Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Meet the Robinsons

Walt Disney Animation Studios 47th feature film.
Walt Disney Animation Studios 47th feature film.

http://www.cornel1801.com/disney/Meet-Robinsons-2007/movie-film.html

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that………….I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to enjoy it. Some parts of it are a bit forgettable, we do not get much time with the family, and the transition between the serious tone and comedy is almost as bad as it is in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. There is a HUGE shift and a different feeling between Chicken Little (and its predecessors) to this film (and its successors). Meet the Robinsons feels like it has some Pixar elements to it.

Production

So production on this film started a bit after the release of Home on the Range, starting in June 2004. By this time, the 2d department was already closed, and they were already onto CGI projects. they started production, and the project was a lot different than what we got today.

When Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion dollars in early 2006, and the studio renamed itself Walt Disney Animation Studios instead of Walt Disney Feature Animation. I spoke about the contractual issues in the Chicken Little review, so I will not go deep into it here. John Lasseter became President and Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and WDAS, and when he saw this project, he demanded changes, and 60% of the film was changed, including a changed ending, a dinosaur chase, and a scarier villain. They had an issue with the voice of Lewis, since the original actor lost his voice, and had to be replaced, kind of like Arthur from The Sword in the Stone.

Story

The film starts with a mother (whose face is covered) carrying a little baby that will be known as Lewis (Jordan Fry and Dave Hansen) to an Orphanage, and runs after knocking it, where the orphanage owner Mildred (Angela Bassett) brings him in.

12 years later, he is too bus working on his invention and too insensitive to even listen to his roommate Michael “Goob” Yagoobian (Matthew Josten) who is trying to have a conversation with him about baseball. Potential parents show up to interview Lewis to see if he wants him, and he decides to bring his latest invention I never even knew you where allowed to bring stuff when you are meeting a potential adoptive parent, but whatever. When he shows the potential parents his invention book, they are impressed, but he tries to take out his new Peanut Butter and Jelly machine (which they tell him to stop), but he does not listen, and it gets all over them, and the man has an allergic reaction.

You would think that after the same situation happening over 100 times, Mildred would tell Lewis NOT to bring any more of his inventions to the interviews.
You would think that after the same situation happening over 100 times, Mildred would tell Lewis NOT to bring any more of his inventions to the interviews.

So after things go badly, he tells Mildred that now that he is turning 13, there is a slim chance of him being adopted, and he decides that he does not want to be adopted cause he is going to find his mother. We get a montage song of him working on the invention, blowing off interviews, and using his roommate and continuing to be inconsiderate of him, because he wants to work on his machine.

We get some filler at the Science Fair, and Lewis shows up to show off his machine, which would cause it to fail because the Bowler Hat Guy (Steve Anderson) has his mechanical hat to sabotage it. Wilbur (Wesley Singerman) shows up to warn Lewis about the Bowler Hat Guy, and follows Lewis to the rooftop of his home, and tells him that he is a time cop from the future. Lewis tells him to go away, and that he gives up on inventing, and yada, yada, yada, the typical “I give up” scene.

So to convince Lewis that he is from the future, he throws him off the cliff, where Lewis conveniently lands on the invisible time machine. What if he literally missed, and fell to his death? I have to say that the first act definitely has some of Pixar's maturity and sensitivity to certain topics in it.
So to convince Lewis that he is from the future, he throws him off the cliff, where Lewis conveniently lands on the invisible time machine. What if he literally missed, and fell to his death? I have to say that the first act definitely has some of Pixar’s maturity and sensitivity to certain topics in it.

So Wilbur takes him to 20 years in the future, and it looks like everyone’s idea of the future. Everyone in the 1980s thought that the 2000s-2010’s would look like the future in this movie, but that proved to be false, and everyone from the 1960s thought the 1980s-1990s would be the future in this movie either, but that failed. Point is, the future WILL NOT look like that in 2037. So Wilbur wants him to fix his memory scanner so he could help the future, but Lewis refuses, because he got it rough but if he listened to others, he would not have gotten it so rough and wants Wilbur to take him to his birth mother to stop her from giving him up. Like that won’t have consequences. So they fight over the wheel, and crash the time machine, which is a problem since there is only two of them, and one of them is crashed, and the other one is owned by Bowler Hat Guy. We get some useless banter about them not trusting one another, but Lewis agrees to fix the machine, if Wilbur takes him to his mother.

Ugh. All I will say about the Bowler Hat Guy at the moment is that I do not have a high opinion of him.
Ugh. All I will say about the Bowler Hat Guy at the moment is that I do not have a high opinion of him.

