Meet the Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 47th animated film produced by the studio, it is loosely based on the 1990 children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce.

Meet the Robinsons
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Anderson
Screenplay by
  • Jon Bernstein
  • Michelle Spritz
  • Don Hall
  • Nathan Greno
  • Aurion Redson
  • Joe Mateo
  • Stephen Anderson
Based onA Day with Wilbur Robinson
by William Joyce
Produced byDorothy McKim
Starring
Edited byEllen Keneshea
Music byDanny Elfman
Production
companies
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • March 23, 2007 (2007-03-23) (US)
  • March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30) (UK)
Running time
94 minutes[1][2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150 million[3]
Box office$169.3 million[4]

Directed by Stephen Anderson, the film's voice cast includes Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Nicole Sullivan, Adam West, Ethan Sandler, Tom Kenny, and Anderson. Meet the Robinsons was released in standard and Disney Digital 3-D versions on March 23, 2007 in the United States and March 30, 2007 in the United Kingdom.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On an estimated budget of $150 million, it acquired $169.3 million at the box office.

Plot

Lewis is an aspiring 12-year-old inventor who grew up in an orphanage, whose energy and eccentricity has been scaring off potential parents. He works all night on a machine to scan his memory to locate his birth mother, who abandoned him at the orphanage when he was a baby. While taking the scanner to his school's science fair, Lewis meets 13-year-old Wilbur Robinson, a mysterious boy claiming to be a time cop from the future. Wilbur needs to recover a time machine that a man wearing a bowler hat has stolen. Lewis tries to demonstrate the scanner, but it has been sabotaged by the Bowler Hat Guy and falls apart, throwing the science fair into chaos. Lewis leaves while the Bowler Hat Guy, with the help of a robotic bowler hat named Doris, repairs and steals the scanner.

Wilbur meets Lewis at the orphanage and asks him to repair the scanner. Lewis agrees to do so only if Wilbur can prove he is telling the truth, which Wilbur does by taking them in a second time machine to the year 2037, which is extremely advanced technologically. When they arrive, Lewis realizes he can simply use the time machine to meet his mother; the resulting argument makes them crash. Wilbur asks Lewis to fix the time machine, and Lewis agrees on the condition that Wilbur has to take him to visit his mother afterwards. Reluctantly, Wilbur agrees and hides Lewis in the garage. Lewis accidentally leaves, however, and ends up meeting the rest of the Robinson family except for Cornelius, Wilbur's father and the main creator of most of the time's inventions, who is away on a business trip. Having followed Lewis, the Bowler Hat Guy and Doris try to kidnap him, but the Robinsons beat them back. The Robinsons offer to adopt Lewis, but change their mind when they learn that he is from the past. Wilbur admits to lying to Lewis about taking him back to see his mom, causing Lewis to run off in disgust.

The Bowler Hat Guy and Doris approach Lewis and offer to take him to his mother if he fixes the memory scanner. Upon doing so, however, they take Lewis hostage. The Bowler Hat Guy reveals that Cornelius Robinson is, in fact, Lewis' future self, and that he himself is a grown-up version of Lewis' roommate, Michael "Goob" Yagoobian. Because he was kept awake by Lewis' work on the scanner, Goob fell asleep during an important Little League game and failed to make an important catch that cost the game. Goob became so bitter as a result that he was never adopted and remained in the orphanage long after it closed. Doris is "DOR-15", one of Lewis' failed and abandoned inventions. They both blamed Lewis for their misfortunes and decided to ruin his life by stealing the memory scanner and having Goob claim credit for it, who will then have Doris be mass-produced. Leaving Lewis behind, they take off with the scanner. However, it is revealed that Doris tricked everyone, and that by changing the past, Goob has allowed the mass-produced Doris hats to enslave humanity and render the future post-apocalyptic. Lewis repairs the second time machine, confronts Doris in the past and destroys her by promising to never invent her, restoring the future to its Utopian self. After persuasion from Lewis, Wilbur tries to ask the adult Goob to join the family, but he runs away, apparently ashamed by what he has done.

Back in Wilbur's time, Lewis finally meets Cornelius face to face. Cornelius explains how the memory scanner started their successful career, and persuades Lewis to return to the science fair. Wilbur takes Lewis back, but makes one stop first: as he promised, he takes Lewis back to the moment when his mother abandoned him. Though Lewis approaches his mother, he ultimately decides not to interact with her, realizing the family he will come to have with Wilbur and others.

Wilbur drops Lewis off in his own time and leaves. Lewis heads to the fair, but en route wakes up Goob just in time for him to make the winning catch, thereby preventing his villainous ways. Back at the fair, Lewis asks for one more chance to demonstrate his scanner, which this time succeeds. He is adopted by Lucille, one of the science fair judges, and her husband Bud, who nicknames him "Cornelius" and takes him home.

