out of Five
Running time: 91
Enjoyable, beautifully animated film that’s packed full of jokes for both kids and adults and features good comic performances from its cast.
With all the fuss over Pixar vs Dreamworks, it’s easy to forget that there’s a new contender in the frame, namely Blue Sky Studios, the animation arm of Twentieth Century Fox and the people behind arctic comedy hit Ice Age. A sequel to Ice Age is already in the works, but in the meantime there’s Robots, which shows that Blue Sky are rapidly approaching Pixar levels of greatness.
Young Robot Pursues Fame And Fortune
Robots stars Ewan McGregor as Rodney Copperbottom, the son of proud parents Herb (Stanley Tucci) and Mrs Copperbottom (Dianne West). Rodney wants to be an inventor and sets off to pursue his dreams of fame and fortune in Robot City.
However, when Rodney arrives, he discovers that his idol, Bigweld (Mel
Brooks) is nowhere to be found and that the city itself may be in danger from the acting head of Bigweld Industries, Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) and his sinister mother Mrs Gasket (Jim Broadbent). With the future of Robot City at stake, it’s up to Rodney and his new-found friends (including Robin Williams as Fender and Amanda Bynes as Piper Pinwheeler) to save the day.
The animation looks stunning and there’s a huge amount of detail in the inventive backgrounds. There’s also none of the awful product placement that jars so heavily in the Dreamworks movies. In addition, the characters are distinctive and colourful and the film explicitly contrasts the rusty nuts and bolts of the ‘Rusties’ (Rodney’s street-smart friends) with the gleaming chrome exteriors of Ratchet and his cronies.
Entire Cast Excellent
The cast are excellent. Robin Williams is kept on a pretty tight rein and isn’t allowed to dominate the film, though he still has his share of funny scenes. McGregor makes a solid lead but the standout is Amanda Bynes as Piper, who steals almost every scene she’s in - she should do more voiceover work.
There’s also good comic support from Jim Broadbent and Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Fanny, whose huge rear end is the source of several fart gags. The one character who seems superfluous is Halle Berry’s Cappy (who resembles the Sharon Stone ant from Antz) - they should have let Piper be the love interest instead.
There are a couple of great set-pieces - the first involving the pinball-inspired ‘transport’ system across Robot City and the second involving a fight over a robot foot, some ball-bearings and some classical music. There’s also a decent, rousing climax, despite the fact that it wraps up a little too quickly.
In short, Robots is a lot of fun, with a sharp script and enough jokes aimed at both kids and adults to ensure that no-one will be disappointed. Recommended.