Disney’s new film full of imagination
It was heartening to hear children laughing at the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy Disney cartoon that proceeded “Meet the Robinsons.” The thing must be at least 50 years old. Then again, the contrast between such primitive animation compared to the computer generated extravaganza that made up the Disney circa 2007 feature film was impressive. The shared theme of the two pieces – “Keep moving forward” – was also effective.One wonders at why the contemporary Disney creators felt the need, with their obvious talent and creativity, to in any way rip off The Jetsons – or The Flintstones for that matter – to pay homage to their top man (old Walt). “Meet the Robinsons,” despite its lame title, is a fantastic piece of work, both in animation and in uplifting sentiment.Not so much about the Robinsons as it is about one particular orphan – Lewis – who never sparks much interest in potential adopters when he tries to win their affection by demonstrating his latest inventions. A young Einstein with crazy hair and thick glasses, little Lewis scares away couples who come to the orphanage in the market for a new family member. He expresses no interest in sports and accidentally douses them with globs from his runaway peanut butter and jelly gun.Lewis has a roommate at the orphanage – Goob – who, with his baseball fixation and minus his hollow grandfather eyes, is clearly a much better blueprint for normality in an adopted offspring. When Lewis takes his latest invention – a memory machine inspired by an urge to remember his mother – to the science fair, all hell breaks loose. A kid from the future shows up, as does a sinister man with stork legs wearing a talking hat that gets around with a flying metal claw. Sound a little random and silly? It is! But in a good way … The quirkiness of these elements along with the sometimes off-beat dialogue and character profiles are what make “Meet the Robinsons” so brilliant. The sinister man ruins the science fair for poor Lewis and the future kid – Wilbur – whisks Lewis away to the future in a time machine and inadvertently introduces him to his family – the Robinsons. Suddenly the plot involves talking mafia frogs, Star Trek-style transport tubes and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Don’t let all of this turn you off, though. Remember, this is animation. As the friend who accompanied me to the theater pointed out, we’re staring up at that screen for two hours in order to “suspend reality.”Much in the same way as “Back to the Future,” which, we must admit is one of our top-five flicks of all time, Lewis and Wilbur are faced with the task of keeping the past intact so the future and those who exist in it don’t suddenly vanish. In the end, “Meet the Robinsons” sends a useful message – especially to its younger, brighter eyed viewers – to never give up and continuing pursuing dreams in spite of the hiccups encountered along the way. Granted, it’s a little weird. But what else would you expect from a great imagination?