Saturday, April 09, 2005

Robots (movie review)

A look and feel film: were it just a still canvas, you'd wonder what the reality would be like, and this movie spells it out, with lovable characters being heroic and villainous, per usual. The consistency of the visual motifs is still front and center though, the plot is canned.

Robin Williams shines as Fender and Halle Berry manages to be sexy even as a bucket of bolts (plus Fender's sister ain't bad). Mel Brooks plays the retired CEO tired of fighting for old school values -- until he meets the spark of idealism in the form of our young inventor-hero. Then he's ready to take his company back.

Obviously this is a film for kids, about making your parents proud, plus not having regrets yourself, by fighting hard for your dreams, never giving up etc.. Humor about flatulance is pushed to an extreme. The part about "making a baby" is clever (some assembly required). For the adults, there's a Manchurian Candidate vibe (a twisted mother-son dynamic).

In terms of creating a complete world with fantastic characters, it's not unlike Spirited Away, though not as warm. Interestingly, there's no hint of a parallel human world, i.e. this place is robotic to the core, so even though Fender looks like he's from that circus in AI, we have none of the tension which a human-machine conflict might bring.