|Robots - Movie Review
From the makers of the incredible Ice Age movie comes Robots, an animated feature film for families. Rodney Copperbottom is a young aspiring inventor, "born" into a loving robot family in a small town named Rivet Town.
The movie opens with his excited Dad, who is anticipating the delivery of his baby
except this delivery is not quite the same as a human one. Rodney arrives in a box, ready to assemble, since "making the baby's the fun part". Each year, new parts arrive, such as training wheels and "big boy" parts, and Rodney accepts that they are hand-me-down parts, as his father is an underpaid dishwasher.
One day, Rodney sits on his father's lap and watches the Big Weld Show. Big Weld is a caring man who dares to dream, and is the head of Big Weld Industries, where inventors come from far and wide to show Big Weld their new inventions. Big Weld tells viewers that when they "see a need, fill the need!" and Rodney takes it all to heart.
By the time the robot is a young adult, he has created a lovingly-made invention, named Wonderbot. Although Wonderbot does what Rodney wants the tiny robot to do, he is a little nervous. After a flub at the Greasy Spoon where his father works, Rodney is determined to head off to Robot City to show Big Weld his invention so that he could help his father. Coming from a small town to the busy, bustling city is an experience in and of itself, but even when Rodney faces the fact that Big Weld Industries has been taken over by a vain corporate tyrant, T. Ratchet, he doesn't give up. Even when he discovers that his idol has given up, Rodney doesn't stop believing in himself. Where parts once were the answer to robots' physical complaints, the new head of Big Weld Industries plans to replace with expensive upgrades. During Rodney's adventures, he befriends Fender (voiced by Robin Williams), Cappy (Halle Berry), and more robots with character.
The humor is often subtle and some of it appeals directly to adults. For example, a robot bum in the city wears a sign that reads "Got Screwed"; a dreaded Sweeper machine that scoops up parts bears the sign, "How Am I Driving?"; Fender tells Rodney, "You can bunk with me - we'll ignore the gossip". Kids got quite a few chuckles out of the movie as well. The message is a powerful one - as Rodney's father tells his son, "A dream you don't fight for can haunt you the rest of your life."
Themes & Language: Some suggestive jokes aimed at parents are present, and most kids won't "get" them. Kids, of course, noticed the cross-dressing humor (and found it hilarious).
Character Development: The characters are smart and interesting, but none of them stand out as exceptionally endearing. This is the area where the movie is lacking somewhat - the film doesn't tug at the emotions enough to be as memorable as many other movies in the genre, but some parents will appreciate this fact.
Messages: We're fond of the messages in Robots (following a dream, determination, family values, consumerism and the social consequences). Big Weld Industries' original motto, when the caring Big Weld was the head, was "You can shine no matter what you're made of", and was replaced with "Why be you when you can be new?" - something that might spark a family discussion.