24 July 2008

Ink Blots - Meet the Robinsons

Having the honor of following up Chicken Little, the movie that abandoned Disney traditional animation in favor of CG, was Meet the Robinsons. From the trailers, Robinsons looked like a wacky, zany, and wholly unfunny movie, complete with a breakdancing T-Rex... Fortunately, that estimation was not completely accurate, after all, Robinsons was not wholly unfunny, and though there was a T-Rex, he did not actually break dance.

The movie opens by introducing Lewis, an orphan boy that likes to invent things. On the day of the big Science Fair, a guy with a bowler hat sabotages Lewis' rememberator device, hoping to ruin Lewis's day. Another kid, Wilbur, having failed to stop the hijinx, tries to convince Lewis to "keep moving forward" and to not give up on inventing. As it turns out Wilbur is from the future, and the two boys end up there where all hell breaks lose. At this point in the movie we are introduced to the whole Robinsons clan which is a troupe of way too many wacky people who enjoy food fights and other wacky interactions. There really is just too much new character overload to follow. Anyways, after this point, the movie does get a little better as we learn more about the bowler hat guys motivations. There were a couple of interesting twists in the movie as well that kept the story interesting, and I do not want to give them away. Needless to say, the tale wraps up nice and cheery like.

Now, this movie was not all bad. Along with the zany characters, the future sequences also had some pretty nice designs and colorful depictions of the world of tomorrow. In addition, we were treated to a dark and twisted alternate future where the Bowler Hat Guy had taken over the world. And like I mentioned before, the story was actually interesting. My main complaint is that all of the characters seemed to have ADD (one of them actually bragged about her hyper caffeine stimulation). There were also some singing frogs that showed up for no real good reason, along with about 100 other images and characters that all seemed thrown in for extra stimulation.

All I know is that this was a big step up from Chicken Little, and in spite of its flaws, I did enjoy watching it. The problem is that Disney doesn't seem to have an identity anymore. This movie lacked the heart and soul of traditional Disney films, it lacked the all ages appeal and endearing characters of Pixar, and even lacked the irreverence of Dreamworks. Without any of those elements, the movie just seemed a little bland. Lets hope Disney finds a way to stand out in the oversaturated animation market, preferably by going back to its roots. As for Lewis and his crew, they earn an unremarkable B-.

1 comment:

j said...

I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this movie (a la Surf's Up). I haven't seen it again since watching it in the theater, but yes it was definitely a very ADD movie, but managed to keep me watching and chuckling, and thank heavens the T-rex didn't break dance.