Robots is an entertaining movie, quite worth taking the kids to see. It is a bit light on plot, but that’s okay. The humor was right up my alley, visual and verbal puns were the main course, cracked me up. For instance, at one point all the Robots do The Robot; expected but hilarious nonetheless. The cast and soundtrack were a bit predictably all-star, I could’ve done with less Robin Williams [I think he’s jumped the shark] and more Tom Waits.
The animation itself wasn’t groundbreaking, but the creativity extant in production design is what makes the film visually interesting. Robot City is a combination Rube Goldberg Machine [which reminded me of this awesome Honda commercial], Cuckoo Clock, and Pinball Game. A lot of wonder in this comes through mathematics. Everything in the city is timed to Swiss precision and it all works smoothly together.
The plot is basic: small-town boy with big-town dreams takes on a megacorp and saves the little guy. Basic themes of individualism and good self-esteem [the decrepit robots must resist wanting to be upgraded] are enforced, and the same lies are told. Rodney Copperbottom, the main character, makes good on his version of the American Dream and becomes the very thing he sought to overthrow. Although we are told that not being top of the line is okay, the other robots still wish for the glamor, and Rodney’s girlfriend ends up being one of the neo-robots instead of one of the retro-ones. So the film says one thing and does another.
I wonder if constant bombardment with this sort of doublespeke fathers a sort of cultural schizophrenia and dissatisfaction among us. We learn to resent power while wanting it for ourselves at a very young age, and then our engagement for life becomes twisted into some sort of ambitious power-struggle. If children weren’t constantly exposed to conflicting messages in a single source I wonder if there would be an increase in satisfaction and contentment with life instead of always striving for improvement.
I doubt it, humans seem built to press on the boundaries, but maybe we’d do it with a better attitude instead of a sense of vengeance. Or maybe I’m reading too deeply into a kid movie.