Meet the Robinsonsby Kevin Krock, staff writer
- DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
- Original Theatrical Release: March 30, 2007
- 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- French and Spanish Language Tracks
- Subtitles: Closed Captioned
- Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
- Three Deleted Scenes
- "Keep Moving Forward: Inventions that Shaped the World" Featurette (6 min)
- Two Music Videos
- Family Function 5000: Family Tree Game
- "Inventing the Robinsons" Featurette (18 min)
- Audio Commentary by Director Stephen Anderson (with a special guest appearance)
I have to admit that because of the somewhat mixed reviews during its theatrical release, I was not in a big rush to catch Meet the Robinsons on the big screen with my boys. Although, the fact that our own Alex Stroup gave the movie a 7 out of 10 (link) did pique my interest in the movie, but we just never made the time to catch it. Now that I've had a chance to see it at home, I'm not sure if it was the blonde, glasses-wearing, science boy-wonder, the odd and quirky array of characters, or the nicely relayed fundamental theme of "keep moving forward," but something about this movie just clicked with me a lot more than I though it would, and it is now growing on me. On top of that, all three of my boys, ages 9, 6, and 3, love this movie and have watched it very frequently. Very, very frequently.
The story, loosely based on William Joyce's children's book "A Day With Wilbur Robinson," follows a young, orphan inventor named Lewis through a wild time-traveling journey that helps him appreciate his unique abilities while finally finding a family that understands and accepts him just the way he is. It is not quite that easy though. Lewis also has to prevent a tear in the space-time continuum at the hands of the nefarious Snidely Whi...er...Bowler Hat Guy, and if he fails, his future and the future of the family he meets is doomed. Given that it is a time travel movie, the story jumps around a bit, and following the story can be a bit of a challenge at times. Fortunately, most of the threads get tied up at the end of the movie.
In the end, it falls short of its Pixar comparators but does not completely fail. Rather, it is another one of Disney's recent "Not a Classic, but Enjoyable" movies, and while better than I expected, it does have its issues, which are nicely discussed in Alex's review (link). Even given those shortfalls, both my boys and I can sit down and enjoy this one together, which is what I really look for in a DVD. They just seem to sit down and enjoy this one a bit more often than I do.
On the surprisingly good side, this single disc DVD has a reasonable collection of goodies that will please both parent and child. In what seems to be a break from many recent Disney DVDs, including, "Cars," this disc contains not only a selection of deleted scenes but also a solid, 18 minute documentary featurette and a commentary by the director. It may not seem like much, but it is just enough to enhance the whole experience of watching the movie and understanding where it came from, which is what DVD should be all about.
The three deleted scenes, as they usually do, show just how varied the story development ranged, but they are interesting to see and valuable pieces of the story development. Another nice addition is a short featurette on inventions that have shaped our world, including everything from the wheel to the family theme park. The two most interesting goodies are, of course, the 18 minute documentary and the full-length director commentary, which round out this small collection. The documentary featurette briefly covers everything from story development to the animation production to the music by Danny Elfman, and Stephen Anderson's commentary is both interesting and enjoyable, including the periodic special guest appearance by someone very closely associated with Anderson. It is a decent package for a single disc, and it is something that I wish Disney would continue to provide on more of their single disc editions. Of course, I'd love to see a full, two-disc special edition that really delves into the details of all the aspects of the film, but as Disney has clearly demonstrated recently, those treatments have been reserved for an unfortunately rare few.
Audio, Video and Interface
Not much need be said here outside of, "spot on." If there is one thing that Disney pretty routinely delivers for their recent theatrical releases, it is great audio and video transfers. The sound is enveloping, and the video maintains the eye-popping colors and subtle textures, including things like the threading on Bowler Hat Guy's suit. While the visuals are generally simple, thus maintaining the look and feel of the original book, there is enough there that it has considerably more depth and warmth than, say Rollie Pollie Olie, another of Joyce's futuristic worlds. The interface is perfectly themed and animated, easy to navigate, and a great way for users to interact with the disc.
The Final Evaluation
The movie, while not perfect but very enjoyable, is presented very beautifully on this disc, and the selection of bonus material will enhance the viewing for both parents and children. The movie looks and sounds great on everything from a laptop to a modest home theater, and if you enjoyed this movie in the theater, it will play just as well at home. If you missed it, it is worth giving it a chance renting it. Either way, pick up some popcorn, sit back with your family and enjoy the rather wild ride until the end.