|Meet the Robinsons|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Tuesday, 01 January 2008|
"Meet The Robinsons" is another family-friendly movie from the creators over at Disney. However, unlike "Cars" and "Ratatouille", this film is not from the geniuses at Pixar. Nonetheless, it is an exceptional film, definitely on par with its predecessors.
Lewis (Daniel Hansen) is a 12, nearly 13 year-old, boy living at an orphanage. He also happens to be a budding genius inventor. After numerous failed inventions, and determined to remember and find his mother, Lewis begins work on an invention dubbed the "Memory Scanner". The creation, entered in a school science fair, turns out to be another disappointment for Lewis, as it explodes in everyone's face.
Little did Lewis know, he was sabotaged by a tall, stinky, lanky, man in a bowler hat. Lewis returns back at the orphanage only to destroy his invention notebook and sulk on the rooftop of the building. It is on that rooftop that Lewis re-encounters a strange young boy named Wilbur (Wesley Singerman), who must prove to Lewis that he is from the future.
Jumping into the invisible spacecraft, the two kids blast-off into the future. It is at this point in time where the story and animation really begins to resemble that of 20th Century Fox's "Robots". The futuristic scenery in "Meet The Robinson" functions much like the futuristic society in "Robots". The buildings look alike, and the Rube-Goldberg effect on the transportation of citizens is extremely similar. The environment in "Meet The Robinsons" lacks a certain kind of cohesiveness. The buildings and structures of the city somehow immediately switch into the distant suburbs. But, that is just nit-picking on an animated film.
Back to Wilbur and Lewis, an untimely scuffle between the two boys leads to a crash landing. Somehow they manage to get the time machine back to Wilbur's parent's garage and begin to try to make repairs. This is interrupted when Lewis gets sucked up into one of the many transportation tubes that run among all areas of the house, from the garage to the backyard lawn to the front door to the toilet and beyond.
While searching for his way back to the garage, Lewis runs into each and every member of the family, all with extremely unique senses of individuality. Lewis is finally rescued by Wilbur, but not in time to escape the call for family dinner. The dinner reveals much about the characters and their relationships.
From this point on in the film, everything is interconnected and so I won't go into detail in order avoid spoilers.
The video quality is excellent, as usual for an animated feature. Lines are extremely smooth, with no evidence of any jaggies. The luminosity is a bit blown out at times, but not horrendous. Many might think the color scheme is badly transferred on this Blu-ray disc. However, the color discrepancies in the film are intentional. The opening section of the feature, which takes place in present time looks flat, with little contrast. This, matched with the color scheme gives off a soft appearance, which is a little jarring. The future sequences are much more colorful and contrasty, giving a high-quality depth to the picture. This is a directorial choice, and works for adults. But for children, the opening flatness might not keep them attentive, as children are drawn to color and vibrant images.
The audio quality is dynamic, with a solid dialogue track. The surround channels are used appropriately for sound effects. They are well placed, and the panning is on cue, without being overly exaggerated, like some animated films. Unfortunately, the surrounds were not as good when it comes to atmospheric presence. There were many scenes that presented good opportunities to utilize atmosphere sounds, yet it was not taken advantage of. For example, the opening scene that takes place outside in the rain in the middle of the night yielded very little rain in the surrounds. The stillness of any traffic or citizen noise should have made the raindrops in the surrounds an easy job, yet it was a bit empty.
The disc contains pretty standard special features. First, there are six deleted scenes. Each is preceded by an introduction by director, Stephen Anderson. Next, there are a couple featurettes, "Inventing the Robinsons" and "Inventions that Shaped the World". Finally, there are two music videos and an interactive game. Exclusive HD special features include a Bowler Hat game and Disney's Movie Showcase, which highlights some Producer chosen scenes, which they feel show the quality of the animation transfer to Blu-ray.
This is great family film that will be well liked by children and adults. Children will love the admirable characters and the simplistic part of the plot. Adults will be able to find more underlying plot details to follow and will be able to fully appreciate the complete unfolding of the character backstories and relationships.
While there are lulls for each end of the spectrum, they are easy to overlook. Some children though may not be about to sit through the opening part of the story that sets up the audience for the plots to follow in the rest of the film.
All in all this is a great family night movie to add to your children's collection, which surely includes other animated favorites.