'Robinsons' impressive visually, emotionally PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Disney isn't so big that it can't learn from its mistakes.
The studio's second foray into CGI animation, "Meet the Robinsons," is far more palatable than its first, 2005's "Chicken Little."
No, it's still not as good as most of Pixar's films. It's disjointed, frenetic — sometimes in need of a good dose of Ritalin — and the comedy is hit or miss.
"Meet the Robinsons," however, has impressive visuals, some real emotion, and it keeps throwing things at the screen until you find something you like.
Indeed, respecting the moral that it will eventually beat you over the head with, "Meet the Robinsons" keeps moving forward.
Eschewing the big name actor voices that animated films normally utilize these days — other than Angela Bassett and a Tom Selleck cameo — the film tells a fast-paced time travel story built around Lewis, a brilliant young inventor.
Unfortunately for the orphaned youngster, his inventiveness consistently turns off prospective parents.
Family remains an important theme, even when Lewis meets a teen from the future, Wilbur Robinson, at a science fair, rocketing the film into dazzling new places.
In the future there is consistent, sometimes contrived, wackiness, revolving around the Robinson family, a villain rescued from "The Nightmare Before Christmas," a robotic bowler hat with a mind of its own and a fierce but flawed dinosaur.
It should be mentioned that, despite the G rating, there are a few moments that could be deeply disturbing to small kids.
In the end, "Meet the Robinsons" gets more right than it does wrong. Yes, it keeps moving forward.
In a nod to the past, however, Disney has also included a new old-fashioned Mickey Mouse short to open the show. I could take it or leave it, but it seemed popular with the kids.
Video recommendation: Who does time travel better than Marty McFly in "Back to the Future"? Grade: A



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