(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)
I've never seen such a wide array of emotional reactions by a movie-going audience than those I saw at a showing of Robots last week. Half of the audience members were asleep and the other half were crying. Welcome to ReelMoms, which are special screenings offered at Loews Theaters for parents (not just moms) and their babies. I was at the 10am Saturday screening with Elliot and his parents to see the new animated film, Robots. It comes from the third, and sometimes (by me) forgotten, studio that produces animated films. The main two studios who are duking it out for cartoon supremacy are: Dreamworks (Chicken Run, Antz, Shrek, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Shrek 2 , Shark Tale) and Pixar (Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles). Robots comes from Fox Animation which also produced Ice Age and Titan AE. Like the babies who were at the show with me, I often fall asleep during these animated features, no matter how good they are. But I did enjoy and stay awake during the recent animated films, The Incredibles and Shrek 2 but I got quite sleepy in Finding Nemo.
But Robots was a pleasant surprise. It tells the story of a family of robots living in a robot world. The father (voice: Stanley Tucci) never achieved his dreams and ended up as a dishwasher. His son, Rodney (Ewan McGregor) has big dreams and heads off to the big robot city to work for the main robot company run by a guy named, Bigweld (Mel Brooks). There, Rodney befriends a local yokel (Robin Williams) and attempts to get to see Bigweld. But Bigweld has been replaced by an evil underling (Greg Kinnear) who is holding Bigweld captive. Many adventures ensue involving an amazing number of robots and other "animated" objects, voiced by an amazing number of celebrities, i.e., Halle Berry, Terry Bradshaw, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey, Jennifer Coolidge, Paul Giamatti, Dan Hedaya, James Earl Jones, Jay Leno, Al Roker, and Diane Wiest.
I wasn't that thrilled with the previous Fox animated films, Ice Age and Titan AE but Robots is clever and amusing. The movie starts off with a funny bit where Rodney's father rushes home too late for his delivery but in time for his assembly, and it takes off from there. The robot city is one big Rube Goldberg contraption and the robots themselves are put together from every piece of junk you can think of. The screenplay is pretty snappy, probably because they brought in the veteran writing duo, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Splash, City Slickers, A League of Their Own, Forget Paris), to do it. And the director, Chris Wedge, keeps Robots moving along at a manic pace. So I didn't fall asleep, but Elliot missed the whole thing.