Tuesday 18th January 2022

Robots (U)
Directed by: Chris Wedge & Carlos Saldanha
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

When it comes to animated films, there's no question that Pixar are leading the way (The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monster's Inc.) and that DreamWorks are probably in second place (Shrek, Antz). The battle for third place, however, is one that is largely masked from the public, as Disney, Fox, Vanguard and Blue Sky all do their best to produce some animated classics, often by teaming up!

Ewan McGregor voices Rodney
Ewan McGregor voices Rodney

First off the blocks this year, though is Blue Sky Studios, the people behind Ice Age. The last kid's film I remember reviewing was The Incredibles, and so it was with some childlike anticipation that I went to see Robots, starring vocal veteran Robin Williams, and Ewan McGregor, star of the forthcoming animated feature Valiant.

The story follows Rodney, a robot from Rivet Town who sets off to Robot City to put his skills as a mechanic to use as an inventor. However, upon arrival, he finds that the company who supplies spare parts to robots is under new management, and is now only offering expensive upgrades to broken robots. It emerges that this is all part of a dastardly scheme to get more robots to the scrap yard for recycling, and it falls to Rodney to repair the robots himself and bring the evil corporation back over to the light side.

As well as the two stars of the film, Robots features an incredible cast of famous actors and actresses, although I'm ashamed to admit I didn't recognise the voices of Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Jim Broadbent, Greg Kinnear, Paul Giamatti, Drew Carey or Jay Leno. I think that was partly because these don't have particularly distinctive voices, partly because the British people seemed to be doing fake American accents, and partly because the kid a few seats down from me decided to clap every three seconds throughout the film.

I did, however, recognise the cameos from Chris Moyles and Cat Deeley, although I suspect it's one of those scenarios where they cast a different voice talent for the same part in each country of release.

Unfortunately, despite the impressive graphics and cast, this film really fails to shine as much as its gleaming robotic characters. The plot is dull and unmotivating, the comedy is sparse and fairly lame and while there are several amusing touches littered about the background of the film, they are not much consolation compared to the dearth of full bodied jokes in the script.

Of course this is a film for children, and in my experience they're happy to watch anything with bright colours and silly voices for ninety minutes, so Robots probably won't disappoint them. But as far as an adult is concerned, well, let's just hope the strong British cast of pigeon-based Valiant will soar to greater heights than those of Robot City.

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Length: 91 minutes
Certificate: U
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 18th March 2005

Top Five Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)
User Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)

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