Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Adam West, Ethan Sandler, Tom Kenny|
|Director:||Stephen J. Anderson|
|Producer:||Clark Spencer, Dorothy McKim|
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Pictures|
“If you think your family’s different, wait 'til you meet the family of the future.”
Although I now live in the midwest, I am a California kid. I grew up practically living at Disneyland. Every time we had family or friends in from “out of state” the place of choice to show off to them was The Magic Kingdom. As I grew up in and out of its gilded gates (the first visit was when my folks took me when it was opened less than a year—although I don’t remember it, I have pictures) I knew where, literally, every restroom was and even entertained the thought of being a tour guide when I was in high school.
Mickey Mouse has made a lasting impression on my life. I watched the Mickey Mouse Club, with Annette not the glossy in color version of today, every day after school. Later on, Sunday evening just wasn’t Sunday evening without watching Walt in living color. I believe I chose art as my major in College because I truly believed Disney Studios would hand me a job painstakingly coloring animation cells right then and there.
But it was the original impact of DisneyLand, before there was a Florida or Japanese version, planted into the orange groves of sunny Southern California before smog became an environmental issue, that bestowed upon me that sense of wonder even Disney Movies couldn’t impart. There is something about walking through those turnstiles and strolling down Main Street USA and at the end beholding Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for the very first time. It doesn’t matter if you’re 2 or 62!
Here we “lived” fairy tales, mysteries and the future. Here was “Tomorrowland.” The only place on Earth at the time you could ride a real Monorail, hover over the park in a People Mover or take a Trip to The Moon (which later traded destinations to Mars). Then Monsanto hosted a ride that would shrink you to the size smaller than a living cell …and you believed it!
Disney has always had it in them, and now with “Meet The Robinsons” they have finally returned to the wonder they conjured up in those beginning years. A true “E Ticket” of a film.
We sat in our seats with our kids, our spouses, dates, our grandkids and we took the journey Disney has always intended us to take. A transformational journey of wonder and fascination.
12 year old Lewis (Voiced by both Daniel Hanson and Jordan Fry) has gone through 124 adoption interviews at Miss Mildred’s (Angela Bassett) 6th Street Orphanage and longs to find his real birth mother.
Although a smart and loving child Lewis has an overpowering quirkiness about him that sends “normal” parents running for the door. Lewis loves to invent things. In the inventing, something usually goes wrong which in turn scares off those who don’t know him well enough to understand him.
Miss Mildred loves him and has cared for him since he was mysteriously dropped at her door as a baby. But, although she shows Lewis love and compassion, she knows he needs a family to nurture him and his need to invent. She soothes him with kindness and the wisdom that, although he was left in her care, it may not have been because he wasn’t wanted, but because the young mother wasn’t able to care for him and loved him enough to leave him with those who could. (Note here that you may need to explain to your kids what adoption is and why many young mothers may choose to do this. God has commanded us to care for the “orphaned.”)
So Lewis, on the dubious hope that perhaps his Mom is out there wanting to know who he is too, invents a time traveling device he calls the Memory Scanner to reach back into his past memories and visualize his birth Mom once again, which he tries out at the Invento Science Fair.
As usual, pandemonium breaks out, but not all because of Lewis. There are two forces at work behind the scenes in the form of time travelers who have come to contact Lewis, both for two polar opposite reasons!
Wilbur Robinson (Wesley Singerman) is a mysterious stranger not much older than Lewis, who has come to whisk Lewis away to his future. It seems that Lewis is the secret ingredient the future needs in order to save it!
Then there is the villainous Bowler Hat Guy (Director, Steve Anderson) and his mesmerizing evil “hat,” Doris, who need Lewis’s Memory Scanner invention to re arrange the future into their own selfish will—and the plot does inevitably thicken!
In an attempt to escape from Bowler Hat Guy, Wilbur and Lewis go into Lewis’ future, which is Wilbur’s present, in a time traveling vehicle invented by Wilbur’s Dad, Cornelius Robinson (Tom Selleck). Lewis sees the future as we all would want it to be. Who wouldn’t want to float around in bubbles flying through the air or wear propeller hats or have a family robot, Carl (Harland Williams), who can do all kinds of cool things, including serve dinner?
