Meet the Robinsons
Keep Moving Forward.
Walt Disney's 47th animated feature, released in March 2007 in standard and Disney Digital 3-D and based loosely on William Joyce's picture book A Day with Wilbur Robinson (though Joyce did have some creative input on the adaptation).
Follows the story of 12-year old orphan/child prodigy Lewis in his attempt to find a family, a journey that takes him 30 years into the future with the fast-talking Wilbur Robinson and in pursuit of the do-wrong, overgrown man-child Bowler Hat Guy and his evil, robotic bowler hat, hell bent on taking credit for Lewis's inventions.
Has some serious problems with Time Travel logic and yeah, it makes us scratch our heads. Despite that, it's one of the better non-Pixar Disney films in recent years. Your Mileage May Vary on whether or not it's non-Pixar though. Pixar and Disney were fusing while this movie was being made. As John Lasseter's first effort in touching Disney's animated films since becoming its chairman, he looked at it after it's first drafts were all completed and ordered 40% of it rewritten and reanimated. This could be a factor behind the film's positive critical reception as compared to its immediate predecessors.
The film had music by Danny Elfman.
There was also a console game that served as a midquel that mostly averted The Problem with Licensed Games. The game's plot expands Wilbur's efforts in trying to get the stolen time machine back from Bowler Hat Guy. When arriving at the Science Fair though, he accidentally alters the timeline drastically just by opening the door into a student named Stanley's face. As a result, Stanley and another student, Lizzy, become dueling super-villains, and Wilbur has to get his own time machine back from their forces in order to go back and fix things.
- Action Mom: Franny
- Actor Allusion: When Lewis asks Wilbur what his currently-absent father looks like, Wilbur lies and says "Tom Selleck" (made even funnier when the recently empty portrait of Cornelius has Tom Selleck in it). When Wilbur's father shows up at the end of the film, he looks nothing like Selleck, but he sure sounds like him... This is actually a kind of reverse Actor Allusion: the scene was written first, and gave the director the idea to offer Selleck the role.
- Adam Westing: Art
- Adaptation Expansion: The book is essentially the middle part of the movie with the searching for grandpa's teeth and the dinner. Time travel had no part in the book! A few things actually got cut from the book like several family members, a pillow fight and slumber party. The book itself was expanded shortly before the movie came out with stuff like the dinosaur and some totally new material that didn't even get to the movie like an indoor Snowball Fight.
- Adorable Evil Minions: Little Doris. To quote Bowler Hat Guy: "It's so cute!" ...For a spider-like robotic hat that can take control of animals' minds, that is.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Doris
- All Animals Are Dogs: Tiny the Tyrannosaur once the Mini Doris controlling him is removed.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The film uses "Hitomi Hiraite" by Mitsuki as the Japanese theme song.
- Exclusively Evil: All the Helping Hats. It is possible that each one is an exact copy of, or under the control of, the evil Doris.
- Arc Words: "Keep Moving Forward". Shown at the end to be a part of a quote by Walt Disney.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Carl lists the consequences of Wilbur leaving the garage door unshut - a time machine got stolen by Bowler Hat Guy, the time stream may now be altered irreparably, and someone took Carl's bike.
- Badass Family
- Bad Future
- Big Fat Future: Averted. Uncle Joe is incredibly fat, but he's the only one in the future we see who is.
- Big No: When Lewis learns of Doris' rise to power.
- Brand X: Bowler Hat Guy's binder features a cute sparkly unicorn with big eyes, which is sure to remind older viewers of something...
- Breakaway Pop Hit: Little Wonders by Rob Thomas.
- Buffy-Speak: From Bowler Hat Guy. "All our hopes and dreams are dashed like the many pieces of a broken machiney thing..."
- Bungling Inventor: Lewis at the beginning of the film.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Bowler Hat Guy aims to become one of these. He's not very good at it.
- Car Fu: Done with a train.
- Catch Phrase: Does Wilbur have one? That is an excellent question.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Tallulah
- Cyber Cyclops: Doris and all the humans enslaved by Doris in the Bad Future.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Bowler Hat Guy
"I know! I'll turn him into a duck! But I don't know how to do that. And I don't need a duck."
