The tagline of this movie is perfect... because it describes exactly what Meet the Robinsons means for the Disney Feature Animation studios... a step forward. Disney had been on a slide in the last few years... they were beginning to make cheap comedy movies with thin characters and story lines. I am happy to report that those days are over.
Now, I'm sure many are wondering just what kind of influence John Lasseter has had on this film... and I can report that it is all positive. This movie could easily have been just as pointless as Chicken Little and The Wild... it could have been another thin comedy... but it wasn't. Here we finally have somewhat of a return to Disney's old style, where they make the audience laugh but also have a deep story with real-life problems and great characters. And I am happy to report that the humor is actually made with wit! There are no fart jokes, no potty humor, and the sidekick characters don't annoy the heck out of you.
The first part of this movie, where we first see Lewis and Goob growing up at the orphanage, and then Lewis is whisked away to the future, is where all of my complaints lie. The beginning is very rushed, and does not give you a chance to really get to know Lewis or his feelings before he is whisked away into the future. And once he gets there, everything remains rushed. You meet the entire Robinson family in only about two minutes, and it's slightly overwhelming to have that much thrown at you. The opening of the future part is the part of the movie where you see what it COULD have been... a comedy that did nothing for you, and tried to overwhelm you with endless one-liners from wacky characters. But then the movie turns serious, the plot begins to unwind, and pace is much better. The characters become deeper and more realistic, their motivations and personalities shine through, and the storyline becomes absolutely fantastic. By the end of the movie, you really feel like you have been on an adventure. The main character shows hope, he develops and grows quite a bit through the course of the film, and there is a very uplifting message, from Walt Disney himself, to keep moving forward.
So, overall, this is great family entertainment. The animation is quite good, much better than most other studios, but I don't think it's quite as great as some critics have made it out to be... maybe because I didn't get to see the 3-D version. But for me, it was the story that made the movie. Combine the great story, witty humor, and fun animation, and you have a movie that is definitely a step in the right direction for Disney. The motto could not be better placed... keep moving forward, and keep looking for better and better films from Walt Disney Pictures in the future.