The brightly animated, spunky, and futuristic sci-fi animated film “Meet the Robinsons” delivers an engagingly absurd time travel adventure filled with freewheeling imagination.
Other Movie Reviews from 2010 Archive: Animation, Children, Family, and Teen Films
Whether in 2D or 3D, this eccentric, witty, and charming family movie is an eye-popping motion picture offer that draws the general audience into the beautifully presented madcap past, present, and future of the nerdy, ingenious, and persistent boy Lewis.
As a bonus, and still in line with the film’s mantra “Keep moving forward,” the audience is brought back in time with a prologue having that classic, old school animation look — a nostalgic cartoon featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.
With its uneven pacing, loopy rhythm, and manic plotting, the fluffy “Meet the Robinsons” is a neat derivative of the film “Back to the Future,” while still keeping up with its own mark of excitement, fun, and inventions. From the maudlin past, to the wacky present, to the weird and scintillating future, the screwball comedy keeps a whimsical touch and a hilarious tune to the film. Add up the musical score from the genius Danny Elfman, and this animated treat strikes the right notes to become a touching Disney work with great values both for kids and adults.
More than its complex machinations from its technologically driven look, its cheeky charm comes from the special effects that blends well with the organic elements of the story. Its considerable depth is given a technically dazzling treatment. Its computer-generated ingenuity pulls off the sweetly bright and inspirational story without overpowering the film’s thematic values. Though the plotting is not entirely original, the film is striking for its heart, wits, and energy. It is executed with the right dose of comedy less the slapstick. Its quirkiness is utilized effectively to present a valuable story from a crazy world perspective.
This decent time travel story is a technically and thematically accomplished Disney-released cartoon produced by Pixar. Amidst its computer-generated grandeur, there is a healthy, old-fashioned feel to it as it utilizes many references from the renowned animated and sci-fi offers of the past, plus its accompanying old Disney sweetness — all without looking like a stupid rip-off like what many similar movies end up to be. The many references include: the flying jets and traveling tubes of “The Jetsons,” the celebrated abode of “Richie Rich,” the absurd tone of “Dexter’s Lab,” the golden family robot reminiscent of C-3PO of “Star Wars” and android Peebo of “Bioman,” the evil bowler hat resembling the techno spiders in “Minority Report,” and even the dinosaur scene trying to inject some “Flintstones” mood. The movie also plays around its prologue with the characters Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. There are actually lots of other minor references that seem to be at play, mainly through the look of its many characters and the movie’s art direction.
This kind of fun-driven film does not insult the intelligence of the audience with the misuse of slapstick and upfront scatological humor. The absurd but engaging characters are beautifully illustrated. And the characters are as inventive as its story, treatment, and effects. All the characters are given distinct qualities without making them go overboard; thus, tweaking the audience’s imagination to further heights. Some kids might just get more interested in science and inventions after watching the film. Its absurdities are creatively controlled, while keeping the emotional tones in the right chords.
Every character is strange and fun: Lewis inventing his first weird opus, Frannie Robinsons conducting a gangster frog band, Grandpa wearing his clothes backwards, twins Dimitri and Spike staying in flower pots, a purple octopus being the Robinsons’ butler, the Robinsons kids inventing the weirdest toys and gadgets, and the family dog wearing eyeglasses.
“Meet the Robinsons” is frenetic for its own good. It shows how everyone can become strange in her/his own way. It manages to awe and inspire with its earnest messages about abandonment, adoption, embarrassment, vengeance, family, sense of belongingness, appreciation, acceptance, trust, and persistence. It pays a healthy respect for failure and perseverance.
This movie goes back to the making of a traditional narrative with filmmaking values that help set this technically briliant animation apart from most of its contemporaries. It acknowledges the values and moments of the past and uses them for the righteous advantages of the present, along with the future to look forward to. Taking it from the film’s prologue to its very ending, the technological advancements it represents convey how every person should be responsible and accountable for her/his every action and creation.
For fun and entertainment, this animated sci-fi comedy from director Stephen Anderson is a highly recommended film. This 102 minutes of inventive, fun, and touching moments keep up with its significant messages without becoming overbearing.
“Meet the Robinsons” may not have the big A-list names, but the voice performers in this film are well cast in their roles.
Even with its minor imperfections, “Meet the Robinsons” is fun on its own account. After getting the main flow of the intricate story, everything falls into place like a jigsaw puzzle. It keeps moving forward even if the viewers are not always sure where the plot is taking them. The nostalgic visuals of the past, the crisp and clean visuals of the present, the eye candy visuals of the future, and the well-presented cruel and surreal visuals of the unlikely future all contribute to the Disney-filled heart of the film.
“Meet the Robinsons” keeps up with the sterling tradition of the Disney classics so many generations have grown up with. It is an eye candy for a sweet cause. It is clever and kid-friendly. It is fast-paced and technologically advanced, while still acknowledging the beauty of the past. It shows a genuinely heartwarming story. It is an imaginative and beautiful animation experience.