Sunday, April 11, 2010
Robots. Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha (Directors). 20th Century Fox (2005).
This is a brilliantly designed and very funny film. Rodney Copperbottom(Ewan McGregor), is an idealistic young inventor who leaves his home to travel to Robot City to present his invention to Big Steel(Mel Brooks). When Rodney arrives at Big Steel Industries he finds that there has been a change of management and policy. Ratchet(Greg Kinnear) is running the company and no longer produces spare parts so robots can be repaired, upgrades only will be the business. Rodney ends up meeting a bunch of misfit robots and with their help uncovers a sinister plot. The story continues exactly as expected,it really is just an excuse for plenty of excellent jokes and fantastic animation.
The slim story is given as much attention as it can reasonably bear, the struggle between the out-moded robots and the villainous corporate schemers is done with zest and sentimentality is kept to the genre required minimum. A considerable effort is made to give Rodney some class of a personality that extends beyond "pure hearted hero", he remains the weakest aspect to the story other than corporate big wig with a heart of gold, Cappy(Halle Berry).
With he rest of the cast and in particular, Robot City itself, the creators unleashed a torrent of brilliant and imaginative design ideas and flowing, colourful animation. The cross town express on which Rodney and Fender(Robin Williams) cross the city is a stunning sequence of Mouse Trap style set of connections that is a kinetic joy to watch. The styles of the various robots are beautifully realised and the possibilities inherent in their various forms are fully realised. The jokes are fast and furious enough, nicely balanced with visual and verbal cracks, to keep the dead weight of the plot at bay. This is a wonderfully exuberant film, superbly and wittily animated, a pleasure.