Robots (2005 film)
Robots is a 2005 American computer-animated science fiction adventure comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Chris Wedge, co-directed by Carlos Saldanha, and produced by Jerry Davis, William Joyce, and John C. Donkin, stars the voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey and Robin Williams, and features music by John Powell. Development on the film began in 2000, when Wedge and Joyce failed to adapt Joyce’s book Santa Calls and they decided to do a story on robots. The story follows a robot named Rodney Copperbottom who seeks out his idol at his company in Robot City, only to discover a plot by its new owner to cheat older robots into buying expensive upgrades.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chris Wedge|
|Music by||John Powell|
|Edited by||John Carnochan|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$260.7 million|
Robots was theatrically released on March 11, 2005. It grossed $260.7 million worldwide against a $75 million budget and received praise for its animation, humor and voice performances.
In a world populated by sentient robots, Rodney Copperbottom, son of Herb and Lydia Copperbottom from Rivet Town, is an aspiring young inventor. He idolizes Bigweld, a famous inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist whose company, Bigweld Industries, hires other inventors and provides robots with spare parts. Following Bigweld's example to "see a need, fill a need", Rodney develops a small, flying robot, named Wonderbot, to assist his father, who works as a dishwasher at a restaurant. When Herb's supervisor Mr. Gunk confronts them, Wonderbot malfunctions and wreaks havoc in the kitchen.
To help Herb pay for the damages, Rodney decides to move to Robot City, hoping to present Wonderbot to Bigweld Industries. Upon his arrival at Robot City, Rodney is ejected from Bigweld Industries by the company's current head Phineas T. Ratchet, who, in Bigweld's absence, has stopped producing spare parts and inventions in favor of expensive "upgrades", thereby "outmoding" robots who are unable or unwilling to pay for them. Ratchet's mother, Madame Gasket, runs the Chop Shop, a place that collects scrap and spare parts (and sometimes outmoded robots) and melts them to create ingots for Upgrades.
Rodney befriends Fender Pinwheeler, a ne'er-do-well he met at the train station. Fender takes him in to a boarding home populated by other outmodes, known collectively as the "Rusties". Word of Rodney's mechanical prowess spreads, and he is hailed as a local hero after he and the Rusties fix outmodes throughout the neighborhood, although they are eventually unable to cope with the demand due to the spare part shortage. Hoping to enlist Bigweld's help, Rodney and Fender infiltrate the Bigweld Ball – where Bigweld usually makes an appearance – only for Ratchet to announce that Bigweld will not attend. Enraged, Rodney publicly berates Ratchet, who orders his security team to eliminate him. Cappy, a Bigweld Industries executive opposed to Ratchet's plans, rescues Rodney and Fender. Fender is captured by a Sweeper, a vehicle that collects scrap metal and outmodes, and taken to the Chop Shop where he discovers Gasket and Ratchet's plan to use a heavily-armed fleet of Super-Sweepers to destroy all outmodes throughout the city in order to make and sell more ingots.
Meanwhile, Rodney and Cappy fly to Bigweld's mansion, where they eventually find Bigweld and tell him what has been going on. Bigweld reveals that Ratchet's greed and business sense won over his idealism in the management of Bigweld Industries, and orders Rodney and Cappy to leave. Crushed, Rodney calls his parents and plans to return to Rivet Town. Herb encourages Rodney to fight for his dreams, or he will spend the rest of his life regretting it like Herb did. Fender returns upon escaping from the Chop Shop and reveals Ratchet and Gasket's plot. Rodney rallies Cappy and the Rusties to stop them. They are joined by Bigweld, who has regained his resolve after realizing how much he and his ideals meant to Rodney.
The group returns to Bigweld Industries where Bigweld fires Ratchet, who ultimately knocks him unconscious, planning on melting him down as well. Rodney, Cappy, and Wonderbot rescue Bigweld from Ratchet and escape with the Rusties in a security vehicle with Ratchet close behind. Rodney unclips Ratchet’s vehicle to break free, but their vehicle loses control in front of the Chop Shop and Bigweld is rolled inside. Refusing to give up, Rodney upgrades the Rusties to rescue Bigweld. Rodney, Cappy and the Rusties battle Ratchet, Gasket, and their army of Super Sweepers alongside an army of outmodes that Rodney had repaired earlier. Rodney and Bigweld immobilize the Super-Sweepers and defeat Ratchet, who accidentally kills Gasket by knocking her into the incinerator while trying to escape. Ratchet is stripped of his upgrades, being left chained to the ceiling with his father.
Taking control of Bigweld Industries once again, Bigweld promises to make spare parts available to everyone. Later, he holds a public ceremony in Rivet Town, where he nominates Rodney as his new second-in-command and eventual successor. Rodney provides Herb with new replacement parts and a flugelhorn-like instrument to fulfill his dream of being a musician. After a shaky start, Herb leads Rodney, Cappy, the Rusties, Bigweld and the townspeople in a rousing rendition of "Get Up Offa That Thing".
- Ewan McGregor as Rodney Copperbottom, an idealistic young blue humanoid robot, and aspiring inventor.
