By Elizabeth Valerio
When I first saw the commercials for “Meet the Robinsons” I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my cheeks. A dark haired cartoon character, clad in a lab coat, speaks in rushed high-pitched tones about the caffeine patch, her own scientific development, that will help wearers stay awake for hours. She’s fidgety and manic and screams when nothing is scary. I know you’ve seen it - it’s hilarious. So it’s clear that I would be disappointed to discover that this character is only featured in the film for less than five minutes and that Disney’s newest Pixar animated feature has failed yet again to join the ranks of the esteemed “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.”
“Meet the Robinsons” chronicles the story of Lewis, a stubborn 12-year-old orphan, abandoned by his mother as an infant. He is a bespectacled brilliant nerd with spiky blonde hair and a love of inventing gadgets. In a quest to identify and find his mother, Lewis cleverly designs the Memory Scanner, a device that will dig deep into his brain and collect an image of his mother. Just after its completion, the project is stolen by a creepy villain in a bowler hat, eager to ruin Lewis’ life, although the two have never met. What transpires is a series of kooky characters, including the soccer-team sized Robinson family, a prehistoric monster (also featured in the TV trailer, also comical) and a couple of time machines.
We finally learn that the disturbing capped man is in fact Lewis’ roommate, Goob, looking older and quite sullen since he is in fact from the future. Lewis wasn’t always so accommodating of his roommate, often keeping him up late with his loud experimenting and as a result, Goob wants to punish Lewis for always making him sleepy. A tired state cost him the winning catch in his little-league championship, and he’s never quite put it behind him. Granted, this explanation doesn’t come until the final 20 minutes of the film, rendering the first hour confusing and unfulfilling (with the exception of the caffeine patch stunt).
There were some funny scenes, but they were few and far apart. Most of my theater time was spent puzzling—what is happening? Why is Lewis in the time machine again? Who is the kid with the black hair? Too many questions for an hour and a half Disney flick, a sure film to skip.