Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is loosely based on the 1990 children's book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. The film was directed by Stephen J. Anderson (in his feature directorial debut) and produced by Dorothy McKim, from a screenplay that Anderson co-wrote with Don Hall, Nathan Greno, Joe Mateo, Jon Bernstein, Michelle Spitz, and Aurian Redson. The film stars the voices of Daniel Hansen, Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Laurie Metcalf, Nicole Sullivan, Adam West, Ethan Sandler, Tom Kenny, and Anderson. It follows an orphaned 12-year-old inventor, Lewis, who is desperate to be adopted. He meets Wilbur, a young time-traveler who takes him to the year 2037 to visit an eccentric family, the Robinsons. They must prevent a mysterious bowler-hatted man from changing Lewis' fate, and, by proxy, the future.
|Meet the Robinsons|
|Directed by||Stephen Anderson|
|Based on||A Day with Wilbur Robinson|
by William Joyce
|Produced by||Dorothy McKim|
|Edited by||Ellen Keneshea|
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures Distribution|
|Box office||$169.3 million|
Originally titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson, development of Meet the Robinsons began in June 2004, and was initially planned for release in 2006. At the time of the production, Anderson was confirmed as director due to his personal connection to the main character Lewis, as they both grew up adopted. Disney originally planned to adapt Joyce's style, before it was decided to slightly rework the style due to his involvement stylistically in Blue Sky Studios' Robots. The animation crew had the challenge to animate CG humans, being inspired by Pixar's The Incredibles, while the inspiration for the film came from Disney animated classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, as well as Warner Brothers cartoons, to capture the 1950s aesthetic. Disney's acquisition of Pixar in early 2006 led to nearly 60% of the film, including the villain and the ending, being scrapped and reworked. Danny Elfman provided the film's score, while artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Rob Thomas, The All-American Rejects and They Might Be Giants contributed to the film's soundtrack.
Meet the Robinsons premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on March 25, 2007, and was released in standard and Disney Digital 3-D formats in the United States on March 30. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise directed towards the animation and story. However, it was a box office bomb, grossing $169.3 million against a budget of $150 million.
Lewis is an aspiring 12-year-old inventor living in an orphanage residential house. His energy, eccentricity, and malfunctioning inventions scare off potential parents, so he works 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 he is from the future and needs to recover a time machine, which was stolen by a man wearing a bowler hat. Lewis tries to demonstrate the scanner, but it falls apart as a result of being sabotaged by the Bowler Hat Guy, throwing the science fair into chaos. Lewis leaves while the Bowler Hat Guy, with help from his robotic bowler hat Doris, steals the scanner, planning to pass it off as his own to an invention corporation; however, their plan fails when he cannot properly demonstrate it.
Wilbur meets up with Lewis and asks him to repair the scanner. Lewis demands proof that Wilbur is from the future, which he does by taking him in a second time machine to the year 2037, which is highly advanced technologically. Lewis realizes he can use the time machine to meet his mother, but a resulting argument causes them to crash. Lewis agrees to fix the time machine on the condition that Wilbur has to take him to visit his mother afterwards. At Wilbur's house, Lewis meets the rest of the eccentric Robinson family except for Wilbur's father Cornelius; the inventor of the time's technologies who is away on a business trip. Having followed Lewis to the future, the Bowler Hat Guy and Doris try to kidnap him, but the Robinsons drive them back. The Robinsons offer to adopt Lewis, but change their mind after learning he is from the past. Wilbur admits to lying to Lewis about taking him back to his mother, causing Lewis to run off.
The Bowler Hat Guy approaches Lewis and offers to take him to his mother if he fixes the memory scanner. Once he does, the Bowler Hat Guy betrays him and ties him up, revealing that Cornelius is Lewis's future self and that he is an adult version of Lewis's roommate, Michael "Goob" Yagoobian. Because he was kept awake by Lewis's work on the scanner, Goob fell asleep during a Little League baseball game and failed to make an important catch, costing his team the championship. While everyone else quickly moved on with their lives, Goob became so obsessed with the loss that he was never adopted. 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. After leaving Lewis in the future, they return to the past and successfully pitch the memory scanner.