He goes to some board room meeting with Lewis’ machine, and does not even know what is, how to use it, and what is his goal with it (outside of ruining Lewis), so long story short, he makes an ass of himself. Because that fails, him and his mechanical hat decides that they need to kidnap Lewis. The boys carry the time machine back to the garage of Wilbur’s house, where Lewis can fix the machine because his mother never goes in the garage, and his father is on a business trip until the next morning.  Apparently Wilbur was supposed to find the stolen time machine, but manages to not find it, and ruin the last one.

Wilbur forces Lewis to wear a fruit hat because his hair would be a dead giveaway that Lewis is the younger version of Wilbur’s father. Lewis manages to sneak away out of the garage, and is introduced to a bunch of Wilbur’s family in the weirdest way possible. They try to throw us some humor here, but it really misses the mark, and it does make the tone of the film shift, and not in a good way. You do not get proper introductions to all of these characters that were are supposed to care for, and we are introduced to them in about 35 minutes into the film.

As the introductions to the family get weirder and weirder, we see Wilbur's mother Franny (Nicole Sullivan) conducts the frog's orchestra performance. I don't grate at the humor, but I do not laugh at it either. We still see some aspects of the bad Post Renaissance cliches (as in the humor) in this film.
As the introductions to the family get weirder and weirder, we see Wilbur’s mother Franny (Nicole Sullivan) conducts the frog’s orchestra performance. I don’t grate at the humor, but I do not laugh at it either. We still see some aspects of the bad Post Renaissance cliches (as in the humor) in this film.

Bowler Hat Guy went back 30 years ago to speak to Gober, which is him 30 years prior, and tells him that he needs to hold onto to his anger from the humiliation of losing the baseball match, and Lewis ruining his life. WOW, his grown up self LITERALLY ruined HIS OWN life 30 years ago, and it does not really make that much sense, but it is always like this with the time travel stories.

So Wilbur forces Lewis to fix the machine, and when Lewis struggles, Wilbur keeps on telling him to “Keep Moving Forward”, and explains that it is his father Cornelius’ motto, and we go in depth about his company. Lewis fails to fix the machine, and soon enough, the family and Lewis are at dinner. He is all sad, and Wilbur is glaring at him, but Franny asks Lewis where he is from, and he lies horribly.

We get these painfully weird and unfunny ass comedic scenes that add absolutely nothing, and one example is the meat tossing scene at the dinner. There are a lot of moments in the film like this, and the heart in the first act is completely gone. There needs to be a bit more focus and tone.
We get these painfully weird and unfunny ass comedic scenes that add absolutely nothing, and one example is the meat tossing scene at the dinner. There are a lot of moments in the film like this, and the heart in the first act is completely gone. There needs to be a bit more focus and tone.

So after Lewis fails to repair something, they all congratulate him on his failure, and throws a drink on themselves as a celebration. Lewis says he would want a family like them, and Wilbur tells Franny that he is an orphan. They also want him to take his hat off, but Wilbur prohibits it, since then they will realize that Lewis is Cornelius from 30 years ago. Bowler Hat Guy goes in a time machine to get a dinosaur to attack the house, and we get this supposedly funny dino fight with him and the entire family.

The Robinsons and Lewis have this UBER special bond after spending an hour at the max with one another, and they ask Lewis to become a Robinson, but Wilbur tips his hat off, which shocks the entire family and they recognize him. Franny tells Lewis that he has to go back, and Wilbur ruined a lot. Lewis says that he still wants to see his mother, and Wilbur tells her that he was never going to do it, angering Lewis and the entire family of the trouble he caused, with the stolen/broken time machines, interfering with time, and lying to Wilbur.

Bowler Hat pops off as Lewis runs off, and he goes with him in anger. They end up at Bowler Hat’s liar, where Lewis fixes the machine that Bowler stole from him, and long story short, it is revealed that Lewis IS Cornelius Robinson, and that Bowler Hat IS Goob. He goes on and on about his delusional sob story about no one wanting to adopt him and everyone hating him (in reality, it was because he was a demon in his interviews, and ignored everyone), and that he joined a robotic hat Cornelius created to take him down. Lewis returns to the Robinson house, where Wilbur tells him that he needs to fix the time machine, and that he is his father, so he can do it, and that he himself (Wilbur) screwed up, and yada, yada, yada. The typical motivational speech.

