DVD Review: Meet the Robinsons
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Distributor: Walt Disney Video
· Stephen Anderson
· IMDb: Meet the Robinsons
by R.J. Carter
Published: October 25, 2007
"Meet the Robinsons" is based on the children's book, A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, and follows the trials and tribulations of young Lewis -- an orphan who has had 124 adoption interviews and is convinced he has no future. He's an inventor by instinct, although most of his inventions wind up failing in some spectacular fashion or another. Lewis is convinced that if he could find his real mother -- the one who left him at the doorstep of the orphanage -- then she would take him back. But no one saw her, except for the infant Lewis. This inspires Lewis to invent a memory scanner so he can replay his hidden memories.
But on the day of the big science fair, someone secretly sabotages Lewis's invention in an effort to demoralize him and make him quit. And it works -- Lewis gives up in disgust. But this new annoying kid, Wilbur Robinson, insists that it's imperative that Lewis finish his invention -- that the whole future depends on it. And the only way to convince Lewis of this future is to take him to it in his time machine.
As Lewis meets Wilbur's overly-eccentric family, a mysterious lanky villain in a robotic bowler hat skulks about, trying to steal Lewis's invention for himself, to change his own future and ruin Lewis's!
The storyline is -- for the most part -- highly entertaining. The actual meeting of the Robinsons comes across like a set of disjointed gags. But once that's over, the rest of the plot is a fun, animated "Back to the Future" style story of time-travel and paradoxes. The show features a uniquely diverse cast of voices, including Angela Bassett, Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf, King of Queens' Nicole Sullivan, and television icons Tom Selleck and Adam West. Director Stephen Anderson himself voices the evil Bowler Hat Guy, as well as Grandpa Bud.
To the Future! Where they're going, they don't need "roads."
The bonus features on this disc begin with a montage of three deleted scenes, all introduced by Anderson who passes on some interesting trivia in so doing. Then the viewer is off to the Games & Activities portion of the extras, where the "Family Function 5000" -- Lewis's latest invention -- waits for you to select the Robinson family member who is the answer to a trivia question. After three wrong guesses, the device blows up spectacularly -- but it only takes Lewis a minute to put it back together so you can learn from your failure.
One of the subtle delights of "Meet the Robinsons" was the music -- not just the score by master composer Danny Elfman, but also the soundtrack submissions from Rob Thomas, the All-American Rejects, and Rufus Wainwright. So it's only right that the Music & More chapter give us a little more of that, as Thomas performs "Little Wonders." Following that, the Jonas Brothers riff on Kim Wilde's hit with their "Kids of the Future."
Meet the Jonases. The Jonas Brothers perform "Kids
From the Future" as a bonus feature.
Backstage Disney serves up two documentaries. The first eighteen minute featurette, "Building the Robinsons," provides an insightful look into the development of the film from Joyce's quirky children's book, and features interviews with the director, musicians, and cast members. "Keep Moving Forward" -- the theme of the film, overall -- is a six minute, humorous Disney look at "inventions that shaped the world."
"Meet the Robinsons" is a thoroughly enjoyable animated feature that the whole family will have fun watching.
Audio is available in English, Spanish, French, and 5.1 Sound Effects, with subtitling available in English.
Previews on this disc include "Return to Neverland," "The Aristocats" - Special Edition, "Cinderella II" - Special Edition, "High School Musical 2," "Snow Buddies," "Ratatouille," "Enchanted," and "The Santa Clause 3."