Meet the Robinsons
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Anderson
Screenplay by
Based onA Day with Wilbur Robinson
by William Joyce
Produced byDorothy McKim
Starring
Edited byEllen Keneshea
Music byDanny Elfman
Production
companies
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release dates
  • March 25, 2007 (2007-03-25) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes[1][2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150 million[3]
Box office$169.3 million[4]

Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is loosely based on the 1990 children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. The film was directed by Stephen J. Anderson (in his feature directorial debut) and produced by Dorothy McKim, from a screenplay that Anderson co-wrote with Don Hall, Nathan Greno, Joe Mateo, Jon Bernstein, Michelle Spitz, and Aurian Redson. The film stars the voices of Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Nicole Sullivan, Adam West, Ethan Sandler, Tom Kenny, and Anderson. It follows an orphaned 12-year-old inventor, Lewis, who is desperate to be adopted. He meets Wilbur, a young time-traveler who takes him to the year 2037 to visit an eccentric family, the Robinsons. They must prevent a mysterious bowler-hatted man from changing Lewis' fate, and, by proxy, the future.

Meet the Robinsons began production in June 2004, under the working title A Day with Wilbur Robinson, and was initially planned for release in 2006. At the time of the production, Anderson was confirmed as director due to his personal connection to the main character Lewis, as they both grew up adopted. Disney originally planned to adapt Joyce's style, before it was decided to slightly rework the style due to his involvement stylistically in Blue Sky Studios' Robots. The animation crew had the challenge to animate CG humans, being inspired by Pixar's The Incredibles, while the inspiration for the film came from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, as well as Warner Brothers cartoons, to capture the 1950s aesthetic. Disney's acquisition of Pixar in early 2006 led to nearly 60% of the film, including the villain and the ending, being scrapped and reworked. Danny Elfman provided the film's score, while artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Rob Thomas, The All-American Rejects and They Might Be Giants contributed to the film's soundtrack.

Meet the Robinsons premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on March 25, 2007, and was released in standard and Disney Digital 3-D formats in the United States on March 30. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise directed towards the animation and story.[5] However, it was a box office bomb, grossing $169.3 million against a budget of $150 million.[6]

Plot

Lewis is an aspiring 12-year-old inventor living in an orphanage residential house. His energy, eccentricity, and malfunctioning inventions scare off potential parents, so he works on a machine to scan his memory to locate his birth mother, who abandoned him at the orphanage when he was a baby. While taking the scanner to his school's science fair, Lewis meets 13-year-old Wilbur Robinson, a mysterious boy claiming he is from the future and needs to recover a time machine, which was stolen by a man wearing a bowler hat. Lewis tries to demonstrate the scanner, but it falls apart as a result of being sabotaged by the Bowler Hat Guy, throwing the science fair into chaos. Lewis leaves while the Bowler Hat Guy, with help from his robotic bowler hat Doris, steals the scanner, planning to pass it off as his own to an invention corporation; however, their plan fails when he cannot properly demonstrate it.

Wilbur meets up with Lewis and asks him to repair the scanner. Lewis demands proof that Wilbur is from the future, which he does by taking him in a second time machine to the year 2037, which is highly advanced technologically. Lewis realizes he can use the time machine to meet his mother, but a resulting argument causes them to crash. Lewis agrees to fix the time machine on the condition that Wilbur has to take him to visit his mother afterwards. At Wilbur's house, Lewis meets the rest of the eccentric Robinson family except for Wilbur's father Cornelius; the inventor of the time's technologies who is away on a business trip. Having followed Lewis to the future, the Bowler Hat Guy and Doris try to kidnap him, but the Robinsons drive them back. The Robinsons offer to adopt Lewis, but change their mind after learning he is from the past. Wilbur admits to lying to Lewis about taking him back to his mother, causing Lewis to run off.

