Meet the Robinsons
by Stephen J. Anderson (Director)
Review by Drew Bittner
Buena Vista Theatrical ISBN/ITEM#: B00005JPN3
Date: 30 March 2007
Daniel Hansen/Jordan Fry … Lewis
Wesley Singerman … Wilbur
Stephen J. Anderson … Bowler Hat Guy
Matthew Michael Josten ... Goob
Also featuring Tom Kenny, Adam West, Laurie Metcalf, and Tom Selleck.
With frenetic pacing and mile-a-second visual "wow!", Meet the Robinsons is the latest model on Disney's imagination showroom. Lewis, a 12-year old supergenius orphan (Hansen), wants only one thing: to know his mother. Fueled by this single-minded ambition, he builds a Memory Scanner that he hopes will take him back in time to see (and get to know) his mother. His roommate, the baseball fan Goob (Josten), is exasperated by Lewis's inventions but Lewis believes that something special can happen. On his way to the science fair, he is intercepted by Wilbur Robinson, who takes Lewis into the future. You might think this is the climax... but no, the young dreamer's adventures are only beginning.
Wilbur is part of a fantastic family of inventing geniuses. Not all of the gadgets are particularly good or useful—though mention of a "meatball cannon" and "fireproof pants" certainly imply intriguing possibilities—but they are all inventors. However, even in this techno-Oz, there are things that even this brilliant family needs… which is where Lewis may be able to help.
Lewis confronts a bizarre array of challenges, in this Jetsons-meets-Tomorrowland future world, including a villain named Bowler Hat Guy, a sympathetic tyrannosaurus acutely aware of his limitations, froggy nightclub singers (great shades of Michigan J.!), a robot named Carl (voiced by Harland Williams) with some very funny lines, and much more.
But lurking behind the scenes is Bowler Hat Guy. Who is he and what does he want with Lewis? Could it be the time-traveling kid represents some kind of danger to this comical bad guy? Um... yup.
It shouldn't surprise any except the youngest filmgoers to learn that the Robinsons are singularly important to Lewis (and he to them), or that Lewis is being set up to learn an important lesson about life. The familiar tropes of Disney's slate of "growing up" movies are here in full force, from overcoming childhood adversity to realizing the importance of what's right in front of you.
Director Stephen J. Anderson does a good job with his first feature. It can't be easy to debut Disney's 3D CGI animation line, especially in the shadow of Pixar, but he brings in an entertaining, reliable and enjoyable movie. While perhaps not in the very top tier of Pixar/Disney's stable of hits, Robinsons delivers solid entertainment and a good moral for kids of all ages: If we're anchored to the past, how do we reach the future that's waiting for us?
Recommended (especially if you have younger kids).