- Deadpan Snarker: Goob is one until he takes the advice of his future self.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Dr. Krunklehorn says "One of your students may invent the next integrated circuit, or microprocessor, or integrated circuit... Oh wait, I said that already!" in her introductory scene. Justified since she is sleep deprived and only awake due to her caffeine patches.
- Determinator: Cornelius Robinson. As Wilbur lets Lewis know, he keeps inventing until something works, even if he fails spectacularly hundreds of times in the process. His motto isn't "Keep Moving Forward" for nothing.
- Didn't Think This Through: Pretty much Bowler Hat Guy's main defining characteristic.
- Disney Death: Carl
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Doris the hat was the mastermind.
- Door Step Baby: Lewis
- Egopolis: The buildings in the Bad Future are all hat-shaped.
- Emotionless Girl: Lizzy
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even Bowler Hat Guy only wanted to ruin one kid's future, and never wanted to enslave humanity, as Doris ends up doing in the Bad Future.
- Executive Meddling: In a good way. When Disney bought Pixar and John Lasseter took charge of Walt Disney Feature Animation as well, about a third of the movie was redone to improve on the story. However, the old guard almost revolted at it and openly expressed to the press that they hoped the film would bomb.
- Expanded States of America (standard): It is implied that Canada will be annexed by the US and renamed North Montana.
- Fluffy the Terrible: The huge Tyrannosaurus Rex is named...Tiny.
- Food Fight: Complete with Japanese style, low budget, poorly dubbed lip-syncing.
- Forgiveness: Another example of the movie's motto of "Keep Moving Forward" and shows the dangers of holding a grudge. Case in point the Bowler Hat Guy aka Goob
- For the Evulz: One of the "to do" items on Bowler Hat Guy's list is "Ruin science fair".
- Freudian Excuse: Bowler Hat Guy has one. Doris the helper hat is just evil.
- Freudian Slip: Lewis calls Franny "Mom". Which gets slightly odd when we learn she's his future wife.
- Future Badass: In the dystopian alternate-future. You know they're Future Badass because the ladies all sport black lipstick. Otherwise, they're just hat-zombies.
- Gadgeteer Genius: AKA boy genius, child prodigy, whiz kid... Lewis graduates college at fourteen.
- Especially impressive when you remember that Lewis was adopted when he was twelve. Although it probably helped that his eventual adoptive mother is a scientist...
- Genki Girl: A scientist. Yes, really. The fact that she invented a caffeine patch doesn't help matters.
- Ghibli Hills: Surrounding the Future City, with the Robinson house on top of one of them.
- Gilligan Cut:
Bowler Hat Guy: *releasing the Dino* "Great, Doris will love this!"
- Green-Eyed Monster: The director's commentary states that jealousy of Cornelius Robinson is Bowler Hat Guy's entire motivation for his villainy.
- Hard Work Montage: Set to the Crowning Music of Awesome "Another Believer" by Rufus Wainwright.
- Happily Adopted: Lewis manages to find a family in the end. As the movie shows, he grows to love every weird bit of it.
- Goob looks well on his way to this after Lewis wakes him up in time to catch the fly ball and win the game for the Dinos.
- Harmless Villain: Bowler Hat Guy. Until he meets Doris, and even then he is hopelessly incompetent at being evil.
- Heartwarming Orphan
- Heel Realization / My God, What Have I Done?: The Bowler Hat Guy, AKA "Goob", upon seeing just what Doris planned to do to the world, with his help.
- Homemade Inventions: Because you can totally crack the hippocampus with a TV screen, a fan, a vacuum cleaner, a bottle of Mountain Dew and a Discman. Oh, and really comfy headphones.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Dor-15 appears to be this to Bowler Hat Guy for most of the movie. The truth is a lot more sinister: she's actually the one who's manipulating him in her own plan for world domination.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Doris
- Is It Always Like This?: Short answer: yes.
"Yesterday it was meat loaf."
