As the credits for Disney's newest film, Meet the Robinsons, rolled, I was asked, "What do you think?" My answer at that point was I didn't really know what I thought. It kind of seemed like I had just been hit by a hurricane, whirled around, and immediately spat back out. Which sounds bad, but trust me, in this case, it isn't. The film is perfect for those of us with short attention spans because give it a second or two and it will be off in another direction.

If you've seen the trailer for Meet the Robinsons, you've seen the character (below, center) who talks a mile a minute, pulls up her sleeve to reveal a dozen caffeine patches, and screeches in her rapid-fire speech, "I've got the patch!" That's exactly the feeling of the entire film and when it's over, you just feel exhausted (which, again, is not a bad thing).

Meet the Robinsons

Lewis is a cute little guy who, when he was a wee babe, was left one night on the doorstep of an orphanage. With a penchant, nay obsession, for invention, Lewis constantly works on his "machines." All of which drives his roommate at the orphanage, Goob, to complete distraction. As evidenced by the dark circles under poor little Goob's eyes, that kid can't even get a wink of sleep due to Lewis' constant tinkering and resulting racket, all of which leaves Goob in a sort of walking-zombie state.

Lewis is uber-smart and he'd be a great addition to any family. He's cute and sweet too. But every time he has a meeting with an interested family, despite his obvious charms, he somehow manages to put them off and remains unadopted. After one such rejection (wherein he inadvertently spews peanut butter all over a peanut-allergic prospective adoptive parent), Lewis dashes to the roof of the orphanage to brood and meets Wilbur, a snappy kid who, in short order we learn is from the future.

Meet the Robinsons

And this, dear readers, is where the whirlwind-hurricane starts and wackiness ensues. Hold on to your hats and 3-D glasses, you're in for a bumpy ride. But ... if you can follow the plot, sort out the myriad characters, and hang on for that ride, it will all come together in the end and I think you will agree with me, is worth the effort.

When he gets to the future, Lewis meets a family by the name of Robinson (hence the film title) made up of the wildest assortment of people you've ever seen. There's a grandpa who likes to wear his clothes backwards, an uncle who makes intergalactic pizza deliveries, a mom with a bevy of musically-inclined frogs (including a Frank Sinatra-dreamboat kind of amphibian named Frankie), and Uncle Spike and Uncle Dimitri who live in pots on the front porch of the Robinson's house and seem to function as human alarms/doorbells. That's just a few of the relatives, the rest are all equally weird ... a description which here means not what one would normally think of as normal (whatever that is), but nonetheless, fun-loving, quirky, and full of a zest for life.

Meet the Robinsons

And then, there is the villain of the piece. A very amusing and inept guy whose relatives most surely include the classic screen villain, Professor Fate, from 1965's The Great Race ...if not Professor Fate, then Purple Pie Man from 1980's Strawberry Shortcake.

He goes by the name Bowler Hat Guy and is a lean and lanky fellow in possession of the swirliest comb-over this side of Donald Trump, and his sole aim in life seems to be to thwart Lewis and Wilbur's efforts to fix a time-travel dilemma. But much like The Great Race's Professor Fate, he's completely inept. Fortunately for us, the audience, he never lets failure get him down, and not unlike Wile E. Coyote, keeps on coming back for more. Though he never says this in the film, I know his mantra in life is the same as that of the quirky family Robinson, keep moving forward.

Jack Lemon as Professor Fate in The Great Race (left), Bowler Hat Guy (right).
Jack Lemon as Professor Fate in The Great Race (left), Bowler Hat Guy (right).

Don't expect the smallest kiddies to be able to figure out what's going on in this film, but it's my guess they still will probably enjoy the ride as there are lots of laughs and fun gags (look for a nod to Disneyland), 3D (who can resist that), and a great message that wraps up the end of the movie. And well, there's a dinosaur named Tiny and singing frogs. What kiddy doesn't love dinosaurs and/or frogs? (Be warned though, despite the frog's prominence in ads for Meet the Robinsons, their roles are actually rather small.)

