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Meet the Robinsons

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"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
Walt Disney's quote at the end of the film.


Meet the Robinsons
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If you think your family's different, wait 'til you meet the family of the future.
Genre: Animated
Sci-fi
Comedy
Drama
Action
Directed By: Stephen Anderson
Produced By: Dorothy McKim
Starring: Daniel Hansen
Jordan Fry
Wesley Singerman
Angela Bassett
Tom Selleck
Harland William
Laurie Metcalf
Nicole Sullivan
Adam West
Ethan Sandler
Tom Kenny
Stephen Anderson
Cinematography: Jon Bernstein
Michelle Spritz
Don Hall
Nathan Greno
Aurion Redson
Joe Mateo
Stephen Anderson
Distributed By: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release Date: March 23, 2007 (United Kingdom)
March 30, 2007 (United States)
Runtime: 94 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $150 million
Box Office: $169 million
Sequel: Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date (cancelled)


Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 47th animated film produced by the studio, it is loosely based on the 1990 children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce.

Plot

Boy genius Lewis gives up hope of retrieving his latest invention, which was stolen by Bowler Hat Guy, then a young time-traveler named Wilbur Robinson arrives on the scene to whisk Lewis away in his time machine. The boys spend a day in the future with Wilbur's eccentric family and uncover an amazing secret at the same time.

Why It Keeps Moving Forward

  1. It's a massive improvement over Disney's previous animated disasters produced in the mid-2000s, especially the notorious and universally-panned "Chicken Little".
  2. First means first, the characters are all extremely likable and memorable. Even some of the less developed ones like the majority of the Robinson family members.
    • Lewis is a likable protagonist who is also a sympathetic character with an insecure and introverted personality (at least during the beginning). He also has a tragic backstory about his mom abandoning him. He also goes through some strong character development as he learns that even though he'll fail sometimes, he shouldn't just give up. He has to, you guessed it, "keep moving forward".
    • Wilbur is the son of Franny and Lewis (as later revealed in the film as discussed in further detail in WIKMF# 8) is an impatient teenager who often finds himself in trouble, he always has a backup plan to get himself out of it. He often moves quickly and during his time travels, uses stealth and generally acts in the manner of his fake persona as a "Time Continuum Task Force" officer until Lewis sees through his facade. Wilbur generally acts very confident, but he is rather careful about trying to keep Lewis' cover until realizing he can't keep the act up, so he exposes him.
    • The Bowler Hat Guy is a hilarious villainous character who has a tragic backstory too, as his goal is to get revenge on Lewis for accidentally causing him to blow a game-winning catch during a childhood baseball game (a backstory that manages to be the perfect mix of petty and legitimately sad, as he completely refused to let go of his childhood trauma caused by the experience and it led him on a path of evil), though this one won't be directly said as it is original.
    • Franny Robinson is a caring, charming, fun-loving and inviting mother and wife. She is extremely maternal and compassionate, shown when she offers to take Lewis in knowing he had no family, unsuspecting that Lewis is "Cornelius", her husband, from the past. As stated by her and her husband, she is "always right", even when she's wrong.
  3. Great CGI animation that is a good mesh between realistic and cartoonish animation.
  4. The film has a great moral: What's important in life is to let go of the past and keep moving forward so we can achieve success, and mistakes can be helpful for that.
  5. The soundtrack is also pretty good and fits the film's theme very well. It's also worth mentioning that the Japanese theme song for the film, "Hitomi Hiraite", by Mitsuki is quite beautiful. Especially if you keep in mind the meaning of the song's lyrics as well as the story of the movie. And even then, the English version still has the amazing ending theme, "Little Wonders", by Rob Thomas, and as well as the song near the beginning, "Another Believer" by Rufus Wainwright.
  6. The fight scene with the possessed dinosaur is interesting and very cool. The food fight scene also manages to be incredibly memorable and hilarious (serving as one of the many comedic moments in this film mentioned in WIKMF# 7). As the Robinson, being the dysfunctional and quirky family they are, manage to turn dinnertime into an epic, hammy battle.
  7. Plenty of funny moments, such as Lewis explaining Wilbur's family tree to him, Wilbur throwing Lewis off a building and the gym coach getting attacked by the science fair projects. There are so many in fact that the entire movie itself has actually managed to become one of the funniest movies in Disney histories.
  8. The film also has a very surprisingly and great twist that is revealed near the climax that Wilbur is actually Lewis' future son.
  9. Amazing and inspiring quotes, particularly "Keep moving forward!"
  10. Great voice acting, especially by Adam West as Uncle Art.
  11. Lots of great foreshadowing, such as at the very beginning, where the mom is dropping Lewis off at the orphanage, you can hear someone slip on the ground, which is revealed to be Lewis himself at the end.
  12. Character Development: Lewis (as previously mentioned in WIKMV# 2) starts off as an unconfident boy who thinks he's a failure at inventing things to a confident boy who accepts the past and anticipates the future.
  13. Amazing Ending: Upon making it back to Wilbur's time after defeating Doris, Lewis finally meets Cornelius face to face. Cornelius explains how the memory scanner started their successful career, and persuades Lewis to return to the science fair. Wilbur takes Lewis back, but makes one stop first: as he promised, he takes Lewis back to the moment when his mother abandoned him. Though Lewis approaches his mother, he ultimately decides not to interact with her, realizing the family he will come to have with Wilbur and others. Wilbur drops Lewis off in his own time and leaves. Lewis heads to the fair, but en route wakes up Goob just in time for him to make the winning catch, thereby preventing his villainous ways. Back at the fair, Lewis asks for one more chance to demonstrate his scanner, which this time succeeds. He is adopted by Lucille, one of the science fair judges, and her husband Bud, who nicknames him "Cornelius" and takes him home.