Lewis is then surrounded by a group of people far more eccentric than he ever imagined himself to be. Yet, he somehow feels drawn to them as there is a quirkiness about them that he definitely relates to. Wilbur’s family is one like no other—a family of mad cap inventors and dreamers who consider having a family robot, singing frogs, an octopus for a doorman, and a dog who wears glasses as completely normal.
The Robinsons believe that if you have a dream, you should go for it no matter how outlandish it may seem. That failure is needed for it leads to success in the future. So, to make those dreams come true, if you feel the need to wear your clothes backwards or invent a thing-a-ma-jig that squirts peanut butter and jelly then go for it!
But, Lewis’ fantastic journey into the world of tomorrow where he meets Wilbur’s family, The Robinsons, is nearly derailed at every turn, from a time traveling Dinosaur brought up from the past to an alternate evil future filled with selfishness, greed and grime by the dastardly Bowler Hat Guy and his spider-like hat sidekick, the evil Doris.
Although the pluses far out weigh the minus points, here are some things which might need attention: One character does have a black eye and refers to being beat up. The scenes which are few but may be dark and scary to some small children occur in the alternate future that Bowler Hat Guy unknowingly concocts. There is some schoolyard language such as when a frog who has had too much pond water blurts out “I gotta pee!” and names kids tend to call one another like fruit-head and booger-butt. There is only mild cartoon peril and no drugs or drinking per say except for a reference to being over-caffeinated.
Although shown as a lovable buffoon at times, Bowler Hat Guy is the pitiful example of a person drawn into evil while in innocence. He develops a twisted view of life and tries to pass it on to everybody. The film is to be commended because it portrays him as more manipulated than truly sinister. We are not meant to take him seriously when he advises Michael “Goob” Yagoobian (voice of Matthew Josten), Lewis’ best friend to “…don’t let it go. Let it [ your hate ] fester and you will be capable of wonderfully horrid things!” A totally stupid response to the more up beat, and obviously true, advise from Cornelius Robinson to “…don’t give up! Keep moving forward!” Even the younger viewer will know which character to believe.
This is pure Disney from start to finish and, as in most all Disney animated features from the past, “Meet The Robinsons” contains a slew of positive messages. Many of which can be related to the teachings of the Bible and to what Jesus instructs all His “little children.” These and many more are: Make the right choices in life and you will not only make your life happy and fulfilling, but the lives of those you touch. Don’t give up your integrity to evil. Treat others as you yourself would want to be treated. Follow your dreams and help others find theirs also. There is no better gift than a friend and to give yourself for their happiness is a most faithful form of love. Family is the basic building block to all life, if not only to true love and comfort in times of need. To clothe and feed the helpless and abandoned is a wonderful, Christ like form of love. Laughter is from The Divine!
For “kids” of all ages, especially 7 years and up, “Meet The Robinsons” is Disney-style family friendly.
“Meet The Robinsons” is based on the book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce (whose other works include “Robots”). Steven Anderson explains on the inventive in its own right Web site that the theme truly hit home for him as he was himself adopted as an infant.
On the technical front, “Disney is launching its new digital 3-D format with this film, available today on more than 600 screens debuting “Meet the Robinsons” in theaters across the country. Unlike previous 3-D experiences, this new technique (requiring special glasses) is more naturalistic and really grabs you as you are pulled in—literally!—to the story of young Lewis” (Bill Zwecker of the Sun-Times). “Meet The Robinsons” is the first film in new Disney Digital 3D, a completely new state-of-the-art CG animation that not only enhances the movie going experience, but gives the audience a glimpse into the future of digital entertainment.
I suggest you watch Disney’s classic “Alice In Wonderland” to get a true feel for the mad cap adventures Lewis takes. Fasten your seatbelts and be prepared to take a ride on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” …once again!
If you want to have way too much fun and enjoy some side splitting laughter, high speed hilarity and heart then “Meet The Robinsons” is your time traveling vehicle!
Violence: None / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None