Directed by: Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha
Premise: Rodney Copperbottom (voice of Ewan McGregor) moves from his home to the metropolis of Robot City in order to pursue his dream of being an inventor for Mr. Bigweld (voice of Mel Brooks).
What Works: The film features some great animation, similar to The Incredibles, but it has a harder, more textured look. The backgrounds are alive with lots of detail and the world of Robots is much fuller and more interesting than many other animated films. The story deals with strong themes as Rodney leads a revolution against the corporate powers that seek to enslave the lower class of robots.
What Doesn’t: The story is still very formulaic and predictable. The characters change unexpectedly throughout the film without an apparent motivation. Robots joins Shrek 2 and Shark Tale in giving the intertextual horse its final postmortem beating. Referencing other films and pop culture footnotes was amusing five years ago but now it comes off as shallow and unoriginal. This kind of humor is especially hurtful to this film because it is apparent that the filmmakers use it as a crutch when they cannot come up with anything on their own.
Bottom Line: Robots will entertain children. Adults may find some entertainment in the film, but the plot and humor are so tired that the entire picture is almost passé.
Episode: #43 (March 13, 2005)