The film ends with a quote which reiterates the message of not dwelling on failures and "keep moving forward", attributed to Walt Disney.

Cast

  • Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen as Lewis
  • Wesley Singerman as Wilbur Robinson
  • Stephen Anderson as Bowler Hat Guy
    • Matthew Josten as Michael "Goob" Yagoobian, Bowler Hat Guy's younger self
    • Anderson also provided the voices of Grandpa Bud and Cousin Tallulah
  • Harland Williams as Carl
  • Nicole Sullivan as Franny Robinson
    • Jessie Flower as young Franny
  • Angela Bassett as Mildred
  • Adam West as Uncle Art
  • Laurie Metcalf as Lucille Krunklehorn
  • Ethan Sandler as:
    • DOR-15 (Doris)
    • Uncle Fritz
    • Aunt Petunia
    • Uncle Spike and Uncle Dimitri
    • Cousin Laszlo
    • CEO of InventCo
  • Don Hall as Uncle Gaston
    • Hall also provided the voice of the Gym Coach
  • Tom Kenny as Mr. Willerstein
  • Kelly Hoover as Aunt Billie
  • Tracey Miller-Zarneke as Lizzy
  • Joe Mateo as Tiny the T-Rex
  • Aurian Redson as Frankie the Frog
    • Jamie Cullum as the singing voice of Frankie the Frog
  • Paul Butcher as Stanley
  • Dara McGarry as InventCo Receptionist, Mrs. Harrington
  • John H. H. Ford as Mr. Harrington
  • Nathan Greno as Lefty

Note: The character of Lewis was voiced by both Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry. Daniel Hansen voiced Lewis at the beginning of the film's production, and when the studio needed Lewis' lines changed, they had Jordan Fry re-dub many segments.[5][6][7]

Production

Director Stephen Anderson at the film's premiere

Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, production began in June 2004, and was scheduled for a 2006 release.[8][9] During the film's production, Walt Disney Animation Studios' storyboard artist Stephen Anderson decided to direct the film due to his personal connection to Lewis, since they both grew up adopted.[10][11]

The studio planned to adapt Joyce's style to the film, but due to his involvement stylistically in Blue Sky Studios' Robots, the style was slightly reworked. While still taking cues from his retro style, influenced by everything from Technicolor movies to '40s architectural design, the crew also took inspiration from the company Apple.[10] Unlike their previous film Chicken Little, a film starring CG animals, the animation crew had the challenge to animated CG humans. They took inspiration from Pixar's The Incredibles when animating the characters. They also took inspiration from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and from Warner Brothers cartoons to capture the 1950s aesthetic.[10]

While the film was in production, The Walt Disney Company announced on January 24, 2006 that it would be acquiring Pixar, and as a result, John Lasseter became the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. When he saw an early screening for the movie, he told Anderson that he did not find the villain scary or threatening enough, and suggested that he make some changes. Ten months later, almost 60% of the film had been scrapped and redone. The villain had improved and was given a new sidekick, a dinosaur chase had been added, and the ending was changed.[12]

Release

Over 600 REAL D Cinema digital 3D-equipped theaters presented Disney Digital 3-D version of the film.[13] The 3D version was preceded by the 1953 Chip 'n Dale 3D short Working for Peanuts.[14] The final credits of the 3D version were left two-dimensional, except for the names of those who converted the film to 3D.

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray versions were both released on October 23, 2007.[15] Both versions feature 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, plus music videos, the "Family Function 5000" game, deleted scenes, and other bonus features. The DVD's audio commentary contains Anderson's narration, occasionally interrupted by himself as the Bowler Hat Guy. The Blu-ray also includes uncompressed 5.1 audio and a BD-J game, Bowler Hat Barrage!. A 3D Blu-ray was released on November 8, 2011.[16]

As of January 2008, the DVD had sold approximately 4 million copies.[17]

Reception

Critical reception

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.40/10. The site's critics consensus states, "Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth."[18] Metacritic reported the film had a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 27 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[19]

Realmovienews stated that it has "a snappy plot that demands close attention as it whizzes back and forth in the space-time continuum, touching on serious ideas and proposing some rather disturbing alternate realities. And the witty story twists are handled with rare subtlety and intelligence. In the end it may get a little weepy and inspirational. But it's so charming that we don't mind at all".[20] Danny Minton of the Beaumont Journal said that "The Robinsons might not be a family you want to hang out with, but they sure were fun to meet in this imaginative and beautiful 3-D experience".[21] Andrew L. Urban of Australian Urban Cinefile said that "Walt Disney stood for fantasy on screen and this is a loving tribute to his legacy".[22] Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 10th best film of 2007.[23]

