Robot City: Impressive to look at... not so much to live in...
"Robots" is the latest computer animated feature film from the creators
of Ice Age. Like many films of the same genre, "Robots" offers a new
artistic style and a large cast of voice talents, all of which would
make pretty entertaining guests on any episode of Saturday Night
Live... However "Robots" is more of a sight to see than a movie-going
experience to fully enjoy.
Rodney (Ewen McGregor, Big Fish)is a robot born (or built rather) to
become an inventor. Just like his idol Big Weld (Mel Brooks)
encourages, Rodney believes anyone can shine no matter what you're made
of. This credo is put to the ultimate test when Rodney leaves home to
Robot City in hopes to get employed in Big Weld's big corporation as an
inventor. Rodney learns the hard way how tough Robot City can be for
the average robot... especially under new management where management
entails getting rid of outdated robots and reducing them to scrap
metal. With the help of a rusty robot crew including Robin Williams and
Amanda Bynes, Rodney will go on an adventure to turn Robot City into
the dream he's always imagined it to be.
As you can tell, "Robots" is a movie with heart, what do you expect for
a movie targeted for a family audience. It also had some funny moments,
and, as expected, were mostly contributed to Robin's robot character.
There were also little details that achieved good laughs... Robot City
wouldn't be complete without a robot doing the robot. Again the art in
"Robots" also deserves credit using darker color schemes which allowed
for a better feel for the robot world. The design of the city was also
impressive: intricate modes of transportation, the ability to carry a
conversation with a traffic light, and a walking mailbox that knows you
However its kind of like a new President addressing the United
States... he may look nice, brand new suit with hair combed nicely, and
he may have a good message. But the message is only as good as its
delivery. This is probably a bad analogy, but if "Robots" and
"Monsters, Inc" ran for president it would be a landslide victory for
the Pixar party.
I compare the two movies with good reason. Both movies offer completely
new worlds: a robot world and a monster world. Both movies feature
major cities that rely its existence heavily on the production of a
major corporation, Big Weld for Robot City and Monsters, Inc. for
Monstropolis. There's just one major difference: Monstropolis makes
sense and Robot City doesn't.
You might wonder why should it make sense, it's fake? Any Joe Schmoe
from the street tripping on acid can make a movie about some
make-believe world, but its an even heavier task to make a world where
things not only make sense, but are also necessary for the world to be
plausible. Monstropolis works: both the city itself as well as the
things that went on in the made up city. With Robot City there are too
many questions: Why?! How?! What the hell was that for?! Who?! I refer
my Who question to Halle Berry's character who is top-billed and forced
to be integral to the plot, yet only has about 4-5 lines throughout the
I give it a 4 out of 10 because I'm midway with this movie. It looked
cool but it wasn't. Like a beautiful girl with no personality. It can
be really funny, but other times it tries a bit hard. What Robots
lacked was ironically originality. Even Robin Williams' character was a
bit reminiscent of the Genie from Aladdin without the comedic
usefulness of shapeshifting. It was a good attempt, but ultimately
"Robots" is sadly recycled scrap metal.
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