Robots (2005 film)

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Robots is a 2005 American animated science fiction adventure comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film is directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha from a screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire and the writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, based on a story conceived by Lindsay-Abaire, Ron Mita and Jim McClain. It stars the voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey and Robin Williams. The story follows an ambitious inventor robot named Rodney Copperbottom (McGregor), who seeks his idol Bigweld (Brooks) to work for his company in Robot City, but discovers a plot by its new leader Ratchet (Kinnear) and his mother (Jim Broadbent) to forcibly upgrade its populace and eradicate struggling robots, known as "outmodes".

Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Wedge
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Ron Mita
  • Jim McClain
  • David Lindsay-Abaire
Produced by
Edited byJohn Carnochan
Music byJohn Powell
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
Running time
90 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$75–80 million[2][3]
Box office$262.5 million[2]

Development on the film began in 2000, when Wedge and children's author William Joyce failed to adapt Joyce's 1993 children's book Santa Calls, thus scrapping the idea and instead doing a story on robots.

Robots premiered at the Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, on March 6, 2005, and was released in the United States on March 11. The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised the film's humor and creativity, but generally deemed its story and characters to be somewhat unoriginal and forgettable.[4] The film was commercially successful, grossing $262.5 million worldwide against a $75–80 million budget. A sequel was discussed but never produced due to the studio's heavier focus on its flagship franchise, Ice Age.[5]



In a world populated by sentient robots, Rodney Copperbottom, son of Herb and Lydia Copperbottom, is an aspiring young inventor from Rivet Town. He idolizes Bigweld, a famous inventor and philanthropist whose company, Bigweld Industries, employs other inventors and provides robots with spare parts. Rodney develops a small, flying robot named Wonderbot to assist his father, who works as a dishwasher in a restaurant. When Herb's supervisor confronts them, however, Wonderbot malfunctions and, in a panicked state, wreaks havoc in the kitchen.

To help Herb pay for the damages, Rodney travels to Robot City, hoping to present Wonderbot to Bigweld Industries. On his arrival, Rodney is ejected from Bigweld Industries by its new owner, Phineas T. Ratchet. In Bigweld's absence, he has ceased production of spare parts and inventions, prioritizing expensive "upgrades". Meanwhile, Ratchet's mother, Madame Gasket, runs the Chop Shop, a facility that recycles scrap metal into ingots for upgrades.

Rodney befriends Fender Pinwheeler, a ne'er-do-well who introduces him to a group of outmoded robots known as the "Rusties". Rodney and the Rusties help to fix outmodes throughout the neighborhood, but they are eventually unable to cope with the demand due to the spare part shortage. Hoping to enlist Bigweld's help, Rodney and Fender infiltrate the Bigweld Ball, but Ratchet announces that Bigweld will not attend. An enraged Rodney confronts Ratchet, who orders his security team to eliminate him. Cappy, an executive opposed to Ratchet, rescues Rodney and Fender. While Fender is captured by the Chop Shop, he discovers their plan to scrap all outmoded robots.

Rodney and Cappy fly to Bigweld's mansion, where Bigweld reveals that Ratchet's greed led to his resignation and refuses to help them. A distraught Rodney calls his parents, but Herb inspires him to fight for his dreams. Fender escapes the Chop Shop and exposes Ratchet's plot. Rodney rallies the Rusties, and Bigweld, reinvigorated by Rodney's spirit, joins them to stop Ratchet. Rodney and his friends return to Bigweld Industries where Ratchet tries disposing of Bigweld, who ends up being rolled into the Chop Shop. Rodney upgrades the Rusties and leads them in a battle against Ratchet, Gasket, and their army. Gasket is eventually flung into an incinerator and killed, and Ratchet is stripped of his upgrades and left chained with his father.

Taking back control of Bigweld Industries, Bigweld holds a public ceremony in Rivet Town, where he nominates Rodney as his new second-in-command and eventual successor. Rodney provides Herb with new replacement parts and a flugelhorn-like instrument to fulfill his dream of being a musician. Herb leads the townspeople in a rousing rendition of "Get Up Offa That Thing".

Voice cast

Halle Berry (Cappy), Greg Kinnear (Phineas T. Ratchet), Robin Williams (Fender Pinwheeler), Amanda Bynes (Piper Pinwheeler) and Honda's ASIMO robot at the film's premiere in Westwood, Los Angeles[6][7]


Rivet Town was rumored to be based on Watertown, New York, where director Chris Wedge lived during his teens. However, Wedge dismissed this in an interview.[12]

Initially, Chris Wedge and William Joyce had decided to make a film adaptation of Joyce's book Santa Calls. After a failed animation test in 2000, Wedge and Joyce decided to instead develop an original story about a world of robots. In 2001, the duo pitched the concept to 20th Century Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri, as a visual idea. Although not initially impressed, Meledandri agreed to greenlight the film and served as the executive producer.[13] The film began production in 2002, shortly after Ice Age was released. Wedge reunited with the crew from his first film, including Carlos Saldanha as the co-director. In June 2003, the film was announced by Fox at the American Museum of Natural History's IMAX theater. This announcement confirmed the entire cast and slated the film for its 2005 release.[14]



