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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look: 19.19%
Pretty Bad: 16.16%
Total Crap: 1.01%

8 reviews, 51 user ratings

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by U.J. Lessing

"If it only had a heart…."
3 stars

In the book, The Wizard of Oz, there is a frightening description of how the Tin Woodsman lost his humanity. He possessed a cursed ax that would cut off one of his limbs every time he used it. Each time this occurred, he would replace the limb with a metallic one. After so many accidents, he discovered to his horror that he was all tin, and had no heart. One wonders if the story of the making of Robots is similar: Did the movie slowly lose its heart as the special effects took over, or was there an absence of heart to begin with?

One of the extraordinary elements that separates Robots from other contemporary computer animated features is the meticulousness of the design, which appears to be based on mechanical toys from the pre-plastic age. Even the various modes of transportation the robots use and the towering buildings all have that marvelous chrome feeling to them. There is no rain in this world (imagine the rust), and the sun eternally shines and makes everything sparkle.

The world and its robot inhabitants feel like they were designed and built first, and rendered afterwards. Every robot, building and device that flashes across the scene looks like it could actually be made using some sheet metal, rivets and WD-40. I was less impressed by the obligatory shots of hundreds of things happening at the same time, and more awed by details (the way one robot’s necks worked for example), and how such a mechanical world could feel so real.

If only they had taken another year to create a story worthy of the design! The characters are as flat as aluminum foil, and the story feels recycled and overused. Robot, Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) is an inventor in a small town. He decides to leave his robot mom and dad and head off to the big city to make a name for himself. There he finds out that the city is in the grip of an evil and ruthless robot, Ratchett (Greg Kinnear) who is set on systematically exterminating all the old robots. It’s up to Rodney and his best friend, Fender (Robin Williams) to save the day. Oh, yeah, and there’s a love interest (Halle Berry) who starts out as a cold robot executive and ends up helping Rodney.

When Chris Wedge cast his first film, Ice Age, he did a beautiful job because the actors fit the characters perfectly. Actors like Dennis Leary and Ray Romano really fleshed out their parts. With Robots, the actors were cast for their star power alone, and the result is boring characters. Ewan McGregor and Halle Berry give flat readings of their parts, and Robin Williams does his entertaining ‘manic guy’ shtick without even considering how a robot would think or talk. Only Mel Brooks seems to inhabit his character as the inventor and head honcho, Bigweld.

Despite its amazing attention to design and detail (Even the aging effects on the robots looks fantastic) Robots is all sparkle with little substance. You never really grow to love (or even like) any of the characters.

The jokes may come from all directions and Robots may be one of the most beautiful computer animated films ever made, but without sound characters and an original story, it’ll go through you like a Diet Coke/Cranberry Juice cocktail.

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originally posted: 03/12/05 09:58:43
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User Comments

4/06/12 SEAN DUTRA weak form the company unenjoyable 2 stars
2/28/12 Sariah It is really cute at the beginning and is visually pleasing but it lacks story 3 stars
1/01/09 Sully my 7 yr old loved it....I almost fell asleep.... 4 stars
6/26/08 Mario Good movie, but its nothing special. 4 stars
10/05/07 Jodi We love it. Not sure what people expect from a childs movie. It was funny & Visual! 5 stars
7/02/06 George Great looking movie with nothing inside 3 stars
5/06/06 dionwr Visually wonderful with forgettable story 3 stars
5/02/06 Ryan_A Meh. Visually stunning, but soulless. 3 stars
5/02/06 David Cornelius see above review 3 stars
5/02/06 HBS-SH connelly's cans 3 stars
4/22/06 Jack Very Dissapointing 3 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer Another discharge from the Dreamworks CGI playbook 1 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth People seem to pre-judge this on the fact its not pixar, but this was actually pretty good 4 stars
12/24/05 Michele cute and funny 4 stars
10/16/05 Quigley the story is undeveloped, but williams was awesome and the movie visually stunning 3 stars
9/29/05 tatum Nice visuals, dry story 3 stars
9/27/05 rafi Great ! 5 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes Robin Willams saves this predictable screenplay 3 stars
9/08/05 Tom Burns A very imaginative and enjoyable film. Robin Williams was great. 4 stars
8/30/05 ES Better than Valiant but ultimately its no Shrek 3 stars
8/08/05 Del Not bad. 3 stars
7/03/05 Jay Norris Fabulously Family Fun! 5 stars
6/30/05 John Ay Enjoyable for adults and children. Robin Williams was a riot as always. 5 stars
6/11/05 Lucy Screw you this was hilarious. Everyone nailed it. Especially Mrs. Trumbly as Big Weld! 5 stars
5/03/05 Gary Good effects but ultimately not satisfying 4 stars
5/01/05 Alyson Loved the movie and feelings between the characters. Ewan made me love RodneyC. 5 stars
4/25/05 Quigley lacked heart and tons of laughs, but there were its moments. Robin Williams was awesome! 3 stars
4/17/05 iteachpc Very good movie; we enjoyed it! 4 stars
4/07/05 drfardook Its a corporate children's movie. Smoke a joint if you're over 11 and its ok. 3 stars
4/04/05 Smitty Saw it at IMAX - the plot is boring but the movie is visually stunning 4 stars
4/03/05 M if it wasnt for robin this would of been straight to video! 3 stars
4/02/05 irene diaz Not funny, my kid got bored and I did too 2 stars
3/26/05 Greg Ursic Oh Robin, where is the wit? A blah movie at best with little for adults or kids. 2 stars
3/25/05 Chance Had the potential to be really good 3 stars
3/25/05 malcontent clunkier than nemo, more eye-popping than monsters inc. 3 stars
3/25/05 KingNeutron Going to be a classic; but Brooks wasn't convincing. RWilliams was awesome as usual, tho. 5 stars
3/24/05 monnilove cute interesting , not a must see again though 4 stars
3/22/05 Kevin Rose Good kids movie. 3 stars
3/21/05 Elizabeth S Found it a bit boring -- characters aren't very engaging. 3 stars
3/19/05 Mark McLeod It's alright in IMAX but still not as good as a Pixar movie 3 stars
3/19/05 PAMELA HANSEN you have to be a kid at heart to like this movie laughed all night long i loved it 5 stars
3/18/05 felicia very humorous movie 4 stars
3/18/05 Tyrantis Would have been better if it had less characters and more character development. 3 stars
3/17/05 mott the drupal fun Fun FUN 5 stars
3/16/05 Andrea Really cute! Funny, too - altho lots of "bathroom" humor for the 12 year old set. 4 stars
3/15/05 Kenneth Silver Movie where animation wins over plot, could use a heart 3 stars
3/14/05 Jeff Anderson Visually eye-catching & sometimes funny, but a mean cruel edge & a weak script KILL IT!!!!! 2 stars
3/13/05 Ryan Nearly Nemo, slow starter... 3 stars
3/13/05 Melina Visually stunning, cute and funny 4 stars
3/12/05 brody not the greatest but good for kids, kind of silly 3 stars
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  11-Mar-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 27-Sep-2005



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