It is revealed that Doris manipulated Goob, convincing him to mass-produce her in the past to enslave humanity, turning the future into a dystopia. After escaping the enslaved Robinsons and Doris models, Lewis repairs the time machine, confronts Doris in the past, and destroys her by promising to never invent her, restoring the future. At Lewis's request, Wilbur asks the adult Goob to join his family, but he flees in shame of his actions.
Lewis finally meets Cornelius, who explains that the memory scanner started their successful career and persuades Lewis to return to the science fair. Although Wilbur fulfills his promise and takes Lewis back to see the moment his mother abandoned him, Lewis chooses not to interfere, having realized he already has a family.
Wilbur drops Lewis off in his own time and says goodbye. En route to the fair, Lewis wakes up Goob in time for him to make the winning catch, averting him becoming the Bowler Hat Guy; he is later adopted by new parents. Back at the fair, Lewis asks for one more chance to demonstrate his scanner, which this time succeeds. Lewis is adopted by Lucille, one of the science fair judges, and her husband Bud, who nicknames him "Cornelius". Now with a clear view of his success, Lewis begins working towards his future.
"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."— The statement that ends the film, attributed to Walt Disney.
Cast and characters edit
- Jordan Fry and Daniel Hansen as Lewis, a 12-year-old boy genius who struggles to be adopted.
- Tom Selleck as Cornelius Robinson, Franny's husband and Wilbur's father who is Lewis's future self.
- Wesley Singerman as Wilbur Robinson, the 13-year-old son of Franny and Cornelius Robinson who is a young time-traveler.
- Stephen Anderson as:
- Bowler Hat Guy, a man with a personal vendetta against Cornelius.
- Matthew Josten as Mike "Goob" Yagoobian, the Bowler Hat Guy's younger self and Lewis' roommate.
- Bud Robinson, Lewis' adoptive father, Fritz and Joe's older brother, and Wilbur's grandfather.
- Cousin Tallulah, Fritz and Petunia Robinson's daughter and Laszlo's sister.
- Bowler Hat Guy, a man with a personal vendetta against Cornelius.
- Harland Williams as Carl, the Robinson family's robot.
- Nicole Sullivan as Franny Robinson, Cornelius's wife, Wilbur's mother, and Gaston and Art Robinson's sister. She trains her frogs to sing and is in charge of the family when Cornelius is not around.
- Michaela Jill Murphy as young Franny
- Angela Bassett as Mildred, the head of the Sixth Street Orphanage.
- Adam West as Art, a pizza delivery man with a superhero persona. He is Gaston and Franny's brother and Wilbur's uncle.
- Laurie Metcalf as Lucille Krunklehorn-Robinson, a scientist at InventCo. Labs. She is Lewis' adoptive mother, Bud's wife, and Wilbur's grandmother.
- Ethan Sandler as:
- Doris, a bowler hat designed by Cornelius Robinson to be a helping hat, but expanded beyond its intelligence and now seeks revenge.
- Fritz Robinson, Petunia Robinson's husband, Bud and Joe Robinson's brother, and Laszlo and Tallulah Robinson's father.
- Aunt Petunia, a hand puppet who is Fritz Robinson's wife and Laszlo and Tallulah Robinson's mother.
- Uncle Spike and Uncle Dimitri, twins who sit in potted plants in front of the Robinson household. It is unknown who they are related to.
- Cousin Laszlo, Fritz and Petunia Robinson's son and Tallulah's brother.
- The unnamed CEO of InventCo
- Don Hall as:
- Gaston, a stunt performer who is Franny and Art Robinson's brother and Wilbur's uncle.
- Gym Coach
- Tom Kenny as Mr. Willerstein, Lewis' teacher.
- Kelly Hoover as Aunt Billie, Joe Robinson's wife who likes trains, and have a Gru-like accent.
- Tracey Miller-Zarneke as Lizzy, a student from Lewis’ school who presents her fire ants at the science fair.
