Animated film (2007). Walt Disney Animation Studios. Directed by Steve Anderson. Written by Jon Bernstein, Michelle Spitz and Don Hall & Nathan Greno, Aurian Redson, Joe Mateo and Anderson. Cast includes Jordan Fry and Wesley Singerman. 91 minutes. Colour.
Lewis (Fry) is a twelve-year-old orphan whose catastrophic Inventions scare off prospective adoptive parents, leading to knockabout comedy in which the hapless young inventor ultimately triumphs over adversity and finds a family. Following his creation of a memory scanner (which acts as the film's central McGuffin), things become very odd indeed. In swift succession Lewis meets a young boy (Singerman) who claims to be a policeman from the future; is menaced by a Gothic villain, the Bowler Hat Guy (whose hat turns out to be a Robot called Doris); and finds himself in an invisible flying car that doubles as a Time Machine. Events become even more hectic as he is flung into the future and meets the titular Robinson family in a deeply surreal sequence that is reminiscent of the gonzo vigour of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) (see Roald Dahl). Anderson then throws the kitchen sink into the mix: meatball cannons, a Rat Pack composed of frogs, a fight between a giant squid butler and a Tyrannosaurus rex (see Dinosaurs) and an irritating comic-relief refugee from Robots (2005). Unfortunately the wildly uneven script and unwelcome Disney sentimentality combine to water down this appealing strangeness. A rather better meatball-based example of the Edisonade is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009). [ML]
see also: Cinema; Children's SF; Humour; Time Travel.
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