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Meet the Robinsons
Meet the robinsons.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Anderson
Produced by Dorothy McKim
Screenplay by
  • Jon Bernstein
  • Michelle Spitz
  • Don Hall
  • Nathan Greno
  • Aurian Redson
  • Joe Mateo
  • Stephen Anderson
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Editing by Ellen Keneshea
Studio
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date(s) March 23, 2007 (2007-03-23) (United Kingdom)
March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30) (United States)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million
Money made $169.3 million

Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 47th animated film produced by the studio, it is loosely based on the 1990 children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. The film follows Lewis, a 12-year-old inventor boy, who is whisk away by Wilbur, a young time-traveler, to spend a day in the future with Wilbur's eccentric family and uncover an amazing secret at the same time, while trying to prevent DOR-15 from destroying the future.

Directed by Stephen Anderson, the film's voice cast includes Anderson, Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Nicole Sullivan, Adam West, Ethan Sandler, and Tom Kenny. Meet the Robinsons was released in standard and Disney Digital 3-D versions on March 23, 2007 in the United States and March 30, 2007 in the United Kingdom.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On an estimated budget of $150 million, it earned $169.3 million at the box office.

Plot

Lewis is an aspiring 12-year-old inventor who grew up in an orphanage, whose energy and eccentricity has been scaring off potential parents. He works all night on a machine to scan his memory to locate his birth mother, who abandoned him at the orphanage when he was a baby. While taking the scanner to his school's science fair, Lewis meets 13-year-old Wilbur Robinson, a mysterious boy claiming to be a time cop from the future. Wilbur needs to recover a time machine that a man wearing a bowler hat has stolen. Lewis tries to demonstrate the scanner, but it has been sabotaged by the Bowler Hat Guy and falls apart, throwing the science fair into chaos. Lewis leaves while the Bowler Hat Guy, with the help of a robotic bowler hat named Doris, repairs and steals the scanner.

Wilbur meets Lewis at the orphanage and asks him to repair the scanner. Lewis agrees to do so only if Wilbur can prove he is telling the truth, which Wilbur does by taking them in a second time machine to the year 2037, which is extremely advanced technologically. When they arrive, Lewis realizes he can simply use the time machine to meet his mother; the resulting argument makes them crash. Wilbur asks Lewis to fix the time machine, and Lewis agrees on the condition that Wilbur has to take him to visit his mother afterwards. Reluctantly, Wilbur agrees and hides Lewis in the garage. Lewis accidentally leaves, however, and ends up meeting the rest of the Robinson family except for Cornelius, Wilbur's father and the main creator of most of the time's inventions, who is away on a business trip. Having followed Lewis, the Bowler Hat Guy and Doris try to kidnap him, but the Robinsons beat them back. The Robinsons offer to adopt Lewis, but change their mind when they learn that he is from the past. Wilbur admits to lying to Lewis about taking him back to see his mom, causing Lewis to run off in disgust.

The Bowler Hat Guy and Doris approach Lewis and offer to take him to his mother if he fixes the memory scanner. Upon doing so, however, they take Lewis hostage. The Bowler Hat Guy reveals that Cornelius Robinson is, in fact, Lewis's future self, and that he himself is a grown-up version of Lewis's roommate, Michael "Goob" Yagoobian. Because he was kept awake by Lewis's work on the scanner, Goob fell asleep during an important Little League game and failed to make an important catch that cost the game. Goob became so bitter as a result that he was never adopted and remained in the orphanage long after it closed. Doris is "DOR-15", one of Lewis's failed and abandoned inventions. They both blamed Lewis for their misfortunes and decided to ruin his life by stealing the memory scanner and having Goob claim credit for it, who will then have Doris be mass-produced. Leaving Lewis behind, they take off with the scanner. However, it is revealed that Doris tricked everyone, and that by changing the past, Goob has allowed the mass-produced Doris hats to enslave humanity and render the future post-apocalyptic. Lewis repairs the second time machine, confronts Doris in the past and destroys her by promising to never invent her, restoring the future to its utopian self. After persuasion from Lewis, Wilbur tries to ask the adult Goob to join the family, but finds that Goob has run away, apparently ashamed by what he has done.

Back in Wilbur's time, Lewis finally meets Cornelius face to face. Cornelius explains how the memory scanner started their successful career, and persuades Lewis to return to the science fair. Wilbur takes Lewis back, but makes one stop first: as he promised, he takes Lewis back to the moment when his mother abandoned him. Though Lewis approaches his mother, he ultimately decides not to interact with her, realizing the family he will come to have with Wilbur and others.

Wilbur drops Lewis off in his own time and leaves. Lewis heads to the fair, but en route wakes up Goob just in time for him to make the winning catch, saving the game and thereby preventing his villainous ways. He is subsequently adopted. Back at the fair, Lewis asks for one more chance to demonstrate his scanner, which this time succeeds. He is adopted by Lucille, one of the science fair judges, and her husband Bud, who nicknames him "Cornelius" and takes him home.

The film ends with a quote which reiterates the message of not dwelling on failures and "keep moving forward", attributed to Walt Disney.

