Friday, May 11, 2007

"Meet the Robinsons" Review (2007)

When Disney announced that it was scrapping its 2d animation studio and betting the farm entirely on 3D I was a little bit dismayed. What were they thinking? The house of Mickey was built with straw brushes, and they were going to huff and puff and blow it right down! I was probably overreacting, because when it comes down to it, there is no reeeeeeal difference between 3D and 2D. Still, they weren't just killing a technology but also the Disney magic behind it, ala the people. Granted, Disney's most recent animated movies have been uninspired to say the least, but there was still a lot of pent up and latent talent in those people that have now been discarded like last weeks onion-skin dailies.

The new studio got busy right away and pushed out their first effort, "Chicken Little", to very little fanfair. The movie was decent but its claim to fame, and the only reason why I enjoyed it as much as I did, was because it was in 3D. Well of course it was a 3D movie, but it also was in 3D complete with the funny glasses and the headache inducing nausea. The headache lasted for the first ten minutes, after which the 3D became almost second nature and was actually quite good. It's no suprise, then, that they used the same 3D gimmick for their next movie, "Meet the Robinsons".

The movie follows the time-challenged adventures of a boy genius by the name of Will Robinson, erm, I mean Lewis Robinson which begs the question: Why is it always a boy genius? And not just any boy genius, an orphan boy genius. Go ahead search for movies about orphans on google. There are plenty of those. And you want boy geniuses? How about: Dexter's Lab, Jimmy Neutron, and even Lost in Space itself obviously. So they took a tentative, evolutionary step forward by combining the popular boy genius genre with the crowded orphan genre, how did they do?

See the dumbfounded look of the spiky-haired kid in the picture above? That was me after seeing the film. Unfortunately, it was more of the same from the house of mouse. While technically quite good, and in stunning 3d, the film was bogged down with a tarry mix of sarcasm, hyperactivity, and cheese. The audience was never given a moment to relax and get to know the characters. It went from one crazy kooky character to the next while no one stopped to reflect on the significance of the story. When the characters don't reflect, then the audience won't either. Which was sad because the plot was not bad at all. It had an interesting, albeit slightly obvious, twist and some genuinely inventive ideas.

Pixar has shown that it is possible to make animated films filled with maturity and zaniness, so that kids and adults can go, see them and everyone can enjoy them to the fullest extent. Maybe I am living in the past. Maybe Disney, itself, is not that company any more. They used to be with the classics like "Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast", but they've lost the magic. I hope the fact that Disney now owns Pixar doesn't dampen Pixar's genius, but instead, raises Disney's game to a whole new level. Nothing like a little competition to give you a kick in the pants.

Speaking of kick in the pants, its time for lunch! Ratatouille comes out in a few weeks which is the next Pixar work of art. See you then!

(2.5 out of 5)
James the CMO

No comments: