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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

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English Uncompressed LPCM 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $26.50
Release Date: 2/8/2011

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


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Meet The Robinsons [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 25, 2015)

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 and reunite with her.

To recall the identity of his mom, Lewis comes up with a memory retrieval device and enters it 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 dawdled 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 Part II provides 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 packs such a fun ride. It never feels hyperactive, but it manages to throw lots at us and keep the adventure moving at a brisk pace. This amounts to a good mix of action, comedy and emotion.

I appreciate the fact the filmmakers avoid the 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” motto 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 Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Meet the Robinsons appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No issues materialized here.

Sharpness satisfied. Due to the film’s slightly diffuse look, definition wasn’t as super-tight as one might get from other animated films, but I still thought the image showed nice clarity. 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. Across the board, this became a satisfying image.

As for the Uncompressed LPCM 5.1 soundtrack of Meet the Robinsons, it also proved to be up and down. 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 came with some issues. Speech came across as natural and concise, while effects demonstrated solid accuracy and definition. However, low-end could be too dominant and boomy, a factor that also affected the music. The score seemed fine, but songs showed the overcooked bass. With better balanced low-end, this would’ve been a more satisfying mix, but that heavy bass caused problems.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was a bit more natural in some ways, but the LPCM track’s too heavy bass created distractions that didn’t exist with the old Dolby Digital mix.

Visuals came with no caveats. The Blu-ray was more accurate and vivid and smoother. The picture showed the expected improvements.

The Blu-ray repeats the DVD’s extras and adds a couple of new items. 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.

Expect a lot of good material here. 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 disc 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. Presented with Dolby Digital audio, 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, 59 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 25-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.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 21 minutes, 31 seconds. These include “Arriving in the Future” (3:09), “Meeting Carl” (2:09), “Bowler Hat Guy’s Redemption” (1:36), “Wilbur’s Plan” (3:39), “Dinner with the Robinsons” (6:44) and “Alternate Ending” (3:49). “Future” and “Redemption” are really variant versions of existing scenes, while “Carl” is an extended take on that sequence.

While those three appeared on the DVD, the others are new to the Blu-ray. “Plan” is a bit schmaltzy, but it gives us some funny material. “Dinner” adds a little more to that scene – with plenty of good new comedy - and the “Alternate Ending” changes Lewis’s emotional finish; it’s cool to see but not as strong as the actual conclusion.

All the sequences come with intros from Anderson. He explains why they changed the sequences and adds some useful info.

Two music videos show up as well. 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.

New to the Blu-ray, Bowler Hat Barrage! delivers another game. This brings us a fairly clunky side-scroller in which you pilot a spaceship and shoot at targets. It’s too awkwardly-executed to work.

The disc opens with ads for Enchanted, WALL-E, and Ratatouille. No trailer for Robinsons appears here.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Robinsons. This duplicates the original DVD from 2007.

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 Blu-ray presents very good picture and some interesting supplements but the audio suffers from overcranked low-end. Despite that issue, this was a satisfying rendition of a charming film.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of MEET THE ROBINSONS

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