Bad Qualities

  1. The defeat of the Helping Hats is pretty anti-climatic, as Lewis simply just says "I'm never going to invent you." and they disappear. And given how he could've easily thought of never inventing them at any other moment in the film, it comes off as pretty weird as well.
  2. Some mean-spirited scenes.
  3. False advertising: The poster at the top of the page gave the impression that Lizzy was a member of the Robinson family in the future when in this film, it turns out she's actually just a classmate of Lewis in the present who is only on screen for under a minute in total. Not only that, there's also a dog with glasses who is part of the Robinsons family, but he barely gets any screentime in the film as well.
  4. It builds up "liar revealed" cliché, because the story is slightly predictable at times.
  5. Although likable, a whole family's worth; each of the Robinsons gets just enough screentime to see their persona, but not enough to really flesh them out. Mr. Enter compared it to a television pilot introducing characters with the assurance that they would get fleshed out in future episodes.

Reception

Meet the Robinson was well-received for its animation and story. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.40/10. The site's critics consensus states, "Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth.". Metacritic reported the film had a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 27 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Videos

Trivia

  • Bowler Hat Guy's line "Good day, madame. I'm here to change the future" is misunderstood as "Good day, gentlemen. I am here to change the future.", which became a meme.
  • Disneytoon Studios originally planned to make a sequel to the film, tentatively titled Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date. However, when John Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he called off all future sequels Disneytoon originally planned, including sequels to Chicken Little and The Aristocats , and refocused on spin-off films and original productions.
  • Unlike their previous film Chicken Little, a film starring CG animals, the animation crew had the challenge to animate CG humans. They took inspiration from Pixar's The Incredibles when animating the characters. They also took inspiration from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and from Warner Brothers cartoons to capture the 1950s aesthetic.
  • While the film was in production, The Walt Disney Company announced on January 24, 2006 that it would be acquiring Pixar, and as a result, John Lasseter became the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. When he saw an early screening for the movie, he told Anderson that he did not find the villain scary or threatening enough, and suggested that he make some changes. Ten months later, almost 60% of the film had been scrapped and redone. The villain had improved and was given a new sidekick, a dinosaur chase had been added, and the ending was changed.
  • This is the second CGI movie that Disney made without Pixar along with Chicken Little and also the first film by Walt Disney Animation Studios released after its acquisition of Pixar in 2006.
  • This makes the first film to use the current Walt Disney Animation Studios logo. Similarly, it is also the first animated film to use the current Walt Disney Pictures logo.

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