Disney Marathon: ‘Meet the Robinsons’

I’ve never seen this movie before. Previously I didn’t intend to watch it. But now I have, and I think it’s fair to say that I’m not going to watch it again.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 40 year old blogger), my son Josh (10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 8 year old princess) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: Meet the Robinsons

Released: 2007

Director: Stephen Anderson

Cast: Jordan Fry, Wesley Singerman, Stephen Anderson, Harland Williams, Nicole Sullivan, Angela Bassett, Adam West, Laurie Metcalf, Ethan Sandler, Tom Selleck

Plot: Lewis is an orphan and an inventor looking for a family. After creating a memory scanning device, Lewis meets Wilbur, who takes him to the future in a bid to stop a sinister stranger from stealing his invention.

Review: I know that plot summary feels like it’s missing a few key connective elements, I know that you think something is lost in my summary. Here we can identify the biggest problem that the movie faces – we don’t know what the story is. We see things happening, like Wilbur (Singerman) taking Lewis (Fry) to the future to meet his family of weirdos. While this is happening, the evil ‘Bowling Hat Guy’ (Anderson) and his evil robot hat are travelling around stealing inventions and trying to sell them to corporations.

What we don’t learn into the very end of the movie is why anyone is doing any of this. Throughout the entire movie we don’t know why Wilbur considers Lewis and his inventions to be important, we don’t know why an evil man and his hat are trying to steal things and we don’t know why Lewis has to hide his identity from the future Robinson family. The only motivation we’re made aware of is Lewis’s drive to build a memory scanning machine to find out who his mother was. I mean, it’s all very obvious where they’re going with this, but the film-makers are fixated with only revealing the actual story at the very, very end. Maybe they’d all gotten really into Shyamalan movies and decided the only way to do something clever is to pull out a big game changing twist in the final act. As much as I dislike Shyamalan as a film-maker, at least his characters are driven by something outside of the twist. This movie is just padding until they get to the twist. Literally padding, as some of the background artists got really into the clone tool.

When we do get to the end we learn what we’ve all put together already. Wilbur is Lewis’s son from the future and his whacky family is destined to be his own family. His inventions connected him to his adoptive parents so he can’t have his invention stolen. The Bowler Hat Guy was room-mate of Lewis in the orphanage as a child as his life was ruined by sleep deprivation caused by the madcap inventing going on all night. All this comes tumbling out in the final act before they hammer home the moral of being an oddball inventor to make for a better future.

This brings us to the second weird thing about this movie, this being Disney attempting to do this exact story again only eight years later and created an even more confusing movie, which bombed just as hard. That movie is Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. They both draw upon the art style and artistic vision of the ‘Tomorrowland’ section of the Disneyland parks, and they both feature bright but ignored aspirational children who meet a person from another dimension/time who takes them there, but that version of reality is in danger unless the hero can be given hope for the future. This movies are so weirdly similar, and they both fail to capture the ambition and inspiration of Walt Disney.

It’s a shame because I like the inspiration that both movies draw upon, they just failed to inspire audiences the same way. Walt Disney’s vision of what ‘Tomorrowland’ could be, and how it can inspire people to work for a better future, is a timeless idea. Ironic, because time and time again the Disney company have failed to engage audiences with it. So they just add Star Wars rides.

Art design of the future world is solid, thank goodness they didn’t fumble this part of the movie otherwise it’ll feel especially pointless. The pseudo-Atomic Punk style of the buildings and fashion is really fun and captures the look of the original ‘Tomorrowland’ really well. Ideas like bubble transport systems are fun. It’s a shame that we only get a fly-over view of this world before we get stuck in the Robinsons’ house for the majority of the movie. At this house everyone is whacky.

The most pressing question is, again, why any of this happens or matters. There’s a guy with a bunch of little cannons, a girls with a model city on her head, dancing grandmother, a woman with singing frogs…none of it serves any purpose. I can’t remember any of their names or what they did in the movie, everyone is just quirky for the sake of quirky, as though this ‘randomness’ will make them appealing. There’s a bit where they all start fighting with a grain filter over the movie like it’s a Tarantino parody or something, but there’s no punchline or point to any of it. It was fun or clever we’d have enjoyed it more, but it doesn’t go anywhere. The only one we distinctly remember is the superhero one, and that’s only because he was voiced by Adam West.

So we didn’t have a story to get invested in, we’re only expected to be tickled by the quirky characters and then inspired by them. But they didn’t endear themselves to us, nor inspire us to do anything other than find something better to watch.

