Ewan McGregor as Rodney Copperbottom
Halle Berry as Cappy
Greg Kinnear as Phineas T Ratchet
Mel Brooks as Big Weld
Drew Carey as Crank Casey
Amanda Bynes as Piper Pinwheeler
Robin Williams as Fender
Jim Broadbent as Madame Gasket
Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Fanny
Paul Giamatti as Tim
Dan Hedaya as Mr. Gunk
Stanley Tucci as Herb Copperbottom
Dianne Wiest as Mrs. Copperbottom
Natasha Lyonne as Loretta Geargrinder
Harland Williams as Lug
Crawford Wilson as Rodney at 12
Technically beautiful, Robots falls mostly flat due to a stale story line and a barrage of failed one-liners.
Rodney Copperbottom is a robot with a dream to become an inventor and take his new ideas to Robot City and share them with master idea-bot Big Weld. Once Rodney arrives in Robot City he learns that Big Weld is missing and an evil robot named Ratchet is running things at Bigweld Industries. Ratchet has his eye fixed squarely on the bottom line and not on Big Weld’s master plan of improving the quality of life for all robots. When secrets are learned about Ratchet’s true motives and intentions, it is up to Rodney and his gang of out-dated robot friends to swoop in and save the day.
Robots is Rated PG for brief language and some suggestive humor.
Blue Sky Studios makers of Ice Age does a wonderful job creating the magnificent word of Robots. From small town feel to rusty Rivet City to the heaving metropolis that is Robot City, the simple life and slick designs are well depicted from Herb’s dishwashing duties to the truly unique Robot City transit system. Given that like all CGI animated movies Robots started with a blank screen, it is quite an achievement. The voice work in Robots is solid with Williams bringing the laughs, an American-accented McGregor the cheers and Kinnear the jeers. Though the cast reads like a laundry list of Hollywood’s who’s who, it is this trio that carries most of the burden in the film.
The pacing of the film is good for the obvious younger target audience. Clocking in at about 80 minutes, it keeps your attention through the grand finale.
What Didn’t Work:
The story of Robots is as old as the hills small town dreamer leaves to take on the big city. Oddly enough, the fact the story revolves around robots is likely the reason the plot seems flatter than usual. It has been purposely de-humanized, which results in a sterile and cold feel to the film.
Williams is his usual frenetic self as Bender, a bot destined for the scrap heap, but his performance falls short of his turn as the Genie of the Lamp in Aladdin basically the same role. There are as many misses as hits with his barrage of one-liners and pop culture references. Now that we’ve had the Shrek films and the Pixar gems, a lot of the references seem played out and a bit moldy.
While the commercials attempt to lure you in with all of the big star names attached to Robots, don’t be fooled. Many of the celebs including second-billed Halle Berry have fleeting roles in Robots at best. Berry plays Cappy a forced love interest for our hero and might have a dozen lines in the film.
In all, Robots will do well for Blue Sky. Kids will enjoy its awe-inspiring look while adults will have enough to snicker at to remain in their seats. It is a shame that the film doesn’t have more to offer, but it is what it is and it is sure to sell a Robots-based toy or two.