Nice, clean family fun
Meet the Robinsons (B)
I read somewhere once that if there is a movie that parents can take their kids to, they will. It's pretty much true. I mean, why else would I have seen Pooh's Heffalump Movie actually in a movie theater? (By the way, it's more like Roo's Heffalump Movie, but I guess that wouldn't have marketed as well.) We parents of small children who love movies are starved for chances to feed our cinema jones. Which is why movies like Cars and Shrek are so great, because we can actually enjoy them, rather than enjoying the movie experience while merely tolerating the movie itself.
So anyway, Meet the Robinsons. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. Not Pixar-good. But not Heffalump-level schlock, either. The Robinson family is remarkably bizarre -- quite imaginative, in fact, with eccentricities you've never seen before. For example: a mother who trains frogs to become Rat Pack-like lounge singers, twins who live in flower pots outside the front door and compete to see which doorbell gets rung, an obese uncle who has an emotional breakdown if his toast isn't quickly coated with peanut butter. But these characters are buried inside a more traditional kids movie, and the main character, Lewis, isn't nearly so interesting. He's lovable and a genuis and all big-eyed adorable-nerd, but you get the feeling you've seen this kid before, and his troubles are pretty familiar.
As for the plot, it's straight out of the original Terminator. No, really. Bad guy time travels to stop future nemesis before he becomes an adult. Good guy time travels to foil bad guy. Throw in some Back to the Future-style manipulation of the space-time continuum, and voila!
You do have to kind of admire the idea of rewriting Terminator as G-rated animation, but in the end, I wished I'd gotten more than an introduction to the Robinsons* --- and to those scene-stealing frogs. My kids would have enjoyed it more, that's for sure. They liked the movie fine, but I think they were a little bored by the primary plot. They did like the frogs, though.
*Since it's Disney, I'm pretty sure we can look forward to Have Dinner with the Robinsons, Spend the Night at the Robinsons and eventually the straight-to-DVD Thanksgiving Weekend with the Robinsons.