With all of the negative comments about the floundering creative soul of Disney over recent years, there’s one bright glimmer of hope for me that would have been encouraging even if it hadn’t been recently announced that Disney was acquiring Pixar. And that glimmer of hope is the forthcoming animated film Meet the Robinsons, which is due out Spring 2007.
I think that most of the best Disney films come when they have choice, time-tested source material to draw from, and in this case their source material is the book A Day with Wilbur Robinson, by William Joyce—a fun adventure where a young boy goes to see his best friend Wilbur and gets a grand tour of Wilbur’s zany family.
Joyce seems to have a good relationship with Disney and was the creative mind behind Rolie Polie Olie, the computer animated show for preschoolers on The Disney Channel. One of his other books, George Shrinks, was turned into a traditionally animated series on PBS Kids. Both shows are favorites in my household.
Because of the simple plot of the Robinsons book, Disney has added quite a lot of detail to flesh out a complete movie storyline. There are also reports that the creative folks at Pixar have been doing some last minute touch-ups on plot points to clean up some things that have been lacking—yet another reason to be relieved at the proposed merger.
So according to the Disney press release, the story in the movie is about an ambitious young inventor named Lewis who creates a Memory Scanner that he hopes he can use to retrieve early memories of his mother and reveal why she put him up for adoption. Before he can use it, though, the dastardly Bowler Hat Guy steals it. Lewis then meets Wilbur Robinson who whisks Lewis away in a time machine where Lewis meets the Robinson clan and tries to hunt down the Bowler Hat Guy. In the process, Lewis discovers the amazing secret of his future family.
I do have one concern about the story though, and that’s the story thread about adoption. As adoptive parents, my wife and I try to be as open with our daughters as we can so there’s no big surprise some day when they find something out. But I get concerned when there are stories or movies that introduce a negative stigma about being adopted—making it seem like adopted children are loved less because someone decided to give them away. I know from personal experience that this is not true. Both of my daughters’ birth mothers were very loving and it was no easy decision to do what they did. I can only thank them every day for the rest of my life. I’ll be checking this movie out before showing it to my daughters because I don’t want them to think that being adopted is bad.
Other than that, I think this sounds like a fun tale and a good family adventure. You can view the trailer online and see that the animation really looks top notch. I look forward to seeing this movie and hopefully having my concerns assuaged.