Meet the Robinsons

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Keep Moving Forward.

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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[1] (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.

Tropes used in Meet the Robinsons include:
  • 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.
    • Played straight with international releases, where the "Tom Selleck" line is replaced by whoever's playing Cornelius (two exceptions being the Brazilian and Dutch releases).
    • There's also an Author Allusion, as Goob's baseball team is the Dinos, whose mascot looks an awful lot like Dinosaur Bob.
  • 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
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"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."

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  • 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. She had twisted Goob’s mind and made him turn evil…all as part of her plan to ruin the future and destroy her creator, Lewis.
  • Door Step Baby: Lewis
  • Dystopia
  • 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:
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Bowler Hat Guy: *releasing the Dino* "Great, Doris will love this!"
Cut to Doris, totally furious.

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"Yesterday it was meat loaf."

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Lewis: Will you quit that, please? I know you're not a pigeon!

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  • Not So Similar: Seemingly, Dor-15 and Lewis are friends, as they were both wronged by the same person. But it turns out Dor-15 had far worse intentions that Bowler Hat Guy did. And when the Bowler Hat Guy rightfully points out that Dor-15 hadn’t told him about her own plan until many dangerous Bowler Hats were produced. Unfortunately, Dor-15 more or less decides that Bowler Hat Guy is too narrow-minded simply because he asked that question and kills him. Furthermore, when Lewis decides to rewrite the future for the better and explains to the Bowler Hat Guy what Dor-15 is planning to do to him, she makes no attempt to “correct” Lewis and decides to murder him instead. Brutally.
  • 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.
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Carl: Haha! Look at that, boys! We're almost home fr-- (*harpoon through the chest*)

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Bowler Hat Guy: I know! I'll turn him into a duck! Yes! It's so evil!

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  • 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