a critiQal film review Robots (2005)

Plot: The son of a dishwashing robot, Rodney Copperbottom (McGregor), wanting to be an inventor, goes to visit Robot City, where he thinks the famous inventor Bigweld (Brooks) will welcome him with open arms. Unfortunately, Bigweld has disappeared, and his company is now controlled by the evil Ratchet (Kinnear), who has decided to manufacture only expensive upgrades - thus phasing out poor robots like Rodney.

533 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 39s)
  • ...the kids will love it, but adults might think it a bit too childish.

I don’t know what it is about 20th Century Fox Animation, but they can really pull in the big names. After getting Jack Black, Ray Romano and Dennis Leary for their first successful effort, Ice Age (2002), they went all out for their current film, Robots.

It’s loaded with stars, from current Jedi Ewan McGregor to young star Amanda Bynes, not to mention Drew Carey, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Jim Broadbent – even Jay Leno! And to top it off, they snagged the current King of animated films, Robin Williams.

With the plethora of star power, would the movie be amazing – or would the best part of seeing Robots in theaters be the preview for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)?

The characters are all well-voiced, and fit their roles perfectly. Ewan McGregor plays the “robot with a dream” main character Rodney very well, giving him an optimistic outlook even when the chips are down. Robin Williams is perfectly cast as a zany robot that keeps falling apart, giving him lots of opportunity to go into his hilarious rants. Greg Kinnear, always kind of a neat and tidy kind of guy (ever see him with even one hair out of place? Didn’t think so) plays the chromed-up Ratchet very well, bringing that neat and tidy attitude into much sharper focus.

The plot is well thought out, and most scenes help contribute to furthering the storyline. There are some sequences involving transport that, while impressive, seem to be just for filler rather than anything else. These scenes could have been shortened greatly, and could have added more to the whole of Robots.

One problem with Robots: the further it progresses, the more kid-oriented it gets. When the movie first starts, there are many veiled references aimed at the adults (a great scene: the “making the baby” scene – yes, literally, with spare parts). The further into the movie, however, the less comedy for the adults, and the more low-based humor aimed at kids (yes, fart jokes and big-bottomed Aunt Fanny among them).

The animation keeps getting better and better as the years pass, no matter which studio is producing the film. That trend doesn’t stop here, although all the other studios, 20th Century Fox included, still have a ways to go to get to Pixar’s high standards of animation. 20th Century Fox, however is making advances in that direction in leaps and bounds with each new film, as Robots far surpasses the animation seen in Ice Age (2002). It’s impressive to see the improvements, and it gets the viewer excited about what they may achieve in Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006).

With it’s great cast of voice actors, a good plot, and impressive animation, Robots seems to be a shoo-in for the must-own list when it hits DVD, right? Unfortunately, it aims a little low, so only kids will most likely be happy with it when it’s done.

If you’re a parent, take your kids – they’ll love it, and it’s not bad. But, if you’re without kids, you won’t be missing much if you skip Robots – at least in theaters. Wait for it to hit DVD, then give it a try. The “making the baby” scene is worth the rental.

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