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Movie Details

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Directed By
Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha

Written By:
Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear, Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, Robin Williams

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Robots (2005)
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Movie Review by Nick
March 16th, 2005

Being a sci-fi geek, it should come as no surprise that I love robots. Whether it's MechaGodzilla, Robby, the Terminators or even Johnny-5, most any film with a cybernetic star can count on my support. Now I'm certain you have gathered from the title that ROBOTS, the latest film from the folks that brought us ICE AGE, is about robots and in turn should be privy to some of my robot-love (ok maybe I should rephrase that-- love of robots). Starring Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear and Mel Brooks and featuring more big names than the U.S. Census Report, ROBOTS' top notch cast is the perfect complement to the jaw-dropping animation and gives ROBOTS almost (and I stress almost) everything it needs to be a great triumph.

ROBOTS is the totally original tale of young robot Rodney Copperbottom, who journeys from his small town home to the cleverly titled Robot City with dreams of seeing the famous robot parts manufacturer Bigweld and making it big as an inventor. Unfortunately for Rodney, he is two years too late. The loveable Bigweld has vanished (and in a totally shocking, completely unexpected turn of events) his corporation has been taken over by the evil Ratchet, whose plan to garner fame and fortune may send millions of robots to chop shop. Now it's up to Rodney and his ragtag gang of goofballs to find Bigweld and save the day.

If it's not readily apparent by my sarcasm, ROBOTS falls terribly short of the mark with its story. If an excellent movie is like a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, ROBOTS has two parts of the recipe right. It takes great care in making a delicious, talented sauce and then simmers it with the stunningly animated meatballs till they are perfect. Then, rather that grab a fresh box of pasta, ROBOTS dumps its gourmet creation over a pound of month-old story that has been reheated so many times its zest has all but vanished, resulting in a good vs. evil yarn that is so common the average four year old will be one step ahead of the film at all times. The wonderful animation and talented vocal work attempt to seduce the viewer into believing this is a brand-spanking-new concept, but most everyone has seen this film before in many different forms. This is not to say that it is poorly written, as you will find many laugh-out-loud quips ("Afraidium, It's yellow; tastes like chicken"), but these one liners are not constant enough to carry ROBOTS for its full 91 minutes.

It seems that with the latest advances in technology and animation people have forgotten that a great story makes a great film. For example, take the 1990 shoestring budget B-movie ROBOT JOX. Written and directed by horror master Stuart Gordon, ROBOT JOX takes place in a post-World War III society where war has been outlawed and in its place huge robots battle in arenas for various disputed territories. Our hero, Achilles, must battle the evil Alexander for the state of Alaska. Just think about it; giant robots battling for Alaska. It's a simple, semi-original concept and whether or not the five of you reading this who have seen ROBOT JOX want to admit it, it makes for one hell of a great popcorn flick (admittedly, many consider ROBOT JOX bottom-shelf fodder but hey, like I said, I seriously dig robots). Pardon the digression, but my point is that you can have a minimal budget, but still make a film that someone will mention 15 years after the fact just by including a fun story.

If you are interested in amazing animation with nothing else to it, see ROBOTS (or if you are a STAR WARS fan, the Episode III trailer alone is worth the price of admission). However, if you like your animation with a bit more substance then do yourself a favor.

Stay home and rent THE INCREDIBLES.

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