Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 'Aunt Fan’s Tour of Booty'
4-minute CGI short. Discontinued Parts - deleted scenes with optional
commentary by filmmaker Chris Wedge. 2 Interactive Games. Meet
the Bots - Interactive 3-D Character Biographies. The Voices of
Robots - Dubbing Featurettes. Audio Commentary by the Animation
Crew at Blue Sky. Ice Age 2 Teaser. Ice Age 2 Sneak Peek. Robots
Public Service Announcement.
THE spectacular success of Pixar's Toy Story and The
Incredibles has paved the way for some equally impressive
animated films in recent years, as the rest of Hollywood seeks
to catch up.
The Shrek series, especially, has
represented Pixar's biggest challengers so far, but now we have
Robots, the new film from Blue Sky Studios, which is geared to
raise the bar still higher.
Directed by Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha, the team behind
Ice Age, the film is a consistently inventive, visually breathtaking
joyride of an experience that is of equal appeal to adults and
Boasting a multi-talented vocal cast - including Ewan McGregor,
Robin Williams, Halle Berry and Greg Kinnear - Robots goes all
out to entertain and does so in spades.
The story centres around young genius inventor robot, Rodney
Coperbottom (McGregor), as he travels to Robot City in the hope
of finding fame and fortune by pitching his ideas to chief inventor,
Bigweld (Mel Brooks), who proudly lives by his motto, 'you can
shine no matter what you're made of'!
His hopes are quickly dashed, however, by the discovery that
Bigweld has vanished and that his successor, Ratchet (Kinnear),
has ceased production of robot spare parts and replaced Bigweld's
logo with his own, far more sinister effort, 'why be you when
you can be new'.
Hence, old robots are threatened
with destruction unless they can fork out the spare cash for new
Determined to overcome such a consumer-driven business ethos,
however, Rodney resolves to fight back with the help of his unlikely
entourage, the Rusties, led by the bumbling Fender (Williams)
and the feisty Piper Pinwheeler (Amanda Bynes).
He also enlists the help of a sympathetic executive 'bot, in
the form of Cappy (Berry), with whom he subsequently finds himself
falling in love.
The ensuing adventure finds Rodney and co finding Bigweld and
taking on the might of Ratchet, while inspiring their fellow robots
on to greater things as well.
And it's rip-roaring fun, particularly in the way it seamlessly
blends some weighty issues, such as corporate monopolies and plastic
surgery, with plenty for the kids to enjoy as well.
Hence, while adults laugh along at the numerous double entendres
and movie in-jokes, children will doubtless be enchanted by the
colourful characters and the dizzying set pieces, which never
fail to impress.
An opening gag involving the birth of Rodney sets the standard
for what to expect, while several of the set pieces provide jaw-dropping
highlights, such as Rodney and Fender's arrival in Robot City
and Fender's take on Gene Kelly's classic Singin' In The Rain
dance sequence (or lubricant, as the robot re-christens it).
Indeed, there is so much going on in virtually every scene that
audiences will probably need to see it twice just to catch everything!
Performance-wise, all of the main players provide spirited vocal
turns but the film belongs to Williams, whose zany energy and
ability to ad-lib at any moment looks certain to provide him with
another classic animated character to rival those he created for
Aladdin and FernGully.
The only criticism is that Robots does eventually fall into the
old Hollywood trap of becoming too sentimental.
But that's a small price to pay for a visual extravaganza that
more than matches up to the sum of its impressive parts.