- It Runs in The Family: What is "it?" Insanity, probably. And it runs in about four different actual families.
- Ironic Echo: "Take a good look around you; your future is about to change."
- Jerk Jock: Averted with Goob, whose evolution into a villain is only due to his constant dwelling on a painful event and subsequent refusal to keep doing what he loves, implied to be baseball. Played somewhat straight with the gym teacher, but even he acknowledges Lewis' achievement in the end.
- Just Between You and Me
- Kid From the Future: Wilbur Robinson
- Kids Are Cruel: Played straight when Goob loses the game by missing his catch and his teammates beat him up, calling him names. Later averted by older Goob's schoolmates, who are nice to him and invite him to "hang out". Unfortunately, by that time, he has spent so much time pitying himself that he's become too bitter to notice when people are genuinely nice to him.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Bowler Hat Guy's entire motivation for his time-travelling villainy is to ruin Lewis' life and his future as genius inventor Cornelius Robinson.
- The Man Behind the Man: Or rather, the hat atop the man.
- Meanwhile in the Future: Happens twice. At least.
- Mental Picture Projector: Lewis' Memory Scanner
- Midair Repair
- Mind Screw: As mentioned above, the writers' time travel logic makes no sense when you think about it.
- It'd work out a lot better if the Dinosaur didn't show up again when the family said goodbye to Lewis.
- Minion with an F In Evil - The Bowler Hat Guy a.k.a "Goob"
- Missing Mom
- Multigenerational Household: The Robinsons.
- Mood Whiplash: Hoo boy. Towards the end of the film, the sunny, idealistic Utopian society transforms suddenly into a bleak, polluted world controlled by evil hats. From optimistic future to zombie apocalypse in five minutes.
- My Future Self and Me
- No New Fashions in the Future: We have flying cars and robot buddies and bubblevators, but all the cool kids wear T-shirts, jeans and Converse All-Stars. Huh.
- Well, a few of the characters do wear Jetsons-like jumpsuits. But T-Shirts and Jeans have lasted out the better part of 50+ years, so there's no reason not to think they can do it for another 20.
- Aunt Petunia is a fashion designer, which explains her skyscraper hat.
- Nobody Here But Us Birds
Lewis: Will you quit that, please? I know you're not a pigeon!
- Obsessed Are the Listmakers: Bowler Hat Guy loves checklists and is often seen ticking off items in his, such as "Steal time machine", "Ruin science fair", and "Get that [comic book swearing symbols] boy".
- One-Scene Wonder: Future!Lewis
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bowler Hat Guy doesn't get a name until about 2/3 of the way through the movie, for spoileriffic reasons.
- Only Six Faces: A lot of minor characters have similar character models and even a few main character models are reused with Art's appearing in Midtown University and Franny's model also serving as Lewis' mother.
- Orphanage of Love: Lewis lives at one.
- The Other Darrin: Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry both voice Lewis.
- Parental Incest: Averted. It is kinda strange that his future wife almost adopted him.
- When she realized the truth she became pretty squicked out about it herself too.
- Pick Your Human Half: I think we all know what side Carl and the super-intelligent DOR-15 are on.
- Planet of Hats: ...literally.
- Please Keep Your Hat On: Wilbur literally invokes this with Lewis.
- Posters Always Lie: The poster at the top of the page gave the impression that Lizzy was a member of the Robinson family in the future when she's actually just a classmate of Lewis in the present who is only on screen for under a minute in total.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Bowler Hat Guy since he never let one childhood trauma go and thus kept a child-like mentality.
- Quirky Household
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory
- Retcon / Ret-Gone: Bizarrely, an in-universe example. Near the end, Lewis is about to be attacked by the evil robot hat Doris--who was angry at being locked up as a failed invention after she turned out to be evil. Suddenly, Lewis glares at Doris and says, "I am never going to invent you." She looks momentarily shocked before vanishing from existence. That's right, weaponized Retcon.
- Ridiculously-Fast Construction: There are Insta-Buildings in the future, skyscrapers that go from ground level to completion in literally a few seconds.
