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MEET THE ROBINSONS

Review by Gordon Justesen

Voices: Angela Bassett, Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Stephen Anderson, Laurie Metcalf, Harland Williams, Adam West, Nicole Sullivan, Tom Selleck
Director: Stephen Anderson
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Disney
Features: See Review
Length: 95 Minutes
Release Date: October 23, 2007

“Why is your dog wearing glasses?”

“Oh, cause his insurance won’t pay for contacts.”

Film ***

With Meet the Robinsons, Disney has done something unique. They have taken a heartwarming story in the studio’s tradition and blended it with some truly state of the art computer animation. This marks the first computer-animated release under the newly formed Walt Disney Animation Studios.

And what a film the studio has chosen for their first outing. Adapted from the classic children’s book “A Day With Wilbur Robinson”, the movie offers a most entertaining and hugely funny time travel adventure. The end result is a film that dazzles the senses, tickles the funny bone and warms the heart in perfect equal doses.

At the heart of the story is a 12-year-old orphan named Lewis. He’s always had a knack for inventing things. Although most of his inventions end up failing with extremely unimpressive results, it never stops him from thinking up new ideas. And Lewis’ ability helps in providing the film’s endearing message.

His latest creation, a device that can allow old buried memories to be extracted onto a view screen, has attracted unwanted attention from the future. On the day of his first experiment with the device, an evil genius named Bowler Hat Guy (think Snidely Whiplash crossed with Captain Hook) arrives from the future, snatches the device and disappears. Lewis’ only hope in retrieving his device is another visitor from the future named Wilbur Robinson.

Wilbur straps Lewis in his time-traveling ship and takes him 25 years into the future. The plan is to track down Bowler Hat Guy, retrieve the device and get Lewis back home safely. But after the two engage in a struggle, the ship breaks down and Lewis finds himself stuck way ahead of his time.

A great many of the movie’s funniest moments have to do with how bizarre this future society is. When Lewis is introduced to Wilbur’s family, The Robinsons, he is taken back by what advances in technology have allowed. Dogs are capable of wearing glasses, genetically enhanced frogs are capable of carrying a tune at the level of The Temptations, and a whole new way of “baking cookies” which will have to be seen to be believed.

The look of the movie is astounding. Second only to Ratatouille, this is without question one of the most visually engaging animated movies of the year. Nearly every frame of the movie has something to astound the senses, especially once the story transpires to the future. You will have a hard time not being awestruck by many of the visuals the movie has to offer.

There’s been much debate about whether or not Disney and Pixar will eventually part ways, and that notion is probably the reason why Meet the Robinsons exists, to show the masses that the studio can hold its own in the computer animation league. After seeing the sights and sounds this movie has to offer, I can honestly say that if such a thing does happen, Disney does have something to fall back on.

Meet the Robinsons is true family entertainment in the best Disney tradition. Kids will love it, and grown ups will get a kick out of it as well. As family films go, you couldn’t ask for anything better.

Video ****

No surprise here, as the state of the art computer animation just about guarantees a one of a kind video presentation, and this release from Disney delivers on that promise thoroughly. As I mentioned earlier, just about every shot in the movie gives you something to be marveled by, and the enhancement of this presentation adds even more visual joy. The colors are absolutely incredible and the image is absolutely astonishing with not a single image flaw in sight. But how could you go wrong with such a fantastic looking film?

Audio ****

Likewise in the audio field, the 5.1 mix has so much to deliver here with a time traveling adventure where the sound is alive and furious for just about every second. Music score and sound effects are presentation highpoints, and there are countless scenes where surround sound comes into play as a result of the futuristic environment.

Features ***

Disney is not one to leave an animated DVD lacking in the extras department. Included on this disc is a commentary with director Stephen Anderson and a special guest, as well as Deleted Scenes, the featurettes “Inventing The Robinsons” and “Inventions That Shaped The World”. Also featured is a game titled “Family Function 5000” and two music videos for the songs "Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas (Great Song) and "Kids Of The Future" by Jonas Brothers.

Summary:

Meet the Robinsons is a pitch perfect blending of state of the art computer animation and traditional Disney storytelling. It’s a can’t go wrong piece of family entertainment, as well as one of the best animated DVDs you will see this year…or any year in the future!

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