While the advertising for 'Robots' promotes the a-list voice talent line up as the reason to go see 'Robots', it's the classic adventure tone that holds these digitally animated nuts and bolts together. 'Robots' mixes bright kinetic fun in an imaginative robotic universe that features the kind of cheeky heroics that the original Star Wars or Toy Story movies shared. The 'we're all in this together' spirit of things that can keep hopes alive and help people persevere as they face the impossible ahead. Sure the outcome is sappy and predictable but the 3D rendered roller coaster that gets you there is a terrific ride.
'Robots' is about Rodney, Ewan Macgregor's character, who is a young upstart inventor that travels to the city to pitch his idea to his lifelong hero. Along the way he meets 'Robots' inspired by vintage toasters and vacuum cleaners who are brought to life by an army of computer animators and the amazing line up of cinematic all-stars such as Robin Williams, Halle Barry, Mel Brooks, Paul Giamitti, Amanda Bynes, Jay Leno, Greg Kinnear and more.
The hard working folks at Blue Sky raise the bar on themselves, as 'Robots' ups the visual richness a few notches from their previous animated feature Ice Age. The art design embraces what computer animation does best, and the smart lines of the 'Robots' production design loans itself to being wonderfully rendered in 3D.
Blue Sky's studios quick sense of humor has sharpened as well. Self-aware pop culture leaks-in at crowd-pleasing moments to poke just enough fun at itself to keep it from being too indulgent. The quick cutaways to MTV-ish dance numbers as seen through the robot world filter breaks up the action and keeps audiences smiling.
'Robots' is the first easy pick for next years Oscars and sets a high standard to beat in the Best Animated feature category. And not to forget their first academy award-winning short, 'Bunny', 'Robots' features an industrial scrap metal scene with a soundtrack pounded out by Tom Waits to boot. Kudos to Blue Sky for creating a tale with the same care and craft as their influences.
Checking my local listing to catch the IMAX edition of 'Robots' specially rendered to be shown on the biggest screen in town, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2005 - Purple - Air Date: 3/16/05
USA - 2005