The Bowler Hat Guy approaches Lewis and offers to take him to his mother if he fixes the memory scanner. Once he does, the Bowler Hat Guy betrays him and ties him up and reveals that Cornelius is Lewis' future self, and that he is an adult version of Lewis's roommate, Michael "Goob" Yagoobian. Because he was kept awake by Lewis's work on the scanner, Goob fell asleep during a Little League baseball game and failed to make an important catch, costing his team the championship. While everyone else quickly moved on with their lives, Goob became so consumed by his failure that he was never adopted. Doris is "DOR-15", one of Lewis's failed and abandoned inventions. They both blamed Lewis for their misfortunes and decided to ruin his life. After leaving Lewis in the future, they return to the past and successfully pitch the memory scanner.

It is revealed that Doris manipulated Goob, convincing him to mass-produce her in the past to enslave humanity, turning the future into a dystopia. After escaping the enslaved Robinsons and Doris models, Lewis repairs the time machine, confronts Doris in the past, and destroys her by promising to never invent her, restoring the future. At Lewis's request, Wilbur asks the adult Goob to join his family, but he flees in shame of his actions.

Lewis finally meets Cornelius, who explains that the memory scanner started their successful career and persuades Lewis to return to the science fair. Although Wilbur fulfills his promise and takes Lewis back to see the moment his mother abandoned him, Lewis chooses not to interfere, having realized he already has a family.

Wilbur drops Lewis off in his own time and says goodbye. En route to the fair, Lewis wakes up Goob in time for him to make the winning catch, averting him becoming the Bowler Hat Guy; he is later adopted by new parents. Back at the fair, Lewis asks for one more chance to demonstrate his scanner, which this time succeeds. Lewis is adopted by Lucille, one of the science fair judges, and her husband Bud, who nicknames him "Cornelius". Now with a clear view of his success, Lewis begins working towards his future.

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

— The statement that ends the film, attributed to Walt Disney.

Cast and characters

In addition, Joe Robinson is Wilbur's obese uncle, Billie's wife, and Bud and Fritz' brother who rides in an easy chair, his whimpers are provided by an uncredited actor. Also in the Robinson family is their dog, Buster, who wears glasses.

Note: Lewis was voiced by both Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry. Daniel Hansen voiced Lewis at the beginning of the film's production, and when the studio needed Lewis' lines changed, they had Jordan Fry re-dub many segments.[7][8][9]

Production

Director Stephen Anderson at the film's premiere

Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, production began in June 2004, and was scheduled for a 2006 release.[10][11] During the film's production, Walt Disney Animation Studios' storyboard artist Stephen Anderson decided to direct the film due to his personal connection to Lewis, since they both grew up adopted.[12][13]

The studio planned to adapt Joyce's style to the film, but due to his involvement stylistically in Blue Sky Studios' Robots, the style was slightly reworked. While still taking cues from his retro style, influenced by everything from Technicolor movies to '40s architectural design, the crew also took inspiration from the company Apple.[12] Unlike their previous film Chicken Little, a film starring CG animals, the animation crew had the challenge to animate CG humans. They took inspiration from Pixar's The Incredibles when animating the characters. They also took inspiration from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and from Warner Brothers cartoons to capture the 1950s aesthetic.[12]

While the film was in production, The Walt Disney Company announced on January 24, 2006, that it would be acquiring Pixar, and as a result, John Lasseter became the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. When he saw an early screening for the movie, he told Anderson that he did not find the villain scary or threatening enough, and suggested that he make some changes. Ten months later, almost 60% of the film had been scrapped and redone. The villain had improved and was given a new sidekick, a dinosaur chase had been added, and the ending was changed.[14]

Release

Over 600 REAL D Cinema digital 3D-equipped theaters presented Disney Digital 3-D version of the film.[15] In all theatrical showings, the standard version of the film was preceded by the 1938 Mickey Mouse short film Boat Builders and the 3D version was preceded by the 1953 Chip 'n Dale 3D short Working for Peanuts.[16] The final credits of the 3D version were left two-dimensional, except for the names of those who converted the film to 3D.

