Monday, March 07, 2005


This film is ingenious, in the way the story narrates and transplant everyday life and events, into their robotic equivalent. It brings the phrase "Giving birth after 12 hours of labour" to a new dimension, and so we begin, with the birth of robot "Rodney Copperbottom".

While growing up in Rivet Town suburb, he experiences the simple life, living with "hand-me-down" spare parts and upgrade pieces from relatives, before realizing his dream and ambition of becoming an inventor, just like his idol Big Weld, a fuddly duddly corporate big wig, who cares about the robotic society, giving it back to it, and encouraging everyone to live their dream.

But all's not well when Rodney visits the big city - his idol has become a recluse, and the corporation he left has become the exact opposite from what it was founded - profits and the bottom line matters, and something sinister is brewing between the new CEO and his mum, who runs the city's smelting plant. The narrative seems suspiciously familiar that point on, like you've seen it before somewhere, but the robotic premise breathes new life into recycled themes.

The themes in the movie are never fully developed, partly because it's supposed to be enjoyed by children as well, and also because it clocks in at a relatively short 90 minutes. Themes like corporate responsibility, living your dreams, and consumerism - the need to perpetually upgrade even when you don't have a need to. Perhaps with more time, and if wanting to veer into those direction, we'll get more beef, but I must remind myself, this is essentially a children's film - nothing to deep please to get a kid's attention span.

There are beautiful set action pieces with everything happening at the same time, and robotic animation that look so real, you thought they actually built the robots for this film!

While there are big names who lent their voices to this film, Robin Williams stands out (as always) and is a riot in this one. From the minute he begins, he is an absolute scene stealer, right up until the finale scene, though I must add that it does seem a little muted, given that he only has his voice to bring his wit across, rather than experiencing the full repetoire of what Robin is capable of!

The music in this film plays an important part in the narrative as well, and at times, contribute a lot to the slapstick scenarios. From Baby One More Time to Right Thurr, the filmmakers have picked the right hits for the right moments for maximum effect.

Though the ending, like all cartoons, are happily ever afters, I felt a sad tinge of disappointment at the lack of what I felt was the norm of animation film these days - no blooper clips or easter eggs, nor fancy end credits for this film. Kind of an anti-climax after a fun rip-roaring session, lacking an encore.

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