"NO! Everyone will tell you to let it go and move on but don't! Instead let it fester and boil inside of you. Take these feelings and lock them away; let them fuel your actions. Let hate be your ally and you will be capable of wonderfully horrid things! Heed my words, Goob, don't let it go!"
Yeah yeah I know what you're thinking. This is only my second movie review and I'm doing a Disney film? You thought I was supposed to review movies you've never heard of before right? Well not exactly. It's things that you probably haven't watched. How many of you have actually watched this movie before? No seriously, I'll wait..... because I guarantee few of you have. Sure most of you probably know about this movie but let's be honest with ourselves here. You only know of it because of that one joke.
The StoryLewis is a blonde orphan who desperately wants a family. The boy is a pure genius making up inventions out of his room all of the time. Unfortunately his over ambitious attitude about his inventions coupled by the fact that pretty much all of them fail and blow up cause him to never be picked for adoption. Out of desperation he created a machine that can read the dormant thoughts inside your brain in hopes of seeing his mother's face from when he was an infant and using that to track her down and become a family. As he heads to the science fair to show off his invention he meets a kid who is telling him to beware a man in a bowler hat who kind of looks like Dick Dastardly after having a psychotic episode.
Bowler Hat Guy is from the future and there to steal Lewis' invention to ruin his future by having his robotic bowler hat, Doris, destroy the invention so he could steal it and sell it as his own. Wilbur is also from the future and attempting to foil Bowler Hat Guy's plan. In order to prove to Lewis that he needs to go back to the science fair and fix that one project, Wilbur takes him to the future briefly. However the boys get into an argument and crash the time machine. There in the future Lewis meets Wilbur's family but has to keep wearing hats because as Wilbur says "His hair will give him away that he's from the past." Bowler Hat Guy returns to the future after failing to understand how to work the machine to get Lewis to help him.
Shenanigans ensue including the well known T-Rex joke as it is revealed to the family who Lewis is, and he learns that this family is actually his own and that it is because of him that the happy future world is possible but he just has to keep moving on. Due to a misunderstanding, Lewis helps the Bowler Hat Guy but the hat, Doris is the evil one with a plan, eventually turning the future into an apocalyptic world ruled by mechanical hats. Lewis saves the day, goes back in time and learns to keep moving on so that one day the carefree world of the future will be a reality through his persistence.
What's Good About It?One of the most outstanding features of this story is the message of persistence and to keep moving forward. Sure we've seen this so many times before and even though I skimmed over it in the story portion it really is a large portion of the film; learning to take pride in your failures as a lesson learned and to keep pursuing what you should. They take time with the message and don't pound it into your head like a sledgehammer.
errr...Well... most of the time at least
The villain is a lot of fun. I won't give away who the villain actually is but when you figure it out, it's actually quite funny. He's such a bumbling idiot but in many ways you actually want to see him succeed at something just because he tries so hard but is so incompetent. The fact that the hat, Doris, was created by Lewis at some point and is seeking revenge because she had the ability to do more than she was programmed and meant to do is a bit silly but fun because hey it's Disney. You expect some bit of silliness.
The ending is also one of those heartfelt endings that most people love. Everything falls into place perfectly, the song by Rob Thomas is actually fitting for the theme though I honestly didn't pay attention to the lyrics, and there is a quote at the end. Just like Doug Walker when he reviewed this, I'm not going to say the quote or give away who said it but it never fails to bring a smile to my face and leaves you walking away with something good.
What's Bad About It?While there are only a couple of things bad with this film, the things that are bad are REALLY bad and distracting. The first of which being the pacing of certain scenes. You'll have one scene really slow and emotional then the next thing you know, BAM! You're hit in the face with 3 minutes worth of nonstop shenanigans and jokes at the speed of a 3 year old after two cups of espresso. The jokes themselves don't know what they're doing. There are so many different varieties of jokes aimed at so many different audiences all at once it's unimaginable and all in the span of a couple minutes. First there will be a kiddy joke about frogs, then toilet humor, then some actually kinda edgy humor that kids might or might not get but adults know exactly what they're insinuating. It's a madhouse cluster!
The second of which is the family.
I mean I understand that they were going for an eclectic bunch of misfits to prove how crazy the future is but yet it all works together but.... holy crap!! Within the span of 3 minutes we are introduced to 13 characters (three of them not even pictured above) most of them only getting one line to shout out their gimmick or not have any dialog at all. You get no character development, no reason to care about these people at all. The mother and grandfather get a little more screen time so you actually feel like you can understand who they are but the rest are just there because... why not? They do a little bit in the "fight" against the T-rex but for the most part they serve no purpose other than to continue the insanity of the shot. They all have names but those names are mentioned maybe twice and again all in the span of maybe a 5 minute time frame. I've seen this movie multiple times and while looking at the IMDB page for the movie I see the characters that the voice actors were playing and just have to scratch my head and go "WHO?" It's definitely one of those things that was a good idea for a TV show where you could take episodes with these characters, not just a standalone movie.
Final ThoughtsOverall I don't think this movie is all that bad. Sure you have to stomach some of the usual Disney silliness and cheese, and you have to be prepared for absolute randomness and hyper-activeness that would make someone with ADHD feel it was going too fast, but if you can handle those things then it might turn out to be a fairly decent film. The point of the story is a very good one, Lewis is likeable enough and the Bowler Hat guy is hilariously idiotic. The singing frogs are something else I failed to mention which some people might like but will make other people groan. Sure there is the silliness of them being singing frogs, but if you can look past that they have this whole 50's gangster feel to them that's actually kind of funny especially for this one scene involving the trunk of a car.
All in all I would suggest watching it at least once. It's probably not going to be on anyone's top 50 list and I've certainly seen better from Disney. But I've also certainly seen a lot worse
So give it a try and see for yourself. If you don't like it, well just keep moving forward.
Meet the Robinsons is available from Walt Disney Pictures and is rated G.
This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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