Keep moving forward. That’s the philosophy of the 2007 Walt Disney Animation Studios film “Meet the Robinsons.” In the film, Lewis is a boy, fascinated by science, living in an orphanage who is trying to find his mother. But, when Wilbur comes from the future to stop the Bowler Hat Guy from trying to hurt him, Lewis learns how his actions have affected his friend and what can happen when someone looks forward versus when someone looks back.
This is quite the unusual film from Disney’s Post Renaissance Era of animation. The 2000s were not a great time for Disney’s main animation studio. A lot of the films focused more on developing 3D animation than on plot development. The plot of this film is all over the place. It has its truly funny moments but also has its moments where it doesn’t make any sense.
There’s a lot to enjoy about this film. The Bowler Hat Guy is truly funny with how inept he is. His ideas are always terrible, but, are also almost always funny. When it’s revealed that he’s not really the villain but the sidekick, it makes total sense. This is a guy who takes control of a frog to try to capture Lewis in the future, but when that doesn’t work because the frog’s head is too big, he goes back in time, teleports a tyrannosaurus to the future and then has the same problem. That’s clearly the actions of a sidekick not a main villain.
But, there’s plenty about it that doesn’t really work. The bowler hat is the main villain, but is defeated when Lewis realizes the adult version of himself invented the hat, and he decides he won’t invent it, causing it to be eliminated. Yes, it solves the problem, but it feels like a cop out. Plus, once Lewis gets back to the present he just happens upon his future adopted family who decide that day to adopt him and also meets his future wife. But, because he’s already been to the future, he knows these people will be his family, so that affects his decision making. He doesn’t make the decision of his own volition, but because he knows the outcome. That feels incomplete for me.
This is kind of an average movie. It immediately follows “Home on the Range” and “Chicken Little,” two of the less well received Disney films. But, it precedes the Disney Revival when the Walt Disney Animation Studios found its mojo again. It’s a nice transition from the dreck that preceded it to the wonderful films that followed. It’s solid, but not great. Still, it’s worth watching.
Ranking: 2.5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Meet the Robinsons?”