4.03.2005

Robots

Enter the world of hilarious, animated mechanical beings, voiced by your favorite stars, and directed by the man who gave you “Ice Age” (2002). Playful animation, creative characters, and a loveable plot make “Robots” a must-see family movie this spring. So far, no other children’s film this year compares.

A young robot, Rodney Copperbottom (voiced by Ewan McGregor), created with hand-me-down parts wants to invent a robot that makes life easier. His father slaves away in the kitchen of a diner, washing dishes. More often than not, he’s forced to bring home dishes to wash in the machine attached to his chest. His job is tedious, so Rodney decides to invent something spectacular to help his father with his job.

Rodney invents a Wonder Bot, a wild, spinning device to help clean the dishes, but Wonder Bot gets nervous when encountered by Mr. Copperbottom’s boss and creates a mess everywhere. Rodney is fired from his job waiting tables at the diner, but is determined to have his invention known. He travels to Robot City to meet Mr. Big Weld (voiced by Mel Brookes) who says, “no matter what you’re made of, you can shine”.

When Rodney arrives, Mr. Big Weld’s company has been taken over by Phineas T. Ratchet (voiced by Greg Kinnear). His mother, Madame Gasket, runs a scrap metal yard where “Out Bots” are torn into pieces. Ratchet and his mom are working towards a robot society with no used parts. Their mission objective is to convince robots, “why be you when you can be new”.

Rodney’s friends, Fender (voiced by Robin Williams), Piper Pinwheeler (voiced by Amanda Bynes), and others must save the city from being forced to become scavengers for robot parts. In addition, they must save Mr. Big Weld so his company can open the gates to innovative minds to create robots that help society.

Director Chris Wedge has created a commending world of robots where almost every object is alive and fun. Robot City’s transportation is an amusement park ride that keeps up with the speed and excitement of the film. Gasket’s underground scrap metal yard is a mirror image from “Metropolis” (1927), which accentuates her devious nature. And of course, every robot is unique and provides voltaic excitement.

Most importantly, this film has a fantastic theme: follow your dreams and never give up. The writers do a great job of developing the theme without preaching a message that can come across as an after-school special. The animated characters take on familiar characteristics of the voicing actors; especially Williams’ character, Fender, where the writers have really utilized his ability for silly voices and actions. Unfortunately, Halle Berry’s voice is not very noticeable and really her character could have been voiced by just about anyone. One of the most creative characters is Aunt Fanny who has a large booty. Jennifer Coolidge was the perfect actor to voice Aunt Fanny, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s asked to voice other animated characters in the future.

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