Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

This was a surprising delight from Disney Animation which came out earlier this year. Judging from the trailers, I was not anticipating very much, so I turned it on almost as background noise while I was doing work. It did not take long, however, for me to be captivated.

The story is about Lewis, a genius orphan who gets swept away to the future to stop a villain from stealing his invention. It's pretty much your standard children's carton premise. It features a strong pre-adolescent, who is unwillingly thrust into a heroic role. Likewise, even the bad villains are not truly bad, just misunderstood. This is certainly a positive message, but doesn't become too overbearing. There are still plenty of slapstick gags sprinkled throughout.

Honestly, the best parts of the movie were actually the characters. It features a large cast of crazies, which I have come to expect from Disney movies. Only the main characters seem grounded in reality, and everyone seems to function as a comic foil for the plot. I frequently find myself groaning at over the top characters in some animated movies, but I was actually laughing at their antics this time around. I mean actually laughing aloud. The scene with the Tyrannosaurus (seen in the trailer), is exceptionally funny.

The only issue I had with this movie, was the animation itself. It seems that with the 3D digital animation revolution, flash has replaced strong animation technique. This is a shame, because Disney is synonymous with world class animation. Back in the 1930's, they developed the techniques that are still used today, and it's almost disheartening to see them try to jump on the trend of quickly released 3D movies. Their hyper-realistic, yet exaggerated animation is what made their characters so memorable. This is even more upsetting ever since they closed their 2D animation department. Fortunately, however, it is rumored that they are re-opening it and are expecting a new traditionally produced 2D feature in 2009. Hopefully it won't be long until we see another Lion King caliber movie.

Okay, time to get off my soapbox. Despite the less than impressive animation, the movie is just plain fun. There's not much depth, but it's a heartwarming story of acceptance, with funny moments. Not the best animated movie I've seen recently, but a fairly decent one. Children will enjoy it, and I think others will as well. Meet the Robinsons is one worth renting.


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