Monday, April 23, 2007

Movie Log: Meet the Robinsons

The boys were finally back to health and the streets cleared of floods on Saturday, so we went out to see the movie we'd planned on seeing two weeks ago: Meet the Robinsons.

It's not as good as it could be, but it's much better than the last Disney CGI effort, Chicken Little (which had a few good jokes and a nice look, but otherwise was a mess). It lost a bit of momentum when we saw it, since the picture cut out twice (and, the second time, the sound cut out too and the house lights came on for about five minutes). Come to think of it, I should also mention that we saw it in 3-D, because the boys love that, though I find it distracting and confusing. (I wear glasses, and my eyes are not of equal weakness, so 3-D often doesn't quite work for me. The more "3-D" this movie got, the more it hurt my eyes, which should be taken into account.)

Given all that, I liked Meet the Robinsons quite a bit, and probably would have liked it much better under perfect conditions. It's not a Pixar-level family movie, but, on the other hand, neither was Cars. (Robinsons is better than Cars, though it's close: the obvious message in Robinsons is beaten in with a somewhat larger sledgehammer, but the incidental humor in Robinsons is much more organic...and funny...than that in Cars.)

Speaking of that obvious message...I can't remember the last time the moral of a movie was underlined by actual fireworks. (And I am not kidding. Ouch.) I know that scene was supposed to be over-the-top, and therefore funny, but it was just painful and obvious in its "look at us, we've got a Good Message in this here movie, just like all those Christian talking vegetables do"-ness. If the message had actually been integrated into the movie, rather than sitting on top of it like an egg floating on a sea of breakfast-sausage grease, Robinsons could have been the best animated film since The Incredibles. OK, one other thing -- the Robinson family is very big, and introduced very quickly, and (even with the joke about that afterward) it doesn't quite work.

Even given those two failings, it's a very funny movie (both visually and verbally), with wonderful characters and a gorgeous look. (If William Joyce wanted to storyboard and production-design one animated movie a year, I'd be perfectly happy; his style lends itself very well to modern CGI.)

Let's see, what else? Oh, yes -- it's a time-travel movie, so certain expectations are set up. Anyone at all familiar with time-travel stories will see a certain plot twist coming a good half-an-hour before its revealed, but one does have to grant that this is a movie for kids. And the movie plays fair with the twist, so I'm not complaining about it: just pointing out how smart and savvy I am.

All in all, this is one of the better animated movies of recent years, and I'm looking forward to seeing it again on DVD eventually. (And, if I know my kids, seeing it again and again and again...)

1 comment:

Ray said...

The best thing about the movie was The Man in the Bowler Hat. He stole every scene.

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