in the movie are stunning, especially for an engineering guy like me. The mechanical details are fun to watch and as I child I would have loved a working Robot City playset. The transit system that flings pods across town with precision is particularly cool, and makes me want to play a round of Mousetrap. As for laughs, this film is a bit lacking. It starts of fine with some cute and literal "baby-making" jokes, but when we get to Robot City, the humor becomes a little less sophisticated. How funny you find the jokes depends on how funny you think Robin Williams' Fender is. One particularly annoying scene in this film involves Fender dancing to Hit Me Baby, One More Time. These kind of unfunny pop culture "gags" that come out of nowhere make me cringe and feel embarrassed to even be watching the movie. Much funnier is Rodney's little sidekick invention, the large bottomed Aunt Fanny, and the voice impersonator bot. Pretty forgettable are Fender's sister Piper and Halle Berry's Cappy (the obligatory, though barely there love interest).

Timeless classic this is not, but a fun visual feast it surely is. Robots came out in March 2005 from the same folks as Ice Age. It did fairly well at the box office earning almost $130 million, but it did not perform as well as many of the critter-based CG films. Still, I give it props for using the medium for something new. Mostly on its designs and animation, not for its forgettable characters I grant Robots a B-.

Check out my past reviews:

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Fire & Ice
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy
The Last Unicorn
Magnetic Rose
Princess Mononoke
Starchaser: The Legend of Orin
Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume 1
Superman: Brainiac Attacks
The Sword in the Stone
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Wallace and Gromit in A Grand Day Out

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