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Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures on March 30, 2007. The 47th Disney animated feature film, it was released in standard and Disney Digital 3-D versions. The film is loosely based on characters from the children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson, by William Joyce. The voice cast includes Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Harland Williams, Tom Kenny, Steve Anderson, Laurie Metcalf, Adam West, Tom Selleck, and Angela Bassett. It was the first film released after then-Pixar executive John Lasseter became chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Plot

Lewis is an aspiring 12-year-old inventor at an orphanage whose inventions have been scaring off potential parents. He works all night on a machine to scan his memory to locate his 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 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 to the year 2037 in a second time machine. When they arrive, he and Wilbur get into an argument and crash. Wilbur asks Lewis to fix the time machine, but Lewis has another condition: Wilbur has to take him to visit his mother afterwards. Reluctantly, Wilbur agrees and hides Lewis in the garage. Lewis does not stay there for long, however, and ends up meeting the rest of the Robinson family except for Cornelius, Wilbur's father, 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.

Lewis then discovers that Cornelius Robinson is, in fact, a future version of himself, and Wilbur is his future son. Lewis also finds out that the Bowler Hat Guy 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 career by stealing the memory scanner and claiming credit for it. Leaving Lewis behind, they take off with the scanner, drastically altering the future to a world where Doris' clones have enslaved humanity. Lewis repairs the second time machine, confronts Doris 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 has disappeared, apparently ashamed at 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.

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. 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.

Voice cast

  • Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry as Lewis
  • Tom Selleck as Cornelius, Lewis' older self
  • Wesley Singerman as Wilbur Robinson
  • Harland Williams as Carl
  • Tom Kenny as Mr. Willerstein
  • Steve 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
  • Angela Bassett as Mildred
  • Laurie Metcalf as Lucille Krunklehorn
  • Adam West as Uncle Art
  • Nicole Sullivan as Franny Robinson
  • Ethan Sandler as:
  • DOR-15 (Doris)
  • Uncle Fritz (and Aunt Petunia)
  • Spike and Dimitri
  • Cousin Laszlo
  • The CEO of InventCo
  • Don Hall as Uncle Gaston
  • Hall also provided the voice of the Gym Coach
  • 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

Production

Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, production began in June 2004, and was scheduled for a 2006 release.[5][6] While the film was in production, Disneyannounced 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 the director Stephen 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.[7]

Release

Over 600 REAL D Cinema digital 3D-equipped theaters presented Disney Digital 3-D version of the film.[8] The 3D version was preceded by the 1953 Chip 'n Dale3D short Working for Peanuts.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

As of January 2008, the DVD had sold approximately 4 million copies.[12]

Reception

Critical reception

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 139 reviews with an average score of 6.3/10. The site's critical consensus states "Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth."[13] Metacriticreported the film had an average score of 61 out of 100, based on 27 reviews.[14]

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".[15]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".[16] 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".[17] Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 10th best film of 2007.[18]

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",[19] while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C" and said "This is one bumpy ride".[20]

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]

Soundtrack

The soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on March 27, 2007. Contributors to the album beyond the Danny Elfman score include the Jonas Brothers, Rufus Wainwright, Rob Thomas, Jamie Cullum, The All-American Rejects, and They Might Be Giants. The track "Little Wonders", recorded by Rob Thomas, reached number 5 on the Billboard AC chart and the top 20 in Australia and Canada.

All music composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Another Believer" Rufus Wainwright 4:39
2. "Little Wonders" Rob Thomas 3:45
3. "The Future Has Arrived" The All-American Rejects 3:05
4. "Where Is Your Heart At?" (written by Rufus Wainwright) Jamie Cullum 2:23
5. "The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)" Rufus Wainwright 2:35
6. "Give Me the Simple Life" Jamie Cullum 2:04
7. "The Prologue"    1:24
8. "To the Future!"    1:16
9. "Meeting the Robinsons"    1:56
10. "The Science Fair"    2:47
11. "Goob's Story"    1:01
12. "A Family United"    1:37
13. "Pop Quiz and the Time Machine Montage"    3:45
14. "The Evil Plan"    4:13
15. "Doris Has Her Day"    4:58
16. "Setting Things Right"    6:00
17. "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" They Might Be Giants 2:00
18. "Kids of the Future" Jonas Brothers 3:18
Total length: 52:46

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.

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