Everyone’s always talking about “keeping up with the Joneses”, but you’ll forget all about that once you Meet the Robinsons. This film, loosely based on the children’s book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” by William Joyce, is a fantastical time-traveling animated adventure released by Walt Disney Animation in 2007.
William Joyce has made quite a name for himself recently with adaptations of his works such as Epic (2013) and Rise of the Guardians (2012). His stories are quirky and interesting, and this 2007 film is no different.
Lewis is an orphan who is constantly passed over by potential adoptive parents due to his penchant for scaring them away with his crazy experiments. In fact, he states at one point that he’s been rejected by 124 different couples. Since older children have a much lower adoption rate, he’s getting worried that he’ll never be adopted. He can’t seem to figure out the right formula for getting one of the couples to give him more of a chance.
Enter Wilbur Robinson, a time traveling boy from the future who takes him to the future to help fix a problem caused by the mysterious and nefarious Bowler Hat Man, a problem which may alter the bright future Lewis finds when he meets Wilbur’s zany family.
The animation is very well done, especially when Lewis and Wilbur first arrive in the future. The details, colors, and creative setting designs are like candy for the eyes. While a bit dated compared to more recent animation, it holds up as well as the original Toy Story does to the more recent Toy Story 3. The characters are obviously based on Joyce’s designs, and in some cases look almost exactly like characters from the book.
The plot flows along quite smoothly, though you have to pay attention for some of the clues as they aren’t immediately obvious in all cases (not necessarily a bad thing, of course). While the plot isn’t really that deep, it does have substance, and I loved the in-jokes (such as “Todayland”) scattered throughout.
One of my favorite aspects of the film was the number of positive messages constantly emphasized throughout the story, and this was done without it seeming like the director or screenwriters were preaching at the audience. It’s rare to find such a balanced script.
Since this is a Disney animated film, it wouldn’t be complete without singing animals. Have no fear, however, as these are not obnoxious, fluffy, air-headed little beasts, and you definitely don’t want to cross them. The scenes with the Tyrannosaurus Rex are delightful as well.
It had been a couple years since I last saw this film, and when I watched it I found out my wife had never seen it. I had just as much fun watching her watch (and enjoy) the movie as I did watching the film again. Meet the Robinsons is a great film, and a worthy addition to the Disney legacy.
Release Date: March 29, 2007 (USA)
MPAA Rating: G
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (caffeine patch overdose)
Violence: 2 (minor science fiction and slapstick violence, some froggy thuggery)