Meet the Robinsons appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Much of the transfer looked great, though some concerns meant this wasn’t one of Disney’s strongest DVD presentations.
Softness was one minor issue. The majority of the film depicted very concise and accurate images, but not always. At times the shots looked just a smidgen soft. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. No source flaws came with the transfer, as the movie lacked any form of defect.
Colors went with a somewhat subdued pastel feel much of the time, though they brightened when the movie went to the future. Within those parameters, the hues looked positive. The various tones came across as clear and well-developed. Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while low-light shots offered good delineation. The minor softness knocked down this image to a “B+”, but it still seemed solid most of the time.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Meet the Robinsons, it also proved more than satisfactory. The soundfield wasn’t quite as expressive as I expected, but it added zest to the flick. The various action sequences opened up the material the best. With a mix of characters and flying items, the elements zipped around the room and broadened matters in a vivid manner. Quieter sequences were a little sterile, but they showed decent breadth and effectiveness.
Audio quality seemed fine. The score showed nice range and delineation, though I thought the occasional pop songs seemed a bit restricted; they came with too much midrange. The score dominated, though, so the music was good most of the time. Speech came across as natural and concise, while effects demonstrated solid accuracy and definition. Bass response was quite strong when louder elements appeared. Overall, the audio worked nicely for the film.
A few extras round out the set. We start with an audio commentary from director Stephen Anderson. He provides a running, screen-specific chat. Anderson looks at the original novel, the initial script, and the story’s development, cast and performances, score and songs, character and visual design, his personal connection to the film, and a few technical issues. Anderson throws out many good details in this involving chat. He makes sure we learn a lot about the project as he provides a solid commentary.
Note that the DVD mentions a “special guest” for the track. This means that “Bowler Hat Guy” occasionally interrupts the discussion for his own self-aggrandizing remarks. Of course, since Anderson does that character’s voice, this means we really hear the director for the entire commentary. The BHG moments are brief and reasonably amusing.
It’s slightly hidden, but if you check under “Set Up”, you’ll find a 5.1 sound effects track. This allows you to watch the movie with just its sound effects active. It’s a cool way to check out that material.
Two featurettes follow. Inventing the Robinsons lasts 17 minutes, 55 seconds as it mixes movie clips, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Anderson, head of story Don Hall, producer Dorothy McKim, author/executive producer William Joyce, character designer Joe Moshier, composer Danny Elfman, musicians the All-American Rejects, Rufus Wainwright and Rob Thomas, and actors Daniel Hansen, Wesley Singerman, Ethan Sandler, and Laurie Metcalf. The show looks at the source novel and its adaptation. We learn about early development of the script, various aspects of the story, character design, voice casting, and the score and songs.
Since Anderson tells us so much in his commentary, some repetition here becomes inevitable. However, there’s not a ton of that, and the other perspectives add a lot. I like the parts about the source novel and its adaptation, and the character issues also receive good coverage. Overall, this is a brisk and informative show.
Next comes the six-minute and 20-second Keep Moving Forward: Inventions That Shaped the World. It starts with the wheel and then progresses through glass, the printing press, the telescope, the telephone, the light bulb, the movie projector, the car, the airplane, the TV, sliced bread, and the innovations of Walt Disney. This very fast-paced overview is clearly meant for kids. It’s a fun way for them to get a rapid take on various important inventions.
Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of seven minutes, 10 seconds. These include “Arriving in the Future” (3:09), “Meeting Carl” (2:09) and “Bowler Hat Guy’s Redemption” (1:36). “Future” and “Redemption” are really alternate versions of existing scenes, while “Carl” is an extended take on that sequence. All three are interesting to see, and they come with intros from Anderson. He explains why they changed the sequences.
Two music videos show up under “Music & More”. We find Rob Thomas’ “Little Wonders” and Jonas Brothers’ “Kids of the Future”. Both videos and songs are pretty forgettable. Actually, “Kids” is more annoying than forgettable, mostly because the Jonas boys seem like really irritating guys.
After this we get the Family Function 5000: Family Tree Game. This trivia contest throws out questions about movie characters. It’s not too tough if you’ve seen the flick, but don’t expect it to be completely simple.
The DVD opens with a few ads. We get promos for Enchanted, Disney Movie Rewards, Ratatouille, and The Santa Clause 3. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with clips for Return to Neverland, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, High School Musical 2, The Aristocats and SnowBuddies.
Meet the Robinsons seems destined to become one of Disney’s “forgotten” flicks, as it pretty much flew under the radar. It doesn’t deserve that status, though, as it offers a thoroughly entertaining little effort. The DVD presents very good picture and sound as well as some extras highlighted by an excellent audio commentary. I offer a hearty recommendation for this fun film.