Something where the robots don’t have weird, fleshy human lips. WHY?! IT’S SO GROSS LOOKING!

Best Song: Were there songs? I don’t remember any…

Coolest Easter Egg: When they fly through the city of the future there’s a sign declaring it to be named ‘Todayland’, referencing the section of Disneyland that inspired the movie.

This one is small, but future Lewis points at young Lewis using the ‘Disney Point’. That’s a thing.

Weirdest Trivia: For some reason, if you have a copy of the DVD lying around, you can choose to watch the movie without dialogue the soundtrack. You just get the sound effects playing in 5:1 surround sound.

I have no idea why.

Rating: TWO out of TEN



The plot-hole laden mess of a story is hinged entirely on a twist that is easily predicted, the jokes land flat and none of the characters a memorable. To the bottom of the list!

Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Aladdin
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. The Lion King
  6. Wreck-It Ralph
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Moana
  10. Big Hero 6
  11. Lilo & Stitch
  12. The Great Mouse Detective
  13. The Little Mermaid
  14. Frozen
  15. Tangled
  16. The Sword in the Stone
  17. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  18. Enchanted
  19. Mulan
  20. Raya and the Last Dragon
  21. Cinderella
  22. Emperor’s New Groove
  23. Fantasia
  24. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  25. The Three Caballeros
  26. The Jungle Book
  27. Fun and Fancy Free
  28. Sleeping Beauty
  29. The Princess and the Frog
  30. Hercules
  31. The Rescuers
  32. Oliver & Company
  33. The Aristocats
  34. Saludos Amigos
  35. Home on the Range
  36. Bolt
  37. Dinosaur
  38. The Fox and the Hound
  39. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  40. Pocahontas
  41. A Goofy Movie
  42. Tarzan
  43. Fantasia 2000
  44. Treasure Planet
  45. Meet the Robinsons
  46. The Wild
  47. Chicken Little


Usually we need to give Amelia a day or two to sort out her reaction to a movie. She generally feels good about any new movie and we wait to see how she feels after she’s slept on it. Not this time, she was voicing her displeasure half way through.

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Frozen
  3. Moana
  4. Tangled
  5. The Little Mermaid
  6. The Rescuers
  7. Emperor’s New Groove
  8. Zootopia
  9. Lilo & Stitch
  10. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  11. The Great Mouse Detective
  12. Home on the Range
  13. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  14. Mulan
  15. Hercules
  16. Alice in Wonderland
  17. Cinderella
  18. Wreck-It Ralph
  19. Bolt
  20. Pocahontas
  21. Enchanted
  22. Dinosaur
  23. The Aristocats
  24. The Princess and the Frog
  25. Robin Hood
  26. The Jungle Book
  27. Fantasia 2000
  28. The Lion King
  29. Beauty and the Beast
  30. The Three Caballeros
  31. The Fox and the Hound
  32. The Sword in the Stone
  33. Saludos Amigos
  34. Tarzan
  35. Oliver & Company
  36. Aladdin
  37. Treasure Planet
  38. Big Hero 6
  39. Fun and Fancy Free
  40. Sleeping Beauty
  41. A Goofy Movie
  42. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  43. Meet the Robinsons
  44. Chicken Little
  45. Fantasia


I don’t think Josh is going to return to this one…but he did really like the dinosaur bit. That was pretty funny.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Raya and the Last Dragon
  4. Aladdin
  5. Emperor’s New Groove
  6. Treasure Planet
  7. Moana
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  9. The Three Caballeros
  10. Saludos Amigos
  11. Wreck-It Ralph
  12. The Rescuers
  13. Frozen
  14. Mulan
  15. The Princess and the Frog
  16. The Lion King
  17. Lilo & Stitch
  18. The Jungle Book
  19. Robin Hood
  20. Bolt
  21. The Sword in the Stone
  22. Beauty and the Beast
  23. Oliver & Company
  24. Sleeping Beauty
  25. Tangled
  26. The Great Mouse Detective
  27. Cinderella
  28. The Little Mermaid
  29. Meet The Robinsons
  30. Enchanted
  31. Home on the Range
  32. Pocahontas
  33. A Goofy Movie
  34. The Aristocats
  35. Fantasia
  36. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  37. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  38. Fun and Fancy Free
  39. The Fox and the Hound
  40. Fantasia 2000
  41. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  42. Dinosaur
  43. Hercules
  44. Tarzan
  45. Alice in Wonderland
  46. The Wild
  47. Chicken Little