Conversely, A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "Meet the Robinsons is surely one of the worst theatrically released animated features issued under the Disney label in quite some time",[24] while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C" and said "This is one bumpy ride".[25]

Box office

The film grossed $25,123,781 on its opening weekend, falling behind Blades of Glory. Over its theatrical run, it grossed $97,822,171 in the United States and Canada and $71,510,863 in other territories, totaling $169,333,034 worldwide.[4]

Music

Meet the Robinsons
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMarch 27, 2007
Length52:46
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerDanny Elfman
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Chicken Little
(2005)
Meet the Robinsons
(2007)
Bolt
(2008)
Singles from Meet the Robinsons
  1. "Kids of the Future"
    Released: February 28, 2007
  2. "Little Wonders"
    Released: March 13, 2007

The soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on March 27, 2007. It includes four original songs written for the film, performed by Rufus Wainwright, Jamie Cullum, and Rob Thomas. Contributors to the album beyond the Danny Elfman score include Rufus Wainwright ("The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"), The All-American Rejects ("The Future Has Arrived"), They Might Be Giants ("There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"), and the Jonas Brothers ("Kids of the Future"). The track "Little Wonders", recorded by Rob Thomas, reached number 5 on the Billboard AC chart and the top 20 in Australia and Canada.

The song "This Much Fun" by Cowboy Mouth, which was featured in the trailer, was not featured in the film or on the soundtrack. The song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was originally from the Disneyland attraction General Electric's Carousel of Progress.

Songs

No.TitlePerformerLength
1."Another Believer"Rufus Wainwright 
2."Where Is Your Heart At?"Jamie Cullum 
3."Give Me the Simple Life"Jamie Cullum 
4."Little Wonders"Rob Thomas 

Video games

Disney's Meet the Robinsons video game is available from Buena Vista Games for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, and PC. The independent England-based company Climax Group developed their own adaption for the Game Boy Advance.

Cancelled sequel

Disneytoon Studios originally planned to make a sequel to the film, tentatively titled Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date.[26] However, when John Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he called off all future sequels Disneytoon originally planned, including sequels to Chicken Little (2005) and The Aristocats (1970), and refocused on spin-off films and original productions.[26]

References

  1. "Meet the Robinsons". Australian Classification. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  2. Simon, Ben (October 24, 2007). "Meet The Robinsons". Animated Views. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  3. "Meet the Robinsons: 60% of the Movie was Redone".
  4. "Meet the Robinsons". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  5. Meet the Robinsons (2007) - IMDb, retrieved August 2, 2020
  6. Meet the Robinsons (2007) - IMDb, retrieved August 2, 2020
  7. Both Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen are listed as voice actors for Lewis on the movie webpages for "Meet the Robinsons" on Disney, Amazon, iTunes, and other official websites.
  8. "Walt Disney Feature Animation Set To Spend 'A Day With Wilbur Robinson' With New Animated Feature Slated For 2006". PR Newswire. January 11, 2004. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  9. Dunkley, Cathy (January 11, 2004). "Mouse re-tooning animation strategy". Variety. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  10. Bill Desowitz (March 30, 2007). "'Meet The Robinsons': Keep Moving Forward at Disney". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  11. Doug Jamieson (May 23, 2020). "THE HOUSE OF MOUSE PROJECT – 'Meet the Robinsons'". The Jam Report. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  12. M. Holson, Laura (March 5, 2007). "John Lasseter: Disney's new boss re-imagines the Magic Kingdom". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  13. Carolyn Giardina (March 7, 2007). "New dimension at Real D". HollywoodReporter.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  14. Peter Sciretta (March 23, 2007). "3D Meet the Robinsons Advertisement, Featurette, and Fun Facts". /Film. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2007.
  15. "Meet The Robinsons (English/French/Spanish DVD)". Archived from the original on July 12, 2007.
  16. McCutcheon, David (August 5, 2011). "Disney's Blu-ray 3D Line-up". IGN. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  17. "Meet the Robinsons - Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  18. "Meet the Robinsons (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  19. "Meet the Robinsons Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  20. "Meet The Robinsons (2007) Movie Review". Real Movie News.
  21. Minton, Danny (March 29, 2007). "Meet the Robinsons - Critic Review". Beaumont Journal. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  22. Louise Keller, Andrew L. Urban. "Meet the Robinsons". Australian Urban Cinefile.
  23. "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  24. A. O. Scott (March 30, 2007). "FILM REVIEW; A Nerdy Orphan Plows Ahead With a Lot of Familiar Novelties". The New York Times.
  25. Lisa Schwarzbaum (March 28, 2007). "Meet the Robinsons (2007)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  26. Hill, Jim (June 20, 2007). "Say "So Long !" to direct-to-video sequels : DisneyToon Studios tunes out Sharon Morrill". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
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