Based on the book "A Day With Wilbur Robinson" by the author of one of my favorite children's books (Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures With the Family Lizardo), William Joyce. Meet the Robinsons is preceded by a rare treat, an animated short from 1953 entitled Working for Peanuts, featuring Chip 'N Dale who scam to steal peanuts from zoo elephant Dolores until Donald Duck (the zookeeper) intercedes. Not only is it wonderful to once again get a short before the feature film, what distinguishes it is like Meet the Robinsons, it is shown in Disney Digital 3-D.

Rob Richards at the Mighty Wurlitzer.
Rob Richards at the Mighty Wurlitzer.

If you decide to see Meet the Robinsons at The El Capitan in Hollywood not only will you get to enjoy the fabulous pre-film organ music played on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Rob Richards, you'll also get a quick in person hello before the movie starts from the movie's Lewis and Wilbur characters. To cap it all off there's an exclusive animation exhibit downstairs featuring storyboards, 3-D renderings, concept sketches, and original 3-D models from the film.

Now If that large popcorn doesn't quite hit the spot, there are tasty treats to be had next door at the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store. The featured sundae for this run is Tiny's Treat ... two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream, layered with hot fudge and marshmallow, chopped snickers, and dinosaur sprinkles, plus a Lewis and Wilbur pin. Early risers can also book a seat at the Chip 'N Dale Breakfast before the 10am show along with their ticket purchase. (Remember, Chip is the one with the brown nose - like a chocolate chip, Dale's is red. They appreciate being called by their correct name.)

Meet the Robinsons Studio Store exclusive pins (top) and assorted
merchandise (below left). Pirates III merchandise (below right).

Of course it couldn't be called a studio store without a selection of Robinsons merchandise; there are kid-sized t-shirts galore (no adult sizes), plush, toy camera, four different sets of pretty cute PVC figurines, all in affordable price ranges from $5 to around $25, and more. Plus there's even a small selection of Pirates of the Caribbean III - At World's End figurines for those of you already clamoring for the next high seas adventure.

Now ... one last thought, I always like to try and leave you with something to think about, so here's today's thought ... Meet the Robinsons has a lovely touch to it. The entire Robinson family, in addition to having never lost the inner child and knowing how to enjoy and make the most out of what life offers, knows that failure isn't failure. Failure is the only way a person can learn and grow. In the film that philosophy is mentioned time and again. I think it's a dandy way of thinking. Keep Moving Forward.

Meet the Robinsons

The source was one pretty inspiring person, and his original quote is shown on screen as the story concludes:

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long.
We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things
... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

- Walt Disney

The Details

Projected in Disney Digital 3D, Meet the Robinsons (with a special appearance by Lewis and Wilbur), and the 1953 3D cartoon short Working for Peanuts, runs through May 20th at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

El Capitan Theatre

Movie only:

Show times (subject to change, of course) are:

10am, 12:25pm, 2:50pm, 5:15pm, 7:40pm and 9:55pm.

General Admission Prices are:

Adults $13* | Child (3-11) $10 | Senior (60+) $10 | *$11 before 6pm

VIP Admission (includes popcorn, soft drink, reserved seat and no waiting in line):


Movie and Chip 'N Dale Breakfast:

Show time (Breakfast/Movie):


General Admission Prices are:

Adults $29 | Child (3-11) $28 | Senior (60+) $28

VIP Admission (includes popcorn, soft drink, reserved seat and no waiting in line):


Tickets may be purchased at the theater, via phone at 1-800-DISNEY6 (1-800-347-6396) or online at www.elcapitantickets.com with a service fee added for the latter two methods. (Groups of twenty or more may purchase specially discounted $9 tickets in advance, but this may only be done by calling 1-818-845-3110 as these tickets are not available at the box office.) Birthday parties are also welcomed at the same phone number.

The El Capitan Theater is located in Hollywood California at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard. Theater lobby-validated $2 (first four hours only) parking is available underground in the Hollywood & Highland complex (adjacent to the Chinese Theater) across the street.

Meet the Robinsons is rated G, for general audiences, all ages admitted.

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Sue Kruse may be e-mailed at her address, [email protected] - Please keep in mind due to the volume of e-mail she gets, she may not be able to respond to each note personally.

2007 Sue Kruse

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