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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Retro Movie Review: Robots (2005) #RobinWilliams

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey, Robin Williams
Genre: Computer- Animated Adventure Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $260 million 

Plot: In a robot world, a young idealistic inventor travels to the big city to join his inspiration's company, only to find himself opposing its sinister new management 

'Bye Robot'

Robots marks as one of the 2000s weakest animated offerings, since animated movies made the transition from 2D hand-drawn style to 3D computer pixels. Unfortunately, it is also a family or be it kids film that looks somewhat interesting on the outside, but when it comes to the inside and the story itself, it fails to make any type of impression and it just isn't entertaining to sit through and endure. 

Rodney Copperbottom (Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, who adopts an American accent here) leaves home and heads off to Robot city, in order to achieve his dream of being a famous inventor. Yet his plans are about to be foiled by Phineas T. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear), who wants to turn the poor, poverty-stricken robots into scrap. Rodney teams up with a fellow robot, the wacky, Fender (Robin Williams) and the two try to put a stop to Rachet. 

Robin Williams's Fender looks I don't know, but I am not fond of it, but then, I took a long hard look at the design and I thought to myself there is nothing here that quite resembles a part of him. & whilst his turn is not quite as boisterous and wacky as Williams's other comic relief turns as the Genie and Batty Koda, in stark contrast, despite his usual over the top schtick, Bender was just a bore & made of tin metal. As much as I loved Robin Williams's films, he did exactly the same wacky voice-over routine, and he did it better, especially in the 1990s with Ferngully & Aladdin, when back then, it didn't feel like he was phoning it in with his impromptu turns & that it felt fun & fresh. But that was because Genie and Batty were both fun & had oodles of personality & charm. But here in Robots, it felt like the same routine all over - only this time around, his performance was phoned in and his character is uninspired; he was nothing to write home about. He didn't even deliver one single memorable line, whatsoever and Williams's attempts at generating humour relied less on improv and more on spouting silly fart gags. The Britney Spears skit with Fender did not make me chuckle and reeks of desperation, in an attempt to pass itself off as genuine humour, courtesy of the writers. 

The flatulence gag was not only not funny but lame and desperate. Greg Kinnear's bad guy character looks awful and despite his efforts, I just can't picture him as a character voice actor. 

When I tune into an animated movie, the character designs are the main things I look at and quite frankly, in Robots, overall, it was a mixed bag, but at the same time, much like with 2006's The Ant Bully, stylistically, the characters looked iffy somewhat. 

Robots has a boring story, with City Slickers screenwriters, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel dropping the ball on this aspect, as nothing about it sounds engaging and intriguing, and one wonders how a film can waste the talents of Halle Berry, Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams. With Robin Williams and Halle Berry, it seemed like they existed as cash-ins, due to their star power at the time. Although with Robin in his 50s, he was no longer the big- name star as he was in the 1990s, especially when he was so in-demand & thus, he'd fallen from grace, as his films got gradually worse, after the releases of Insomnia and One Hour Photo. Halle's character wasn't well written and developed- none of them were, actually & their performances felt like they couldn't truly feel as passionate for this project, but neither did she convey much charisma through her vocal abilities. Oddly enough, it contains R&B music, which a lot of it feels out of place in a movie like this. 

But for one latter scene with Rodney and Cappy, Robots is below mediocre, flatters to impress with a un- engrossing story, which eventually got tired and it has absolutely little going for it. Instead of being entertained I was so bored, I didn't care what was happening and lost all interest. The robot designs may be unique to some, yet it's a shame that the rest of the film isn't. 

It is so unmemorable, it's unreal. 


Pros +

- Casting sounds impressive - on paper

- Visually looks good, sort of 

Cons -

- No personality characters

- Story is rubbish and it's not that funny, it's unengaging & boring  

- Almost charmless

- Robin Williams couldn't save this one 

- Makes you - or be it, me, want to rewatch Aladdin and Ferngully more often

Final Verdict:

Spearheaded by an utterly unmemorable turn by Robin Williams, who did it way better in the original Ferngully and Aladdin movies - yet here, he is re-enacting the same part, Robots is an unbelievable bore of a movie with a lacklustre story and execution that lacks fervour and enough entertainment. Plus, any film that wastes the names of Robin Williams, Halle Berry and Ewan McGregor by giving them insipid material to work with, loses an extra mark, which this does so.  

Worse and blander than Aladdin, but even worse and more forgettable than Ferngully, insofar as Robin Williams led animated fare goes, Robots is several screws loose, and more.


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