– Summary –
Director : Chris Wedge
Year Of Release : 2005
Principal Cast : Voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carrey, Jennifer Coolidge, Harland Williams, Jim Broadbent, Dianne West, Stanley Tucci, Natasha Lyonne, Paul Giamatti, Dan Hedaya.
Approx Running Time : 90 Minutes
Synopsis: Rodney the robot sets out to make a name for himself in the big city, but runs into trouble when his idol, Bigweld, turns out to be not-so-nice.
What we think : Dazzlingly animated, Robots is charming, effortless children’s fare. The story offers little for adults to find entertaining past a single viewing, but younger kids will want to spend hours checking out the visual smorgasbord this film has to offer.
After the success of Ice Age, 20th Century Fox asked Blue Sky Studios chief Chris Wedge to create something else for the studio to put onto the market. Of course, Ice Age 2 started production almost immediately, but the studio also began work on this little gem, Robots.
In a world where animated movies are measured by Pixar success and Shrek commercialism, Robots is an understated and worthwhile exercise in family entertainment, neither blazingly spectacular like Shrek, nor despairingly hideous like Happily Never After. Robots seeks to simply provide entertainment, without trying to moralize anything particular. There are no hidden subtexts here, as far as I can tell. The moral of the story is a rehash of the old “if you want it bad enough, keep going until you get it” adage, with our main character struggling against his inner demons not to give up and go home, when all hope is lost. Rodney Copperbottom is an idealistic young robot (voiced by Ewan MacGregor) who sets out from home to make it in the big city. He is an inventor, you see, and wants to bake an impression at the main industrial complex of the planet (whatever planet this is, anyway) Bigweld Industries. Bigweld Industries is run by philanthropic capitalist Bigweld, (voiced by Mel Brooks) who has been thrown into retirement by usurper Ratchet and his scheming mother.
Halle Berry voices Rodney’s love interest, Cappa, a character that is utterly redundant to the main story, yet seems to be shoehorned in to provide an extra character for the final showdown between the goodies and the baddies. Along for the ride is Robin “I’ll do any voice you want” Williams, whoring out his talent on a sub-par character with little redeeming value whatsoever. The character of Fender is there for comedic value, however oftentimes the clunky comedy is at odds with the more seriously toned script. Williams would be better served trying his hand at more serious film roles, something he’s better at (see Insomnia and One Hour Photo as examples) and stay away from a genre he’s pretty much mined out.
The story is reasonably simple, meaning it won’t really worry youngsters, and the action moves at a fairly rapid pace, with plenty of manic eye candy swirling and sliding across the screen to captivate even the most attention deficient little ones. Older viewers will find the film a kind of funny, Sunday arvo film: good at the time, but forgettable afterwards. Perhaps this is the films biggest letdown: it’s almost a second tier film trying to be top of the rung, but the story doesn’t hold together, and the characters seem a little slipshod in terms of execution script-wise. That said, you’d be hard pressed to find a better film to simply entertain the kids for 90 minutes, and this film manages to do just that quite easily.