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