I will never be able to escape from the fact that I grew up a Disney kid. No I didn’t watch The Mickey Mouse Club, but my grandmother did have a collection of hundreds of Disney animated movies on VHS. Remember VHS? It was so cool in it’s heyday.
But the world of Disney animation has come along way since the days of watching VHS at grandma’s house. They have gone from killing off Bambi’s mom and making me cry to being forced (for some God awful reason) to make The Jungle Book 2. But despite the recent shortcomings of Disney’s own animation studios they can lay claim to owning Pixar, the company responsible for such animated powerhouses as The Incredibles and Finding Nemo. The man behind Pixar’s success, animation genius John Lasseter. Now Lasseter is the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation, the company that is the remnant of what was once the greatest empire of imagination in the history of film, and he is looking to get Disney’s animation department back on track, Pixar style, and with Meet the Robinsons, they seem to have a great start.
Meet the Robinsons is the story of Lewis, a young braniac who was left on the doorstep of an orphanage as a baby by his mother. After struggling to find a family to adopt him, Lewis decides to invent a machine that will allow him to draw memories of his mother out of his brain so that he can go and find her. But while his machine seems to be the answer to all of his problems, his plans are thwarted by a mysterious Bowler Hat wearing guy from the future who travels back in time to steal Lewis’ machine to try and pawn it off as his own idea. Hot on the trail of the Bowler Hat Guy is Wilbur Robinson, a wannabe detective who also happens to have a time machine. In pursuit of the Bowler Hat Guy, Lewis and Wilbur return to the future where Lewis meets the Robinsons, learns a bit about family and ultimately discovers a lot about himself.
The story is simple enough, but that is not what is really great about this film. This is one of those flicks that, in classic Pixar fashion, was made to look stunning, especially in 3D. The animation is smooth and detailed, creating vast landscapes that were meant for the big screen. I had the privilege of seeing this on in 3D, which was a real treat. It is a movie that would jump out at you in 2D, but it really comes to life when seen as it was meant to be seen.
One surprising thing about this flick is the lack of major celebrity voices. In fact, the most recognizable name in the entire credits is Angela Bassett who voices Mildred, the keeper of Lewis’ orphanage. This is something that is a true throwback to old Disney animated classics and a welcomed deviation from the Pixar model of big name voices. It just goes to show that while the acquisition of Pixar has certainly rubbed off on Disney, there is still some of that old Disney flair for those of us who remember films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. And while Meet the Robinsons may not be the second coming of the great Disney movies that I remember from grandma’s house, it is certainly a step in the right direction.