DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Stephen J. Anderson
Angela Bassett, Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Matthew Josten, John H. H. Ford, Dara McGarry, Tom Kenny, Laurie Metcalf
Writing Credits:
Michelle Bochner, Stephen J. Anderson, Robert L. Baird (story), Jon Bernstein, Daniel Gerson (story), Nathan Greno, Don Hall, William Joyce (book), Shirley Pierce (additional material), Aurian Redson

If you think your family's different, wait 'til you meet the family of the future.

Have the "time" of your life with Disney's fun-filled comedy Meet the Robinsons, a thrilling adventure that takes you to a whole new world full of imagination and surprises. It's "a masterpiece," raves John Anderson of Newsday. Join a brilliant young inventor named Lewis as he sets off on a time-traveling journey to find the family he never knew. In the fantastical world of 2037, hip-hoppin' frogs and dogs that wear glasses are as common as talking dinosaurs. In an amazing twist, Lewis discovers that the fate of the future rests in his hands, but he can't save it alone - he'll need every bit of help he can get from the wonderfully wacky Robinson family, who help him learn to keep moving forward and never stop believing in himself. Blast off with Meet the Robinsons - complete with never-before-seen bonus features, including an all-new game, deleted scenes and much more. It's an exciting trip your whole family will enjoy!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$25.123 million on 3413 screens.
Domestic Gross
$97.821 million.

Rated G

Widescreen 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 10/23/2007

• Audio Commentary with Director Stephen Anderson
• Isolated 5.1 Effects Track
• Three Deleted Scenes
• “Family Function 5000: Family Tree Game”
• Two Music Videos
• “Inventing the Robinsons” Featurette
• “Keep Moving Forward: Inventions That Shaped the World” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


Meet The Robinsons (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 11, 2007)

When 2007’s Meet the Robinsons hit movie screens, I felt really happy. Was this because I looked forward to the flick? No, not especially – while I like Disney animation, this effort didn’t entice me in a substantial way. However, Disney placed previews for Robinsons on jillions of their DVDs for months and months before the movie’s release. I was glad to finally see it in theaters just because I was so sick of those previews!

Robinsons introduces us to Lewis (voiced by Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry), a 12-year-old aspiring inventor who dreams of adoption. However, his quirky ways always scotch the deal. Lewis becomes convinced his mom gave him up for reasons beyond her control, so he decides to use his genius to find her and reunite the family.

So he can recall the identity of his mom, Lewis comes up with a memory retrieval device and takes it show at the local science fair. There he encounters a weird kid named Wilbur Robinson (Wesley Singerman) who claims to be part of the Time Continuum Task Force. Wilbur tells Lewis to beware a creepy guy in a bowler hat (Stephen John Anderson) who stole a time machine.

That baddie sabotages Lewis’ device and makes off with it. In the meantime, Wilbur convinces Lewis to fix the gadget. As part of a complex plan to make things right, Wilbur takes Lewis to the future. Oodles of complications ensue as they try to correct past wrongs and deal with the threat of the Bowler Hat Guy.

When I saw Robinsons on the big screen, I thought it came across as a slow-starter. The movie’s first act dragged and didn’t seem particularly involving. The flatness of the initial half-hour or so dragged so much that it became more difficult to dig into the later events.

On second viewing, I think the first act seems more satisfying. Perhaps because I better know where the story will go, I can more fully tolerate the seemingly pedestrian nature of the opening segments. Or perhaps they were fine all along but I was simply impatient on that particular day.

Whatever the case may be, even if we accept the first act as a little plodding, the rest of the movie more than compensates for it. Once Lewis heads to the future, Robinsons takes flight. The key to the movie’s success comes from the Robinsons themselves, a charming clan. This is where the film easily could’ve fallen apart, as I feared the characters would become self-consciously wacky. That usually happens when we find stories with broad groups of unusual personalities; they often appear nutty for nutty’s sake and irritate more than they entertain.

Against the odds, that doesn’t occur here. From top to bottom, the Robinsons are a blast, perhaps partially because the film doesn’t dwell on their strangeness. We get quick hits of weirdness but the movie doesn’t linger. It zips from one character to another with such rapidity that we’re never allowed to get annoyed at them.

It also helps that the movie is so creative and inventive. Sure, you’ll see elements of other flicks here - Back to the Future 2 was an obvious inspiration – but the filmmakers allow the tale to become its own entity. We also get some of the usual Disney moralizing, but the movie integrates its themes smoothly enough to prevent them from becoming grating.

None of the minor negatives really matter because Robinsons is such a fun ride. It never feels hyperactive, but it manages to throw lots at us and keep the action moving at a brisk pace. This amounts to a good mix of action, comedy and emotion.

I very much appreciate the fact the filmmakers avoid the current trend to hire lots of big stars for the voices. The famous performers do well much of the time, but they also can become a distraction, as we often play a game of “guess the star” as we watch animated movies. Robinsons doesn’t use unknowns for all its roles, but it definitely casts based on performance attributes and not marquee power. When Angela Bassett is the biggest star in your movie, you clearly aren’t concerned about putting big names on the poster.

And that’s a good thing. Again, I don’t want to convey the impression that I think stars automatically harm a movie, but I do think Robinsons leaves the impression that it wasn’t concerned with getting huge names to be in it. Or maybe the filmmakers just couldn’t afford stars – who knows? I just think that it works out well for the movie, as the actors fit the parts.