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray versions were both released on October 23, 2007.[17] Both versions feature 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, plus music videos, the "Family Function 5000" game, deleted scenes, and other bonus features. The DVD's audio commentary contains Anderson's narration, occasionally interrupted by himself as the Bowler Hat Guy. The Blu-ray also includes uncompressed 5.1 audio and a BD-J game, Bowler Hat Barrage!. A 3D Blu-ray was released on November 8, 2011.[18]

As of January 2008, the DVD had sold approximately 4 million copies.[19]

Reception

Critical reception

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critics consensus states, "Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth."[5] Metacritic reported the film had a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 27 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Realmovienews stated that it has "a snappy plot that demands close attention as it whizzes back and forth in the space-time continuum, touching on serious ideas and proposing some rather disturbing alternate realities. And the witty story twists are handled with rare subtlety and intelligence. In the end it may get a little weepy and inspirational. But it's so charming that we don't mind at all".[22] Danny Minton of the Beaumont Journal said that "The Robinsons might not be a family you want to hang out with, but they sure were fun to meet in this imaginative and beautiful 3-D experience".[23] Andrew L. Urban of Australian Urban Cinefile said that "Walt Disney stood for fantasy on screen and this is a loving tribute to his legacy".[24] Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 10th best film of 2007.[25]

Conversely, A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "Meet the Robinsons is surely one of the worst theatrically released animated features issued under the Disney label in quite some time",[26] while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C" and said "This is one bumpy ride".[27]

Box office

Meet the Robinsons grossed $25,123,781 on its opening weekend, ranking in second place behind Blades of Glory.[28] Over its theatrical run, it grossed $97,822,171 in the United States of America and $71,510,863 in other territories, grossing $169,338,134 worldwide.[4]

Soundtrack

Meet the Robinsons
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMarch 27, 2007
Length52:46
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerDanny Elfman
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Chicken Little
(2005)
Meet the Robinsons
(2007)
Bolt
(2008)
Singles from Meet the Robinsons
  1. "Kids of the Future"
    Released: February 28, 2007
  2. "Little Wonders"
    Released: March 13, 2007

The soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on March 27, 2007. It includes four original songs written for the film, performed by Rufus Wainwright, Jamie Cullum, and Rob Thomas. Contributors to the album beyond the Danny Elfman score include another track by Wainwright ("The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"), The All-American Rejects ("The Future Has Arrived"), They Might Be Giants ("There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"), and the Jonas Brothers ("Kids of the Future", a parody of "Kids in America"). The track "Little Wonders", recorded by Thomas, reached number 5 on the Billboard AC chart and the top 20 in Australia and Canada.

The song "This Much Fun" by Cowboy Mouth, which was featured in the trailer, was not featured in the film or on the soundtrack. The song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was originally from the Disneyland attraction General Electric's Carousel of Progress which was located in Tomorrowland.

All music is composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted

No.TitleArtistLength
1."Another Believer"Rufus Wainwright4:39
2."Little Wonders"Rob Thomas3:45
3."The Future Has Arrived"The All-American Rejects3:05
4."Where Is Your Heart At?" (written by Rufus Wainwright)Jamie Cullum2:23
5."The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"Rufus Wainwright2:35
6."Give Me the Simple Life"Jamie Cullum2:04
7."The Prologue" 1:24
8."To the Future!" 1:16
9."Meeting the Robinsons" 1:56
10."The Science Fair" 2:47
11."Goob's Story" 1:01
12."A Family United" 1:37
13."Pop Quiz and the Time Machine Montage" 3:45
14."The Evil Plan" 4:13
15."Doris Has Her Day" 4:58
16."Setting Things Right" 6:00
17."There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"They Might Be Giants2:00
18."Kids of the Future"Jonas Brothers3:18
Total length:52:46

Video games

Main article: Meet the Robinsons (video game)

A Meet the Robinsons video game was published by Buena Vista Games for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, GameCube, Nintendo DS, and Microsoft Windows. England-based Climax Group developed their own adaption for the Game Boy Advance.