Cast

  • Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen as Lewis
  • Wesley Singerman as Wilbur Robinson
  • Stephen Anderson as Bowler Hat Guy
    • Matthew Josten as Michael "Goob" Yagoobian, Bowler Hat Guy's younger self
    • Anderson also provided the voices of Grandpa Bud and Cousin Tallulah
  • Harland Williams as Carl
  • Nicole Sullivan as Franny Robinson
    • Jessie Flower as young Franny
  • Angela Bassett as Mildred
  • Adam West as Uncle Art
  • Laurie Metcalf as Lucille Krunklehorn
  • Ethan Sandler as:
    • DOR-15 (Doris)
    • Uncle Fritz
    • Aunt Petunia
    • Uncle Spike and Uncle Dimitri
    • Cousin Laszlo
    • CEO of InventCo
  • Don Hall as Uncle Gaston
    • Hall also provided the voice of the Gym Coach
  • Tom Kenny as Mr. Willerstein
  • Kelly Hoover as Aunt Billie
  • Tracey Miller-Zarneke as Lizzy
  • Joe Mateo as Tiny the T-Rex
  • Aurian Redson as Frankie the Frog
  • Paul Butcher as Stanley
  • Dara McGarry as InventCo Receptionist, Mrs. Harrington
  • John H. H. Ford as Mr. Harrington
  • Nathan Greno as Lefty

Note: The character of Lewis was voiced by both Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry. Daniel Hansen voiced Lewis at the beginning of the film's production, and when the studio needed Lewis' lines changed, they had Jordan Fry re-dub many segments.

Production

Stephen J Anderson
Director Stephen Anderson at the film's premiere

Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, production began in June 2004, and was scheduled for a 2006 release. During the film's production, Walt Disney Animation Studios' storyboard artist Stephen Anderson decided to direct the film due to his personal connection to Lewis, since they both grew up adopted.

The studio planned to adapt Joyce's style to the film, but due to his involvement stylistically in Blue Sky Studios' Robots, the style was slightly reworked. While still taking cues from his retro style, influenced by everything from Technicolor movies to '40s architectural design, the crew also took inspiration from the company Apple. Unlike their previous film Chicken Little, a film starring CG animals, the animation crew had the challenge to animate CG humans. They took inspiration from Pixar's The Incredibles when animating the characters. They also took inspiration from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, and from Warner Brothers cartoons to capture the 1950s aesthetic.

While the film was in production, The Walt Disney Company announced on January 24, 2006 that it would be acquiring Pixar, and as a result, John Lasseter became the chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. When he saw an early screening for the movie, he told Anderson that he did not find the villain scary or threatening enough, and suggested that he make some changes. Ten months later, almost 60% of the film had been scrapped and redone. The villain had improved and was given a new sidekick, a dinosaur chase had been added, and the ending was changed.

Release

Over 600 REAL D Cinema digital 3D-equipped theaters presented Disney Digital 3-D version of the film. In all theatrical showings, the standard version of the film was preceded by the 1938 Mickey Mouse short film Boat Builders and the 3D version was preceded by the 1953 Chip 'n Dale 3D short Working for Peanuts. The final credits of the 3D version were left two-dimensional, except for the names of those who converted the film to 3D.

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray versions were both released on October 23, 2007. Both versions feature 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, plus music videos, the "Family Function 5000" game, deleted scenes, and other bonus features. The DVD's audio commentary contains Anderson's narration, occasionally interrupted by himself as the Bowler Hat Guy. The Blu-ray also includes uncompressed 5.1 audio and a BD-J game, Bowler Hat Barrage!. A 3D Blu-ray was released on November 8, 2011.

As of January 2008, the DVD had sold approximately 4 million copies.

Soundtrack

Meet the Robinsons
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released March 27, 2007
Length 52:46
Label Walt Disney
Producer Danny Elfman
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Chicken Little
(2005)
Meet the Robinsons
(2007)
Bolt
(2008)
Singles from {{{Name}}}

The soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on March 27, 2007. It includes four original songs written for the film, performed by Rufus Wainwright, Jamie Cullum, and Rob Thomas. Contributors to the album beyond the Danny Elfman score include another track by Wainwright ("The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"), The All-American Rejects ("The Future Has Arrived"), They Might Be Giants ("There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"), and the Jonas Brothers ("Kids of the Future"). The track "Little Wonders", recorded by Thomas, reached number 5 on the Billboard AC chart and the top 20 in Australia and Canada.

The song "This Much Fun" by Cowboy Mouth, which was featured in the trailer, was not featured in the film or on the soundtrack. The song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was originally from the Disneyland attraction General Electric's Carousel of Progress.

All music composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Another Believer"   Rufus Wainwright 4:39
2. "Little Wonders"   Rob Thomas 3:45
3. "The Future Has Arrived"   The All-American Rejects 3:05
4. "Where Is Your Heart At?" (written by Rufus Wainwright) Jamie Cullum 2:23
5. "The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)"   Rufus Wainwright 2:35
6. "Give Me the Simple Life"   Jamie Cullum 2:04
7. "The Prologue"     1:24
8. "To the Future!"     1:16
9. "Meeting the Robinsons"     1:56
10. "The Science Fair"     2:47
11. "Goob's Story"     1:01
12. "A Family United"     1:37
13. "Pop Quiz and the Time Machine Montage"     3:45
14. "The Evil Plan"     4:13
15. "Doris Has Her Day"     4:58
16. "Setting Things Right"     6:00
17. "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"   They Might Be Giants 2:00
18. "Kids of the Future"   Jonas Brothers 3:18
Total length:
52:46

Video games

Disney's Meet the Robinsons video game is available from Buena Vista Games for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, and PC. The independent England-based company Climax Group developed their own adaption for the Game Boy Advance.

Cancelled sequel

Disneytoon Studios originally planned to make a sequel to the film, tentatively titled Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date. However, when John Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he called off all future sequels Disneytoon originally planned, including sequels to Chicken Little (2005) and The Aristocats (1970), and refocused on spin-off films and original productions.

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