Saturday, November 24, 2012

D52 - Week 47 - Meet the Robinsons


So much nonsense.

Where to begin. Um, first of all, I can pretty much just repeat what I've said about Chicken Little and The Emperor's New Groove. Here we have yet another movie whose overabundance of silliness undermines any attempt at eliciting emotional development of the characters. But I've hammered this annoyance before, so I'll talk a bit about Lewis. When you think about Disney/animated family movie character types, the first that come to mind are probably Princess, Prince, and animal sidekick "comic relief" buddies. But there's also a less "classic" one, the awkward nerd trying to fit in. Milo from Atlantis was one, Chic Lic was one, and to a certain extent some of the Disney Princesses like Mulan were too. But Lewis (who by the way reminds me of a young Alton Brown) is the special type that tries to be extra-cliché by constantly making wacky inventions that fail spectacularly. I start to wonder if this would be better or any different if the movie starred Gyro Gearloose. At least it would've made more sense to have a movie based on a comic book and TV series character than one based on a picture book with a picture book-quality story (Spoiler alert! It's all about finding grandpa's teeth and in the end one of the frogs has it. That's what the book is about). At least the picture book doesn't have any pretense of suggesting you should feel sorry for the characters in any way. I mean, I kind of like some of what they do with Bowler Hat Guy, and how his petty little grudge is comically played up (the scene where he convinces li'l Goob to let his hate fester and boil is the only scene I don't dislike) and if there was a character that I might consider maybe feeling sorry for, it would be him, and the mini-lesson - about not stewing in your past resentment or blaming other people but instead moving on with your life - would've been a more worthwhile and interesting lesson to focus on, rather than the lame reworking of the tired "If at first you don't succeed" proverb.

By the way. Time travel story pet peeve: You can't show something happening in the past as if it's happening "while" the events of the present are taking place. If persons A and B are both in the present and person B leaves to time travel to the past and change its events, person person A does not witness those changes x seconds after person B left just because person B started changing things x seconds after B arrived in the past. I know it's just a storytelling and directing framing device, but it shouldn't be. Time does not work that way and we shouldn't be teaching our kids that it does.
Speaking of revisiting the past, this movie sure does plead desperately for you to watch it twice, doesn't it? The first time you'll either feel lost or figure out the "twists" too easily and the second time you'll....well actually it isn't worth watching twice. Trust me; I've done it.

Visually speaking, I bet you never would've guessed that this movie was originally released in 3D! Yeah, remember when 3D theatrical movies first "came back," just about all of them took advantage of the technology to the extreme by poking the audience and shoving things in their faces? I'm glad they've sort of eased up on that gimmickry since then. Because what they seem to forget is that when those same movies come to home video, those super-3D shots don't come across very well at all when we're not getting the effects of the glasses. You could make a drinking game out of it. 3D shots shots. Just seeing Carl the Robot will get you drunk.
You know what this movie should've been? Or at least wishes it could be? One of those motion-simulator theme park movie rides. It already involves a flimsy storyline, a time machine being attacked by a dinosaur (just like Back to the Future: The Ride) and shameless 3D effects! And a lot of its time is spent showing you crazy stuff happening all around you for the sake of showing you crazy stuff happening all around you. It'd be perfect! I think I would appreciate it much more seeing it that way, largely because that means it would be a much shorter experience. You could even have the 4D sensory effects like smelling peanut butter and jelly (mmm, I like it better already) as it splats you in the face (actually just water).
As for the music, it certainly was done by Danny Elfman, wasn't it? It's disappointing that the They Might Be Giants cover of "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" isn't heard in the movie or even in the credits, but at least it happened, as a result of this movie existing. And that might be my favorite thing about the movie period.

Second-favorite thing: A giant squid attacks a tyrannosaurus rex face in the face.

Favorite character: Tom Selleck. Not Cornelius, the character he voices. But Tom Selleck.
Least necessary character: The coach character was not voiced by Patrick Warburton. He is therefore unnecessary.
Discussion topic to answer in the comments section: For the ladies: How would you feel if you met the younger (12 years old) version of your husband/fiancée/boyfriend? Uncomfortable? For the gentlemen: How you would feel if, as a 12-year-old, you met the future, adult version of the wife you didn't even realize you would have? Would it be weird if when you first met her, before knowing she would be your wife, you identified her as a mother figure so much that you blurtingly called her "mom?" Perhaps that wouldn't be any weirder than when current dads call their wife mom just because everyone else in the household does too? Also, is it acceptable for me to make some sort of joke using the line, "Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?"
Overall: It's awfully fitting that Meet the Robinsons so proudly sings the praises of failure. Well, better keep moving forward.


Here's the thing.  A Day with the Robinsons (the book) is a picture book classic partly because it doesn't have much of a plot.  It's a picture book.  It shows you some interesting and well drawn pictures.  You can use your own imagination if you happen to like the pictures enough to expand upon them.  Meet the Robinsons forces a story which is first of all hard to follow, second of all not particularly engaging, and worst of all grinding the imagination aspect completely out of the picture.  There is so much fantastic (and I don't mean good) stuff always going on that you don't have time to try and use your own powers of creative thinking and so many rules to this universe that you would feel as if you needed permission for your whims in the first place.

I wish I had more to say about this movie.  It's really not good. I didn't like it.  It's incredibly forgettable and that's a good thing.  It's so bland I barely remember anything about the music, the character designs, or the backgrounds except to passingly wonder why all buildings in the future are so faux art deco.

I did enjoy the frogs.  I don't mean the singing and music playing.  It was cute, but too gimmicky for me to actually claim to lave liked it.  What I liked was the group of frogs sitting at a bar telling bar jokes and talking like a bunch of swingers from the roaring 20s.  The frogs had some serious personality!  Then the movie tries to connect them to the plot somehow with the little mini bowler hat and that was the end of my joy.

Favorite character: Frog.... but Tom Selleck is a close second.
Least necessary character: Every single other family member besides Mom, Wilbur and the Grandparents.
Overall: No sir. I didn't like it.

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