Everything goes awry when Bowler Hat takes the machine to the corporate managers, and the mechanical hat changes the future, and completely destroys the town after he gets rid of Bowler Hat, so Lewis fixes the time machine, and goes back to when bowler is about to sign the contract, and tells him that the hat is using him, and will dispose of him after it is done with him. Lewis than says that he will never invent the hat, and it disappears. WHAT? This does not really make sense, because you cannot say something will not exist and it disappears. Bowler is taken back to the house with the time machine, and he is sad about the hat using him, and not being his friend. I really hate how they ended things with him. He just runs off. How do you close an arc with a villain like that?

So Cornelius returns from his business trip, and sees the younger version of himself, as both of them are stunned. I have a few things to address. 1. How in the hell did the family not recognize him? There MUST HAVE been pics of a younger Lewis somewhere, especially with Lewis`parents LIVING WITH THE ROBINSONS. 2. The way Wilbur speaks to his father is very odd. Even if you come across a younger version of your parent, would you REALLY treat him the way that he treats his young father? 3. WHY is there no time warp complication when NOT ONLY the 2 Lewis`see one another, but TOUCH ONE ANOTHER?  So old Lewis shows young Lewis their first invention, and young Lewis asks older Lewis if they ever meet their mother.........no. But Lewis has to keep moving forward, and yada yada yada.
So Cornelius returns from his business trip, and sees the younger version of himself, as both of them are stunned. I have a few things to address.
1. How in the hell did the family not recognize him? There MUST HAVE been pics of a younger Lewis somewhere, especially with Lewis’ parents LIVING WITH THE ROBINSONS.
2. The way Wilbur speaks to his father is very odd. Even if you come across a younger version of your parent, would you REALLY treat him the way that he treats his young father?
3. WHY is there no time warp complication when NOT ONLY the 2 Lewis`see one another, but TOUCH ONE ANOTHER?
So old Lewis shows young Lewis their first invention (the one at the science fair), and young Lewis asks older Lewis if they ever meet their mother………no. But Lewis has to keep moving forward, and yada yada yada.

Wilbur takes Lewis back after he says goodbye to his family. Wilbur takes him back to 1995 when he sees his mother give him up to the adoption home. But old Lewis says he never gets to see his mother. She leaves, and HE is the one that knocks the door before he leaves. So he is returned to 2007, and runs to the baseball game to tell Goob to wake up and to catch the ball, which he does, and his team likes him. He rushes to the science fair, and his experiments works. Apparently one of the judges ends up as his adoptive parents, and he meets the younger Franny (the girl with the frogs, and says that frogs can sing). They adopt him, he moves into the Robinson house, and the ending song is pretty nice.

The film does have a lot of heart, and it does capture your emotions at times. The beginning is actually very good, and some aspects of the ending are good as well, but the middle is sloppy. There is the issue with the tone and the focus in the film, and you can DEFINITELY tell that there were a lot of changes with this film. There are certain aspects from the Post-Chicken Little movies, and aspects from the early Post Renaissance films. There are a few holes with the time machines, and the characters overall are not that strong. Not the best movie, but I could watch this a few times if it is on TV or something.
The film does have a lot of heart, and it does capture your emotions at times. The beginning is actually very good, and some aspects of the ending are good as well, but the middle is sloppy. There is the issue with the tone and the focus in the film, and you can DEFINITELY tell that there were a lot of changes with this film. There are certain aspects from the Post-Chicken Little movies, and aspects from the early Post Renaissance films. There are a few holes with the time machines, and the characters overall are not that strong. Not the best movie, but I could watch this a few times if it is on TV or something.

Characters

The characters…………….I do have some issues with them. We do not get much time to know or to feel anything deep for the Robinson family, as they are all used as pathetic jokes, and do not appear as much as they need to be, and the main characters are not much to brag about either to be very honest.

