Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy, Sci-Fi Adventure  |   Release Date - Mar 30, 2007 (USA)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Derek Armstrong

A lot of people probably looked at Meet the Robinsons and thought, "Oh, it's a feature-length Jetsons." Well, that would have been a better idea than what they went with. Disney's second foray into computer animation (after Chicken Little) is a hodgepodge inspired by far less beloved pockets of science fiction. Especially with its time-travel milieu, Meet the Robinsons' future world resembles the cheerily grotesque zaniness of a Back to the Future II, as an old man with his head on backward and a cadre of singing frogs are the norm. Perhaps it's impossible to entirely avoid what's come before, but a fleet of sinister flying gadgets seems to have escaped from The Matrix, and there's even a robot butler so similar in appearance to Robots' Rodney Copperbottom, you could call it a rip-off. But the most basic problem with Meet the Robinsons is that it doesn't have much heart. While the film features that most recognizable of Disney constructs -- the young child missing one or both parents -- it can't follow through with Disney's usual ability to produce effortless sympathy for him. You do feel for young Lewis, but as the kid has failed to get adopted after more than 100 interviews, one has to wonder, "Hey kid, maybe it's you." Meet the Robinsons is a narrative disappointment as well. While a good time-traveling epic usually introduces smart conundrums, the film explores these haphazardly and without clear rules. Better to have just set the whole thing in the future and focused on giving depth to that world, rather than providing only disjointed and garish flashes of it. The images themselves look great, but since Disney is no longer the only visually sophisticated shop in town, it needs to tap into another traditional strength -- the writing -- to keeping producing classics into the 21st century.