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Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry
Writing Credits:
David Lindsay-Abaire, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

With the help of his misfit mechanical friends, a small town robot named Rodney embarks on the adventure of a lifetime as he heads for the big city to pursue his dreams.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Opening Weekend
$36,045,301 on 3776 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS 5.1
Australian English DTS 5.1
UK English DTS 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Quebecois French Dolby 5.1
Danish Dolby 5.1
Finnish Dolby 5.1
Flemish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
German DTS 5.1
Italian DTS 5.1
Dutch Dolby 5.1
Norwegian Dolby 5.1
Castillian DTS 5.1
Catalan DTS 5.1
Swedish Dolby 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Greek Dolby 5.1
Icelandic Dolby 5.1
Hebrew Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 3/22/2011

• Audio Commentary with Lead Technical Directors Tim Speltz, Michael Eringis and Kevin Thomason, Layout Supervisor Robert Cardone, Animation Supervisor James Bresnahan, Animation Technical Lead Matthew D. Simmons, and Lighting Supervisor David Esneault
• “Voices of Robots” Featurette
• Music Video
• 3 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Robots [Blu-Ray] (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 19, 2019)

To me, no film better represented the early 2000s dominance of computer animation than 2002’s Ice Age. Prior to its release, Fox struggled to find an audience for its animated flicks. Efforts like 2000’s Titan AE and 1997’s Anastasia either underperformed or outright stiffed as they couldn’t make inroads into the genre dominance of Disney and DreamWorks.

Then along came the CG revolution and voila! Even Fox could pump out an animated hit. Ice Age mustered a tidy $176 million gross and spawned a slew of sequels.

In the meantime, director Chris Wedge went on to a different computer animated project with 2005’s Robots. The film opens with the “delivery” – assembly required - of baby ‘bot Rodney Copperbottom, the child of dishwasher Herb (voiced by Stanley Tucci) and his wife (Dianne Wiest).

As Rodney grows, he learns to accept hand-me-downs and other issues connected to his family’s tenuous financial state, but he maintains a dream. He sees robot mogul Bigweld (Mel Brooks) on TV and responds to the corporate dynamo’s vision of a society in which all droids can create and succeed.

When Rodney (Ewan McGregor) reaches maturity, he takes his inventions on the road and moves to big Robot City where he hopes to catch on with Bigweld’s company. Alas, all is not as happy as he anticipates, and he finds a corporation obsessed with profits.

Bigweld has been deposed by money-obsessed Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) and Rodney fails to get anywhere. He ends up almost on the scrap heap, but he makes friends with nutty Fender (Robin Williams) and his pals.

The rest of the movie follows Rodney’s attempts to succeed in the big city as he gets to know his new buddies and also eventually connect romantically with Bigweld executive Cappy (Halle Berry). In addition, see more of Ratchet’s insidious plans to take over Bigweld – and the world! – along with the real mastermind, his evil mother (Jim Broadbent) and watch as Rodney becomes a major cog in the battle against this plan.

Why did I even bother to write a synopsis for Robots? The paragraphs above imply that the film features a true narrative.

Not so. Instead, Robots ties together bits and pieces into this loose conglomeration of plot ideas. The story elements come across as afterthoughts, concepts created simply because the filmmakers figured no one would go to see 90 minutes of general animated goofiness.

Apparently their plan worked, since Robots earned a decent $128 million at the box office. That ain’t Shrek 2 - or even Ice Age - money, but it wasn’t bad for 2005. $128 million is more than this flick deserved, however, as it lacks the quality needed to make it a winner.

Like 2004’s Shark Tale - and the Shrek flicks, to a degree - Robots largely sacrifices story to serve its gags. This method works okay in the other movies because they manage to toss out some reasonably clever bits, and they offer enough charm and spirit to engage us.

That never happens in Robots, a film that clearly seems much more in love with its production design and secondary elements. The side bits overwhelm the movie.

From start to finish, the film comes across like a random conglomeration of gags with little coherence. It feels like the filmmakers thought up moments they saw as clever and built a movie around them.

This becomes “cart driving the horse” territory, and the actors don’t do anything to elevate the material. With a roster of many big names, the actors should have brought spirit to the flick. Unfortunately, they either get submerged by the tedium of the gags or they sound like they barely made it into the studio.

Put McGregor and Berry into the latter category. Both sound badly disengaged from their roles and give me the impression they’re on sedatives. No, there’s not much to either part anyway, but the lack of personality found in either performance certainly doesn’t help matters.