Robots was originally scheduled for a 2004 release,[15] but the release date was changed to 2005. The film had its world premiere on March 6, 2005, in Westwood, Los Angeles,[6][7] and it was released theatrically on March 11, 2005. The film was the first to feature the new trailer for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; it was reported that Star Wars fans went to see the movie just to see the trailer and hear the voice of Ewan McGregor, who also played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, as Rodney Copperbottom. The film also featured the exclusive trailer for Blue Sky's next film Ice Age: The Meltdown, then called Ice Age 2.[16] Robots was digitally re-mastered into IMAX format (IMAX DMR) and released in select IMAX theatres around the world. It was the first 20th Century Fox film that was released on the same day on IMAX and conventional 35mm screens. It was also the first IMAX DMR film released in the spring season, and the second IMAX DMR film distributed by Fox.[17]

Home media


The film was released on DVD and VHS in both fullscreen and widescreen on September 27, 2005,[18] was accompanied by an original short animated film based on Robots, titled Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty.[19][20] The film was released in high definition on Blu-ray on March 22, 2011.[21]



Box office


The film was released March 11, 2005, in the United States and Canada and grossed $36 million in 3,776 theaters in its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the box office.[22] It grossed a total of $260.7 million worldwide: $128.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $132.5 million in other territories.[2]

Critical response


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64% based on 184 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's consensus reads: "Robots delights on a visual level, but the story feels like it came off an assembly line."[23] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 64 out of 100 based on 33 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[24] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an "A" on a scale of A+ to F.[25]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, stating that "this is a movie that is a joy to behold entirely apart from what it is about. It looks happy, and, more to the point, it looks harmonious."[26]

Caroline Westbrook of Empire magazine gave the film a three stars out of five, and said, "Kids will love it and their adult companions will be warmly entertained—but it's far from a computer-animated classic."[27]

Rob Mackie of The Guardian gave the film three stars out of five, saying that it "skillfully combines adult and kids' comedy. But For all the imaginative splendours and a sharp script, Robots is never quite as distinctive as its predecessor, Ice Age."[28]

Common Sense Media gave the film four stars out of five, calling it an "endearing 'follow your dreams' story with plenty of laughs".[29]



Robots won an ASCAP award in the category of top box-office films. The movie received two Annie Award nominations (Outstanding Character Design in a Feature Production and Outstanding Production Design in an Animated Feature Production; both for William Joyce and Steve Martino for the latter) and two Kids' Choice Award nominations (Favorite Animated Movie and Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie for Robin Williams's performance as Fender). Robots was also nominated for a Teen Choice Award (Choice Movie: Animated/Computer Generated) and a Visual Effects Society Award.[citation needed]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:




Robots: Original Motion Picture Score
Film score by
ReleasedMarch 15, 2005 (2005-03-15)
LabelVarèse Sarabande
Fox Music

Robots: Original Motion Picture Score was composed by John Powell and was released on March 15, 2005, by Varèse Sarabande and Fox Music.[31][32]

2."Rivet Town Parade"0:54
3."Bigweld TV / Creating Wonderbot"2:45
4."Wonderbot Wash"2:08
5."Train Station"3:50
6."Crosstown Express"1:19
7."Wild Ride"1:36
8."Madame Gasket"1:00
9."Chop Shop"1:50
10."Meet The Rusties"2:06
11."Bigweld Workshop"3:13
12."Phone Booth"1:29
13."Gathering Forces"3:28
15."Deciding to Fight Back"1:13
16."Attack of the Sweepers"1:26
17."Butt Whoopin'"3:42
19."Dad's Dream"1:25
Total length:43:41
Other songs in the film include

Video game


A video game based on the film was released on February 24, 2005, for the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows. It was developed by Eurocom for the consoles and PC, and by Griptonite Games for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. It was published by Vivendi Universal Games. The game would receive mixed to average reviews from critics.[33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty


Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty is a five-minute computer-animated film that is included as a bonus feature on the DVD and Asian Blu-ray releases of Robots, and is a prequel to the film, as it takes place during Fender's arrival in Robot City. In the short, Aunt Fanny/Fan gives a tour of the Robot City Train Station to a motley collection of robots, including Fender Pinwheeler, Zinc, Tammy, Hacky and an Old Lady-Bot.[19][20] It is not included on either the US nor European Blu-ray releases (possibly due to a request from the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to remove the short from the Australian DVD release, for they gave the short a PG rating).

Possible sequel


Following its release, both Wedge and Joyce have expressed interest in doing a sequel.[42][43]

In light of the Release the Snyder Cut movement and the closure of Blue Sky Studios, a movement to release a director's cut of Robots has gained traction.[44] A proposed director's cut was first mentioned on the film's original DVD audio commentary with Wedge and Joyce, in which Wedge said that there would be alternate takes in certain scenes, and that Cappy would have been more fleshed out.[45]


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