Cancelled sequel

Disneytoon Studios originally planned to make a direct-to-video sequel to the film, tentatively titled Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date.[29] However, when Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he cancelled all sequels in development at Disneytoon, including Meet the Robinsons 2, and ordered the studio to shift its focus towards spin-off films and original productions.[29]

Legacy

A limited edition Magicband was also released by the company to commemorate the 15th anniversary.[30] On May 7, 2022, the cast and crew who worked on the film including Stephen Anderson the film's director/voice of Bowler Hat Guy, Jordan Fry, the voice of Lewis, Matthew Josten, the younger voice of Goob and Jessie Flower, the younger voice of Franny, reunited to celebrate the film's 15th anniversary by partaking in a 2 hour livestream on The Tammy Tuckey Show on YouTube.[31] The event had been organized ahead of time. In 2023, the characters of Lewis, Wilbur, Bowler Hat Guy, Carl, and Lucille (in her young scientist judge appearance) appeared in Disney's centennial anniversary short film Once Upon a Studio, in which they were recreated using new CGI models. This was due to the original models not being animated for over a decade, as well as updates made to animation technology since the original film's release, with rigging and rendering being reworked so they could be used with modern technology.[32]

References

  1. ^ "Meet the Robinsons". Australian Classification. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  2. ^ Simon, Ben (October 24, 2007). "Meet The Robinsons". Animated Views. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Meet the Robinsons: 60% of the Movie was Redone".
  4. ^ a b "Meet the Robinsons". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Meet the Robinsons (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 5, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  6. ^ "The 10 Best Disney Movies That Bombed at the Box Office". Observer. May 23, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  7. ^ Meet the Robinsons (2007) - IMDb, retrieved August 2, 2020
  8. ^ Meet the Robinsons (2007) - IMDb, retrieved August 2, 2020
  9. ^ Both Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen are listed as voice actors for Lewis on the movie webpages for "Meet the Robinsons" on Disney, Amazon, iTunes, and other official websites.
  10. ^ "Walt Disney Feature Animation Set To Spend 'A Day With Wilbur Robinson' With New Animated Feature Slated For 2006". PR Newswire. January 11, 2004. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  11. ^ Dunkley, Cathy (January 11, 2004). "Mouse re-tooning animation strategy". Variety. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c Bill Desowitz (March 30, 2007). "'Meet The Robinsons': Keep Moving Forward at Disney". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  13. ^ Doug Jamieson (May 23, 2020). "THE HOUSE OF MOUSE PROJECT – 'Meet the Robinsons'". The Jam Report. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  14. ^ M. Holson, Laura (March 5, 2007). "John Lasseter: Disney's new boss re-imagines the Magic Kingdom". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  15. ^ Carolyn Giardina (March 7, 2007). "New dimension at Real D". HollywoodReporter.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  16. ^ Peter Sciretta (March 23, 2007). "3D Meet the Robinsons Advertisement, Featurette, and Fun Facts". /Film. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2007.
  17. ^ "Meet The Robinsons (English/French/Spanish DVD)". Archived from the original on July 12, 2007.
  18. ^ McCutcheon, David (August 5, 2011). "Disney's Blu-ray 3D Line-up". IGN. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  19. ^ "Meet the Robinsons - Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  20. ^ "Meet the Robinsons Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  21. ^ Manfredi, Lucas (November 24, 2022). "Strange World CinemaScore Might Be the Lowest Ever For a Walt Disney Animation Studio Film". TheWrap. Archived from the original on November 25, 2022. Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  22. ^ "Meet The Robinsons (2007) Movie Review". Real Movie News. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007.
  23. ^ Minton, Danny (March 29, 2007). "Meet the Robinsons - Critic Review". Beaumont Journal. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  24. ^ Louise Keller, Andrew L. Urban. "Meet the Robinsons". Australian Urban Cinefile.
  25. ^ "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  26. ^ A. O. Scott (March 30, 2007). "FILM REVIEW; A Nerdy Orphan Plows Ahead With a Lot of Familiar Novelties". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Lisa Schwarzbaum (March 28, 2007). "Meet the Robinsons (2007)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  28. ^ "'Blades' skates to No. 1 at the box office". Los Angeles Times. April 2, 2007.
  29. ^ a b Hill, Jim (June 20, 2007). "Say "So Long !" to direct-to-video sequels : DisneyToon Studios tunes out Sharon Morrill". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  30. ^ "New MagicBand for 15th Anniversary of 'Meet the Robinsons' Lands at Magic Kingdom - WDW News Today". wdwnt.com. February 21, 2022.
  31. ^ ""MEET THE ROBINSONS" 15th Anniversary Cast & Crew Reunion - The Tammy Tuckey Show" – via www.youtube.com.
  32. ^ "Once Upon a Studio: Behind the Scenes" (PDF).