'Robinsons' provides wholesome entertainment
April 6, 2007
It was around the time I was in middle school that I started to pick up on the line Disney was and continues to feed the world, noticing the manufactured Fun and Happiness the uber-company churned out on a consistent basis. This goes without saying that Disney still puts out some decent movies, one of which is their latest animated release, “Meet the Robinsons.” I’m still a little leery of Disney’s moral compass (especially after sitting through their bull crap anti-commercialism message in “The Santa Clause 3”), but I have to admit that in the recent uprising of animated features, “Meet the Robinsons” is one of the most fun new entries.
Lewis (voiced by Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen) is a bright, young, 12-year-old orphan with a knack for devising defective, but creative inventions. Inspired by his desire to learn the identity of his birth mother, Lewis whips up a bluntly-named device called the Memory Scanner to do just that. But at the school science fair, the Scanner ends up in the hands of the nefarious Bowler Hat Guy (voice of Stephen J. Anderson), a mysterious baddie determined to ruin Lewis’ life. However, help is on the way in the form of Wilbur Robinson (voice of Wesley Singerman), a kid who spirits Lewis away to the future and introduces him to his extremely eccentric family. Lewis soaks up this world of tomorrow with eyes wide open, but more pressing matters are at hand, as Wilbur says it’s up to Lewis to help retrieve the scanner and stop the evil plans of Bowler Hat Guy if he wants the future to remain a bright one.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was complaining about the thematic heaviness of “The Last Mimzy,” how the filmmakers took a live-action family flick and injected honorable but way too profound overtones for a lot of the little ones to take in. “Meet the Robinsons,” on the other hand, is an ideal alternative that gets pretty much the same job done. The key difference is that “Meet the Robinsons” takes on its themes to a degree that’s almost perfectly in synch with its overall spirit. This is one of the most energetic movies I’ve seen in a while, animated or otherwise, but the funny thing is that the flick’s zippiness hardly ever gets tiring. Sure, “Meet the Robinsons” often moves so fast, it might coerce you into overlooking the so-so plot and the fact that the weirdo members of the Robinson family are pretty inconsequential, considering how essentially little they figure into the movie.
But nevertheless, “Meet the Robinsons” remains a ton of fun. The animation is smooth and eye-catching (unlike the clunky style of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), its message (“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”) is time-tested but earnestly conveyed, and the goofy gags come at you fast. If I have to admire “Meet the Robinsons” for anything, it’s that it’s the only animated movie in recent memory that works in a Tom Selleck reference.
A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.