April 3, 2007

Meet The Robinsons (04/03/07)

Lettergrade: C

Laura was home was home after having some major dental work done. In the interest of getting out of the house, we decided to go see Meet The Robinsons in Disney Digital 3D.

All is all, this one isn't going to be remembered in the annals of great animated movies, but it's not embarrassing either. Far from it. It's loud and blustery at times (and strictly for the kiddies), but all that aside, it managed to win me over.

First, though, a little backstory. The movie was on track to be released last fall, but when Disney bought Pixar in the summer of 2006 (and Pixar head John Lassiter became the head of all Disney animation), the movie was halted and several sections of it were largely reworked. I don't know much more than that, other than that the film does indeed feel like it had this kind of treatment.

If you divide the movie into three acts, the first part (the set-up) is pretty lame, with a lot of jokes trying way too hard and others falling painfully flat. In the theater, I remember thinking that we were in for a long unpleasant ride. The second part (where Lewis is in the future, meeting the Robinsons) feels like the animators smoked a ton of crack, then went to work on the movie. The third part, the action climax and then the resolution, finds a way to become surprisingly endearing and almost makes you forget about how awkward and odd the first sections were.

Ultimately, though, the movie has nifty central idea that it drives at, which I can only assume comes from the book on which it is based: In life a lot of bad stuff can potentially happen to you, but how you deal with it and what you do from then on out is what defines who you are. This is epitomized by the mysterious Bowler Hat Guy, who isn't an especially clever or original creation, but surprisingly turns out to be a a moving character.

Again, the movie is pretty much for the kiddies, but there's some heart and feeling there too which prevents it from being completely painful.

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