- Joe Mateo as Tiny, a Tyrannosaurus brought to the future by the Bowler Hat Guy who later becomes the Robinson family's pet dinosaur.
- Aurian Redson as Frankie the Frog, the lead singer of Franny's musical band of frogs.
- Jamie Cullum as the singing voice of Frankie the Frog
- Paul Butcher as Stanley, a student from Lewis’ school who presents a volcano at the science fair.
- Dara McGarry as:
- InventCo Receptionist
- Mrs. Harrington
- John H. H. Ford as Mr. Harrington
- Tracey Miller-Zarneke as Lizzy, Lewis's gothic classmate.
- Nathan Greno as Lefty, a one-eyed octopus and the Robinson family's butler.
- Joe Whyte as a reporter who interviews Lewis.
In addition, Joe Robinson is Wilbur's obese uncle, Billie's wife, and Bud and Fritz' brother who rides in an easy chair, his whimpers are provided by an uncredited actor. Also in the Robinson family is their dog, Buster, who wears glasses.
†Note: 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.
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.
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 edit
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.
Critical reception edit
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 143 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critics consensus states, "Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth." Metacritic reported the film had a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 27 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Realmovienews stated that it has "a snappy plot that demands close attention as it whizzes back and forth in the space-time continuum, touching on serious ideas and proposing some rather disturbing alternate realities. And the witty story twists are handled with rare subtlety and intelligence. In the end it may get a little weepy and inspirational. But it's so charming that we don't mind at all". Danny Minton of the Beaumont Journal said that "The Robinsons might not be a family you want to hang out with, but they sure were fun to meet in this imaginative and beautiful 3-D experience". Andrew L. Urban of Australian Urban Cinefile said that "Walt Disney stood for fantasy on screen and this is a loving tribute to his legacy". Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 10th best film of 2007.
Conversely, A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "Meet the Robinsons is surely one of the worst theatrically released animated features issued under the Disney label in quite some time", while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C" and said "This is one bumpy ride".
Box office edit
Meet the Robinsons grossed $25,123,781 on its opening weekend, ranking in second place behind Blades of Glory. Over its theatrical run, it grossed $97,822,171 in the United States of America and $71,510,863 in other territories, totaling $169,333,034 worldwide.
|Meet the Robinsons|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||March 27, 2007|
|Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology|
|Singles from Meet the Robinsons|
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", a parody of "Kids in America"). 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 which was located in Tomorrowland.
All music is composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted
|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|
|8.||"To the Future!"||1:16|
|9.||"Meeting the Robinsons"||1:56|
|10.||"The Science Fair"||2:47|
|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|
Video games edit
A Meet the Robinsons video game was published by Buena Vista Games for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, GameCube, Nintendo DS, and Microsoft Windows. England-based Climax Group developed their own adaption for the Game Boy Advance.
Cancelled sequel edit
Disneytoon Studios originally planned to make a direct-to-video sequel to the film, tentatively titled Meet the Robinsons 2: First Date. However, when Lasseter became Walt Disney Animation Studios' new chief creative officer, he cancelled all sequels in development at Disneytoon, including Meet the Robinsons 2, and ordered the studio to shift its focus towards spin-off films and original productions.
A limited edition Magicband was also released by the company to commemorate the 15th anniversary. On May 7th 2022, the cast and crew who worked on the film including Stephen Anderson the film's director/voice of Bowler Hat Guy, Jordan Fry, the voice of Lewis, Matthew Josten, the younger voice of Goob and Jessie Flower, the younger voice of Franny, reunited to celebrate the film's 15th anniversary by partaking in a 2 hour livestream on The Tammy Tuckey Show on YouTube. The event had been organized ahead of time. In 2023, the characters of Lewis, Wilbur, Bowler Hat Guy, Carl, and Lucille (in her young scientist judge form) appeared in Disney's centennial anniversary short film Once Upon a Studio, in which they were recreated using new CGI models. This was due to the original models not being animated for over a decade, as well as updates made to animation technology since the original film's release, with rigging and rendering being reworked so they could be used with modern technology.
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