A Reel View: Robots
A Reel View
The trend in animation lately is to make full-length films that both children and adults will enjoy equally. The children love them because they are goofy. The adults love them because they are hilariously smart. The newest DVD release to provide such entertainment is "Robots," a film that is nearly impossible to take your eyes away from.
Everybody has dreams of being successful in one way or another. Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) is no exception. The son of a dishwasher (literally), Rodney displays a talent for inventing. His dream is to leave his small home in Rivet Town and head for the massive Robot City, where he wants to show his inventions to big-shot robot Big Weld (Mel Brooks), the "greatest robot who ever lived." Big Weld's television commercials promise that all inventions will be carefully examined by Big Weld himself.
Rodney's father (Stanley Tucci) sees his son's potential. He buys Rodney a ticket to Robot City, telling him that he has to follow his dreams. Immediately entering the city, Rodney meets Fender (Robin Williams), a hyper robot that is not much different from Robin Williams's real life persona. Fender introduces Rodney to the city's transportation system, which looks like an Erector set gone haywire.
After outsmarting an irritating guard (Paul Giamatti), Rodney manages to sneak into Big Weld's company. Proudly carrying one of his inventions, Rodney discovers that the company has been taken over by the evil Phineas T. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) and that Big Weld has disappeared. Ratchet has new plans for the company: they will stop producing spare robot parts, forcing the robots to purchase more expensive upgrades. Those robots that cannot pay will be reduced to scrap metal for his mother (Jim Broadbent, in what is probably the most entertaining male voiceover for a female role in recent memory).
Rodney is kicked out of the building and, once again, meets up with Fender, who is accompanied by his friends Crank (Drew Carey) and Lug (Harland Williams), as well as his little sister Piper (Amanda Bynes), who develops a crush on Rodney almost immediately. Fender offers to let Rodney stay with them at his Aunt Fanny's (Jennifer Coolidge) house, a name that fits her quite well. Soon, the robots of the city begin to feel the effects of Ratchet's plan. Rodney knows that it is up to him to stop Ratchet in any way that he can, even if it means turning the city upside down to find out what happened to Big Weld.
First of all, "Robots" is an incredible movie to look at. Each robot is given a unique look, even down to their nuts and bolts. The world they are surrounded by is even more intricate. It makes the viewer wonder exactly how long the creators spent working on the details of each frame. The voiceover work is also greatly entertaining, especially that of Robin Williams and Amanda Bynes as brother and sister Fender and Piper.
"Ice Age" creator Chris Wedge has made "Robots" a film that both children and adults will love. Children will be amused by the wild characters while the adults will appreciate the numerous references to "The Wizard of Oz" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." Watch for this film when next year's Academy Awards releases their nominees for Best Animated Feature.
"Robots" is now available on video and DVD.
James M. Gullard is a film student at Towson University. Email him your movie thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org