“More Than Robots” is a brand new documentary that follows four teams of teenagers from around the world as they prepare for the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition, which has teamed up with Lucasfilm as part of the “Star Wars: Force for Change” program.

In this documentary, we get to know teams from Los Angeles, Mexico City and Chiba, Japan, who are all working towards the goal of taking their unique designs all the way to the highly competitive global championships. However, they are faced with overcoming challenges along the way, such as having limited resources within their community.

I’ve always had an interest in robots, but when I was growing up, it just wasn’t something we had access to,  The technology just wasn’t accessible, but when the BBC version of “Robot Wars” came along in the late 90s, it was great to see robots smashing each other apart.  And in all honesty, I haven’t given robots much thought since.  The robotic world introduced in this documentary is very inspiring and amazing to see an entirely different way of competing.

The kids involved are thinking on a different level, and it’s awe-inspiring to see how they come up with the ideas.  I know if they had these clubs at school or college when I was younger, I could easily see myself involved, though I’m sure I’d be out of my league as these kids are operating on a different level.

As a fan of “Robot Wars”, I would have loved to have seen more footage of the robots in action, as the film focuses more on the kids than the actual robots.  But it was very much focused on the kids taking part.

While there is a Star Wars theme to the competition, with Mark Hamill outlining the task for the teams, for 99% of the film, you wouldn’t have thought it was connected to Star Wars, which I would have liked a little more.

One of the biggest issues about this documentary, is much like with everything. It was seriously derailed by the pandemic, since once all the qualifying rounds were complete, COVID hit, and all future events were called off.  From here, the presentation style changes, since they have to shift over to Zoom interviews, because they can no longer get together in the usual fashion.

The good thing, is during the lockdowns, the team members were still able to get together in small numbers to adapt their robots to try to deal with the pandemic, such as building robots to transport supplies to people or mass producing face shields for their community.  It’s a shame that the entire documentary kind of loses steam when the pandemic hits, which is what we’ve all had to go through over the past two years. But it’s great to see how the kids shifted their focus, as they realise the competition isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

If you enjoyed “Science Fair” or “Own The Room” documentaries, this has a similar vibe, which showcases an entirely different world of competition for those who are more academic than athletic.   But if you’re expecting “Robot Wars” or something a bit more exciting, this isn’t for you.

It’s a shame the documentary was never able to complete its initial objective. However, it still delivers a nice easy going documentary about robot competitions, but the documentary never seems to get out of first gear.   While the kids are all very nice and pleasant, there wasn’t anything that made me want them to win or continue in the contest.  It’s great if they did, but with so many kids taking part in these competitions, all of them were putting in the effort, but I wasn’t invested in them.

Overall, “More Than Robots” is a nice feel-good documentary about some talented kids, who love technology and trying to solve a problem.  They try their best to create some impressive robots, but ultimately as we all found out, things like competitions aren’t really that important during a pandemic.

Rating – 3 out of 5

“More Than Robots” is coming to Disney+ on Friday 18th March 2022.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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