Robots (2005) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voice talents of): Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear

Director: Chris Wedge

Why be you when you can be new?

This is the ominous and foreboding proposal from the new CEO – Rachet (Greg Kinnear) – of Bigweld Industries. Once the domain of benevolent and renowned founder, Bigweld (Mel Brooks), who has mysteriously disappeared from attending his usual boardroom meetings, Rachet now rules with an iron hand forcing through his own visions for the company. Working secretly in cahoots with his very controlling, manipulative and demonic mother, Madame Gasket (Jim Broadbent) who runs Robot city’s underground recycling plant, Rachet is hell bent on supplying it with as many outmoded robots that can’t afford upgrades. By phasing out the supply of spare parts in favour of expensive upgrades panic ensues amongst the city’s robotic populace.

Enter Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGreggor), our young hero who’s travelled to Robot City, Bigweld Industries to be precise, seeking a job as an inventor. Inspired by Bigweld on his regular TV shows he has high aspirations until he comes up against the dismissive Rachet. Rodney though has a big heart, plenty of nerve and determination and likeable personality but above all has an aptitude for improvisation. Meeting up with some other robots that befriend him, Fender (Robin Williams) and sister Piper (Amanda Bynes), he sets about trying to find the missing Bigweld. Then when word spreads through the city of his genius repairing skills he sets himself on a head to head course with the evil Rachet as hostility erupts into all out war.

Complete with MATRIX-style fighting and bolstered by a soundtrack that includes Britney Spears hit ‘…Baby One More Time’ and James Brown’s ‘Get Up Offa That Thing’ this is a very ingenious and entertaining movie. With enormous attention to detail the movie manages to immerse the audience into a world inhabited by robots instead of humans that face the same obstacles in life as their human counterparts, as Rodney Copperbottom and friends attempt to overcome the villainous Rachet and Madame Gasket in their pursuit for what is right – a very familiar theme in children’s movies.

Helmed by the very talented Chris Wedge who gave us ICE AGE and next year the sequel ICE AGE 2, the thrills and spills Rodney Copperbottom and his gang become embroiled in are amusingly delivered by the ensemble cast back up by an entertaining script and amusingly clever animation. The thought provoking world of this robotic civilization, who though robots doing functional/machine tasks are also individuals in their own right, will certainly keep the kids enthralled.

4 out of 6 stars