Disney
Lisa Schwarzbaum
March 30, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Meet the Robinsons

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
runtime
94 minutes
Wide Release Date
03/30/07
performer
Jordan Fry, Daniel Hansen, Angela Bassett, Adam West
director
Stephen J. Anderson
distributor
Walt Disney Pictures
author
Jon Bernstein, Michelle Bochner
genre
Kids and Family, Animation

We gave it a C

There’s a frantic, woo-woo, ding-dong, look-HERE-no-look-THERE! attention-shattering disorder to Meet the Robinsons, a new animated family comedy from Disney’s wobbly CG factory. The head-banging effect suggests a new category of filmmaking endeavor not previously analyzed in serious cinema journals: blind-men-and-elephant art. That’s what happens when seven — seven! — screenwriters grope and stumble their way around an unmanageable story set simultaneously in the past, present, and a Jimmy Neutron future, starring a science-minded orphan kid who travels in a time machine. And in that future, he meets a family as squarely Walton-ish, in their lesson-dispensing way, as they are feverishly wacky.

In jerry-rigging a contraption from recycled parts — The Incredibles, Robots, Star Wars, maybe even old animated Alka-Seltzer commercials — the production team (helmed by Stephen Anderson, making his overmatched feature debut) doesn’t know when to take a breath. So the movie weighs in on child abandonment, adoption, dangerous joyriding, failure as a mark of creativity, childhood embarrassment as a source of a vengeful adulthood, and frogs as good nightclub singers. There’s also an irritating villain called Bowler Hat Guy. Under such circumstances, who knows whether the project is meant to be earnest, ironic, post-ironic, made for adults, made for kids, made to teach lessons, or made to be watched in an altered state? All or none…jeez, this thing is one bumpy ride.

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