- Ridiculously Successful Future Self: Founder of the future, inventor extraordinaire Cornelius Robinson ...also known as Lewis.
- Robot Buddy: Carl
- Robot Names: DOR-15, pronounced "Doris"
- Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Certainly more on the Enlightenment side of the scale.
- San Dimas Time
- Science Fair
- Science Hero: Lewis
- Self-Made Man: Wilbur's father Cornelius Robinson is a brilliant inventor and industrialist who practically built the entire Utopian world of the future single-handedly.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Firmly idealistic.
- Stereo Fibbing: When Franny asks Lewis how he and Wilbur met.
- Stock Dinosaurs: When Bowler Hat Guy uses the time machine to fetch a dinosaur, it's a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Happens to Bowler Hat Guy. If the CEO of a large company, a talking frog, and a T-Rex all ask you if your plan was well thought out, maybe you need to improve on your villain skills.
- Straw Loser: Bowler Hat Guy doesn't shower, doesn't even bother to think his evil plans through, and initially couldn't think of any way of revenge more effective than throwing eggs and toilet paper at the Robinson Industries sign.
- Strong Family Resemblance
- Symbol Swearing: One of the "to do" items on Bowler Hat Guy's list is literally "Get that [grawlixes] boy".
- Talking to Himself: Ethan Sandler voices no less than seven characters, mostly among the Robinson family. Director Stephen Anderson is the Bowler Hat Guy, Grandpa Bud, and Cousin Tallulah. ...yes, a female Robinson family member has a male voice for no reason!
- Telescoping Robot: Carl
- Tempting Fate: When they're running away from Bowler Hat Guy and Dor15.
Carl: Haha! Look at that, boys! We're almost home fr-- (*harpoon through the chest*)
- Thirty Minutes or It's Free: Could be Uncle Art's catchphrase.
- Time and Relative Dimensions In Space
- Time Machine
- Time Police: Specifically, the Time Continuum Task Force. It ain't real.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: It's probably best not to even start on this one, not the least of which is the main character apparently has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, and is generally ripple effect proof entirely.
- Trunk Shot: Little Doris' last sight before being rubbed out by the frogs.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Morbidly obese Joe and Billie
- Unreliable Voiceover: When Bowler Hat Guy is recounting his backstory.
- Unwitting Pawn: Bowler Hat Guy to Doris.
- Villain World: The Bad Future mentioned above.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?:
Bowler Hat Guy: I know! I'll turn him into a duck! Yes! It's so evil!
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The second time machine seems to have been left in the present day. Nobody brings it up again, even after Cornelius notices that the time machines are missing from the garage.
- While Rome Burns: It's small and easy to miss, but Lizzy can be seen smiling evilly as she watches the chaos that ensues when Lewis' invention malfunctions.
- Wolverine Publicity: The female goth student in the poster above only has two lines in the film and appears for only about 10 seconds! Many of the Robinson family members were featured prominently in the promotional materials yet are basically background characters with no handle on the story.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the alternate future created by Doris, Lewis views a video of how it got to be that way. One of them was of Goob/Bowler Hat Guy protesting to Doris that it (i.e. her taking over the world) wasn't what he wanted, he is then swarmed by a mass of smaller hats who (offscreen) either turn him into a mindless slave or... (more strongly implied) kill him. Luckily Lewis reverses everything, so that never gets a chance to happen.
- Zeerust - Very fifties. Just look at the poster.
Tropes used in the game include
- Ascended Extra: Stanley and Lizzy.
- Bug War: Lizzy's giant ant robots serve as one of your primary enemies.
- Convection Smonvection: The "touch the lava and die" rule applies and only bursts from highly visible steam vents will kill you as well.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Prometheus, whose destruction ends up threatening the whole city
- Lowered Monster Difficulty: Especially after you get the invincibility and unlimited ammo cheats.
- Genre Shift: Main adventure is a Zelda-style game, with some quests including the Air Hockey/Breakout hybrid game of "Chargeball", the Super Monkey Ball like Protectosphere missions, and Dig Dug style puzzle missions.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sets the game's main plot into motion.