Lewis in the beginning really annoyed me. I get it that you are sad that you are not getting adopted, but he brought a lot of the issues on himself, and if he was not so self involved in the beginning of the film, with Goob, and listening to others, than it would not be a big issue. You do feel sorry for him, and you can really tell that he is very insecure and doubts himself. As a character, he is alright, but he has his annoying moments where he just whines about anything. He is a bit mixed for me.
Lewis in the beginning really annoyed me. I get it that you are sad that you are not getting adopted, but he brought a lot of the issues on himself, and if he was not so self involved in the beginning of the film, with Goob, and listening to others, than it would not be a big issue. You do feel sorry for him, and you can really tell that he is very insecure and doubts himself. As a character, he is alright, but he has his annoying moments where he just whines about anything. He is a bit mixed for me.
There is literally no reason for me to like him. He is irresponsible, a liar, reckless, inconsiderate, and just a plain old annoyance. It sucks that we have a character that ends up unlikable, and they are not SUPPOSED TO BE. It is just the way he handles everything that annoys me so much. And it is weird how he speaks to his family. I just wished he was not so damn obnoxious.
There is literally no reason for me to like him. He is irresponsible, a liar, reckless, inconsiderate, and just a plain old annoyance. It sucks that we have a character that ends up unlikable, and they are not SUPPOSED TO BE. It is just the way he handles everything that annoys me so much. And it is weird how he speaks to his family. I just wished he was not so damn obnoxious.
Oh my GOODNESS what a lame, painful, irritating villain he is. I get it that there are comedic villains, and he is a clear comedic villain, but you STILL need to come off as a little bit threatening, but he just comes off as an unbearably pathetic, whiny, and unfunny baby. I did not laugh at him or his jokes ONCE in the film. There is a good reason why he is forgotten. His plans are so poorly thought out, and with the way he goes on and on just makes me roll my eyes, hoping that his scene is finished and quickly.
Oh my GOODNESS what a lame, painful, irritating villain he is. I get it that there are comedic villains, and he is a clear comedic villain, but you STILL need to come off as a little bit threatening, but he just comes off as an unbearably pathetic, whiny, and unfunny baby. I did not laugh at him or his jokes ONCE in the film. There is a good reason why he is forgotten. His plans are so poorly thought out, and with the way he goes on and on just makes me roll my eyes, hoping that his scene is finished and quickly. And no I do not feel sorry for him because HE made his life into a living hell.

The other characters are so minor and unimportant, that there is not even a need to discuss them.

Animation

The animation in this film is a huge improvement from Chicken Little. I can definitely see Pixar’s influence in the animation, though there is still a long way to go. Some of the backgrounds of the futuristic world looks really good, and the textures on the humans are great. I do like the bold and bright colorings in the animation. The human characters look really nice when it comes to texture and all of that, though the actual designs are not the best at all.

Music

The music is not that memorable, but when we are at the somber and sad moments, it really does add more to it. I cannot say that I remember the score that much though, and that it has an overly future-ey theme to it. the final song is really nice though, which is ironic since I cannot even find the title for it.

Reception at Release

When it was released on March 30th, 2007 (it premiered on the 23rd in Britain), it did not do well. This probably had to do with the fact that it was supposed to come out in theaters in late 2006, but they pushed it back, leading it to be in theaters at a bad time. It made $25,123,781, and by the end of it’s run, it made $97,822,171 domestically, and $71,510,863 elsewhere, causing a worldwide total of  $169,333,034. I could not find the budget for this, but either way, this is not a good performance, and continued to show the company that the CGI was not the issue with their films, but the stories and the amount of gimmicks that were in it.

It got mixed to positive reviews. Some liked it for it’s charm and fast pace, while others despise it for being filled with a bunch of gimmicks, and the scattered plot that is all over the place.

Reception Today

It’s reception today is that it is forgotten about. I do not hear people bash on it ruthlessly, but if this film is brought off, they are either like “eh”, or “what is that?”, or “I don’t give a fuck about this movie”. It is seen as the very first film in the cannon to directly have Lasetter’s input, the first to be released under WDAS’ new name, and the film that helped increase the luck and quality of the studio (though they have a lot of ways to go still).

Final Score

Story: 6/10

Characters: 5/10

Animation: 7.5/10

Music: 7/10

= 25.5/40 = 64%

Next Time…

Review: November 10th, 2014
Review: November 10th, 2014
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10 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Meet the Robinsons

  1. Interesting that you make comparisons to Pixar. I’m wondering what you will think of Bolt, which I think is the most Pixar of Disney’s (along the lines of A Bug’s Life).

    1. I never saw comparisons between A Bug’s Life and Bolt. I see a bit of Pixar because there is more sophisticaTion and depths in this film than the predecessors in this era.

      1. It certainly couldn’t have been much worse than Chicken Little haha but yeah, I agree with you. It is more sophisticated.

        I think A Bug’s Life and Bolt are kind of bland but enjoyable films.

  2. Meet the Robinsons is spastic and convoluted but I enjoyed it. I actually liked the bowler hat man and thought that was clever. It’s an odd duck movie and definitely not for everyone but they kind of threw everything in it and most of it worked out.

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