The same quality infects a lot of the actors’ work, and even the normally dynamic Robin Williams lacks effervescence. Williams does his normal shtick but without much impact.

Mel Brooks brings a little spunk to Bigweld, and Greg Kinnear delivers a certain oily charm to Ratchet, but otherwise the performances go down as bland and forgettable.

I have to say the same for Robots itself. The film had a lot of potential in its droid-centered world, but it rarely mined any of the material well.

I didn’t laugh once during the flick, and I think I only cracked a smile twice. There’s most robot cleverness and comedy to be found in any episode of Futurama than in this feature-length dud.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Robots appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this became a solid presentation.

Sharpness depicted concise and accurate images. I’ve seen tighter CG animation presentations, but the image remained well-defined.

No shimmering or jagged edges appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. In addition, the movie lacked any form of source defects.

To match the film’s metallic world, colors were somewhat subdued much of the time. Occasionally they became more dynamic and vivid, but a lot of the movie used a blue tint. Within that palette, the hues were good, and when the picture demanded more from them, they appeared lively and vivacious.

Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while low-light shots offered good delineation. This turned into a consistently appealing presentation.

The DTS 5.1 soundfield broadened the material in a positive way. With all the droids and silly scenarios on display, the movie offered many opportunities for vivid elements, and it took advantage of most.

The big scenes like the dominoes, the Robot City transport, and the climactic battle worked best. Others added spark as well, however, and the movie left us with a rich, involving impression.

Audio quality was positive. Bass response seemed especially appealing, as the film consistently presented deep, firm low-end.

Effects used that dimensionality well and created a good impact along with fine clarity and precision. Speech was warm and natural, and music appeared distinctive and dynamic. I felt pretty pleased with this mix.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio remained identical, as both discs included the same DTS 5.1 mix. I’m surprised a Blu-ray from 2011 failed to include a lossless soundtrack, so I dinged the disc points due to the absence of a DTS-HD MA affair.

Visuals showed improvements, though, as the Blu-ray came with stronger colors, definition, blacks and stability. This never threatened to become one of the all-time great animated Blu-rays, but it looked very good.

The Blu-ray includes some – but not all – of the DVD’s extras, and we find an audio commentary from lead technical director (effects) Tim Speltz, lead technical director (materials) Michael Eringis, lead technical director (layout) Kevin Thomason, layout supervisor Robert Cardone, animation supervisor James Bresnahan, animation technical lead Matthew D. Simmons, and lighting supervisor David Esneault. All those guys sit together for their own running, screen-specific chat.

As one might expect, technical concerns dominate the discussion. They get into character and set rendering, lighting, movement and design, alterations and techniques, and a myriad of different challenges.

Although I’ve heard drier commentaries, I have to say this one becomes pretty yawn-inducing before too long. I don’t fault the participants for this – it’s simply the nature of the subject matter, as such technical issues don’t lend themselves to exciting discussions. Folks with a great interest in the nuts and bolts of CG animation may find this track worthwhile, but I didn’t get much from it.

A featurette called Voices of Robots runs seven minutes, 28 seconds. It includes comments from director Chris Wedge, producer Jerry Davis, and actors Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Amanda Bynes, Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Drew Carey, Harland Williams, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jim Broadbent.

As expected, the show looks at the voice cast. A handful of decent notes emerge, but most of “Voices: just praises the actors and the film.

We get three deleted scenes for a total of seven minutes, 56 seconds. We see “Tim from the TV Show”, “Rodney and the Rusties” and “Rodney’s Visitor”.

The first is an extended version of an existing sequence and features finished animation. The other two offer incomplete scenes in which Rodney deals with his buddies; they use some crude animation and/or storyreels. None of these seem very exciting, though they’re fun to see.

We can inspect these with or without commentary from Wedge. He offers some nice notes about the abandoned storylines and other issues. He also lets us know why he cut the material in this useful discussion. .

A Music Video for Sarah Conner’s “From Zero to Hero”. The song is early 2000s dance pop, and the video offers a basic mix of lip-synch and movie elements. Neither inspires interest.

Robots concentrates so heavily on visual minutiae that it forgets to develop memorable characters or an involving plot. It looks great but lacks any substance to make it worthwhile. The Blu-ray offers positive picture and audio, but it drops too many bonus materials from the DVD. This release makes the movie look/sound good, but it’s still not a very interesting film.

To rate this film visit the original review of ROBOTS

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