By the way, there is one somewhat bigger name actor in the movie, but I won’t reveal his identity because it could act as a spoiler. I will say this: I love the way the film uses him. It’s a surprise and one that the flick pulls off in a wonderfully understated manner.

Which is another reason to like Robinsons: it doesn’t beat us over the head with any of its elements. Yeah, the “keep moving forward” thing can wear a little, but the filmmakers are aware of this and compensate in a mix of ways. Otherwise, the movie stays on the unassuming side of the street. It doesn’t force its gags, and the different action, comedy and emotional elements feel well-integrated into the story. We don’t get wackiness or gags for their own sake.

All of this adds up to a delightful little movie. It starts slowly but quickly becomes inventive and charming. This is one of the better Disney efforts in recent memory.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Meet the Robinsons appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Much of the transfer looked great, though some concerns meant this wasn’t one of Disney’s strongest DVD presentations.

Softness was one minor issue. The majority of the film depicted very concise and accurate images, but not always. At times the shots looked just a smidgen soft. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. No source flaws came with the transfer, as the movie lacked any form of defect.

Colors went with a somewhat subdued pastel feel much of the time, though they brightened when the movie went to the future. Within those parameters, the hues looked positive. The various tones came across as clear and well-developed. Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while low-light shots offered good delineation. The minor softness knocked down this image to a “B+”, but it still seemed solid most of the time.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Meet the Robinsons, it also proved more than satisfactory. The soundfield wasn’t quite as expressive as I expected, but it added zest to the flick. The various action sequences opened up the material the best. With a mix of characters and flying items, the elements zipped around the room and broadened matters in a vivid manner. Quieter sequences were a little sterile, but they showed decent breadth and effectiveness.

Audio quality seemed fine. The score showed nice range and delineation, though I thought the occasional pop songs seemed a bit restricted; they came with too much midrange. The score dominated, though, so the music was good most of the time. Speech came across as natural and concise, while effects demonstrated solid accuracy and definition. Bass response was quite strong when louder elements appeared. Overall, the audio worked nicely for the film.

A few extras round out the set. We start with an audio commentary from director Stephen Anderson. He provides a running, screen-specific chat. Anderson looks at the original novel, the initial script, and the story’s development, cast and performances, score and songs, character and visual design, his personal connection to the film, and a few technical issues. Anderson throws out many good details in this involving chat. He makes sure we learn a lot about the project as he provides a solid commentary.

Note that the DVD mentions a “special guest” for the track. This means that “Bowler Hat Guy” occasionally interrupts the discussion for his own self-aggrandizing remarks. Of course, since Anderson does that character’s voice, this means we really hear the director for the entire commentary. The BHG moments are brief and reasonably amusing.

It’s slightly hidden, but if you check under “Set Up”, you’ll find a 5.1 sound effects track. This allows you to watch the movie with just its sound effects active. It’s a cool way to check out that material.

Two featurettes follow. Inventing the Robinsons lasts 17 minutes, 55 seconds as it mixes movie clips, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Anderson, head of story Don Hall, producer Dorothy McKim, author/executive producer William Joyce, character designer Joe Moshier, composer Danny Elfman, musicians the All-American Rejects, Rufus Wainwright and Rob Thomas, and actors Daniel Hansen, Wesley Singerman, Ethan Sandler, and Laurie Metcalf. The show looks at the source novel and its adaptation. We learn about early development of the script, various aspects of the story, character design, voice casting, and the score and songs.

Since Anderson tells us so much in his commentary, some repetition here becomes inevitable. However, there’s not a ton of that, and the other perspectives add a lot. I like the parts about the source novel and its adaptation, and the character issues also receive good coverage. Overall, this is a brisk and informative show.

Next comes the six-minute and 20-second Keep Moving Forward: Inventions That Shaped the World. It starts with the wheel and then progresses through glass, the printing press, the telescope, the telephone, the light bulb, the movie projector, the car, the airplane, the TV, sliced bread, and the innovations of Walt Disney. This very fast-paced overview is clearly meant for kids. It’s a fun way for them to get a rapid take on various important inventions.

Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of seven minutes, 10 seconds. These include “Arriving in the Future” (3:09), “Meeting Carl” (2:09) and “Bowler Hat Guy’s Redemption” (1:36). “Future” and “Redemption” are really alternate versions of existing scenes, while “Carl” is an extended take on that sequence. All three are interesting to see, and they come with intros from Anderson. He explains why they changed the sequences.

Two music videos show up under “Music & More”. We find Rob Thomas’ “Little Wonders” and Jonas Brothers’ “Kids of the Future”. Both videos and songs are pretty forgettable. Actually, “Kids” is more annoying than forgettable, mostly because the Jonas boys seem like really irritating guys.

After this we get the Family Function 5000: Family Tree Game. This trivia contest throws out questions about movie characters. It’s not too tough if you’ve seen the flick, but don’t expect it to be completely simple.

The DVD opens with a few ads. We get promos for Enchanted, Disney Movie Rewards, Ratatouille, and The Santa Clause 3. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with clips for Return to Neverland, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, High School Musical 2, The Aristocats and SnowBuddies.

Meet the Robinsons seems destined to become one of Disney’s “forgotten” flicks, as it pretty much flew under the radar. It doesn’t deserve that status, though, as it offers a thoroughly entertaining little effort. The DVD presents very good picture and sound as well as some extras highlighted by an excellent audio commentary. I offer a hearty recommendation for this fun film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2222 Stars Number of Votes: 9
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main