- Halle Berry as Cappy, a level-headed executive at Bigweld Industries and Rodney's love interest.
- Robin Williams as Fender Pinwheeler, a troublemaking red blender-like robot who befriends Rodney and is constantly falling apart.
- Mel Brooks as Bigweld, an elderly sphere robot who is the jolly inventor and the owner of Bigweld Industries.
- Greg Kinnear as Phineas T. Ratchet, the treacherous, greedy right-hand-man of Bigweld, and Madame Gasket's son.
- Jim Broadbent as Madame Gasket, the tyrannical owner of the Chop Shop.
- Amanda Bynes as Piper Pinwheeler, a feisty yellow tomboy robot who is Fender's younger sister.
- Drew Carey as Crank Casey, a pessimistic orange vacuum cleaner/monster truck-like robot who befriends Rodney.
- Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Fanny in the US Version, also known as Aunt Fan in the UK Version, a motherly snail-like robot who takes in outmoded robots.
- Harland Williams as Lugnut, a large, friendly green muscular robot who befriends Rodney along with his mute companion Diesel.
- Stanley Tucci as Herb Copperbottom, Rodney's father and a dishwasher at Gunk's.
- Dianne Wiest as Lydia Copperbottom, Rodney's mother.
- Chris Wedge as Wonderbot, a small helicopter/cup-like robot, who is Rodney's invention.
- Cat Deeley in the UK Version and Natasha Lyonne in the US Version as Loretta Geargrinder, a receptionist at Bigweld Industries and Fender's love interest.
- Paul Giamatti as Tim, the gatekeeper at Bigweld Industries.
- Dan Hedaya as Mr. Gunk, Herb's rude, inconsiderate boss.
- Brian Scott McFadden as Trashcan Bot
- Jay Leno as Fire Hydrant
- Lucille Bliss as Pigeon Lady
- Paula Abdul as Wristwatch #1
- Randy Jackson as Wristwatch #2
- Al Roker as Mailbox
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Bigmouth Executive / Forge in the US Version, and Eamonn Holmes in the UK Version.
- Tim Nordquist as Tin Man
- Terry Wogan in the UK Version Lowell Ganz in the US Version as Mr. Gasket, Madame Gasket's husband and Ratchet's father.
- James Earl Jones as a Darth Vader voice box.
Initially, Chris Wedge and William Joyce had decided to make a film adaptation of Joyce's book, Santa Calls. After a failed animation test in 2000, Wedge and Joyce decided to develop an original story about a world of robots instead. In 2001, the duo pitched the concept to Chris Meledandri, as a visual idea. While not initially impressed, Meledandri agreed to greenlight the film, and served as the executive producer. The film began production in 2002, shortly after Ice Age was released. Wedge reunited with the crew from his first film, including Carlos Saldanha as the co-director. In June 2003, the film was announced by Fox at the Museum of Natural History’s IMAX theater. This announcement confirmed the entire cast, and slated the film for its 2005 release.
Robots was originally scheduled for a 2004 release, but the release date was changed to 2005. The film premiered on March 6, 2005 in Westwood, Los Angeles, and it was released theatrically on March 11, 2005. The film was the first to feature the new trailer for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, where it was reported that Star Wars fans went to see the movie just to see the trailer and hear the voice of Ewan McGregor, who also played Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, as Rodney Copperbottom. The film also featured the exclusive trailer for Blue Sky's next film Ice Age: The Meltdown, then called Ice Age 2. Robots was digitally re-mastered into IMAX format (IMAX DMR) and released in select IMAX theatres around the world. It was the first 20th Century Fox film that was released on the same day on IMAX and conventional 35mm screens. It was also the first IMAX DMR film released in the spring season, and the second IMAX DMR film distributed by Fox.
The film was released March 11, 2005, in the United States and Canada and grossed $36 million in 3,776 theaters its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the box office. It grossed a total of $260.7 million worldwide—$128.2 million in the United States and Canada and $132.5 million in other territories.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64% based on 182 reviews, with an average rating of 6.50/10. The site's consensus reads: "Robots delights on a visual level, but the story feels like it came off an assembly line." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gives the film a weighted average score of 64 out of 100 based on 33 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, stating that "this is a movie that is a joy to behold entirely apart from what it is about. It looks happy, and, more to the point, it looks harmonious." Caroline Westbrook of the Empire Magazine gave the film a three out of five stars and said: "Kids will love it and their adult companions will be warmly entertained - but it's far from a computer-animated classic." Rob Mackie of The Guardian gave the film a three out of five stars, saying: "skilfully combines adult and kids' comedy. But For all the imaginative splendours and a sharp script, Robots is never quite as distinctive as its predecessor, Ice Age." Common Sense Media gave the film a three out of four stars and said: "Endearing 'follow your dreams' story with plenty of laughs."
Robots won an ASCAP award in the category of top box office films. The movie received two Annie Award nominations and two Kid's Choice Award nominations. Robots was also nominated for a Teen Choice Award and a Visual Effects Society Award.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10: Nominated Animation Film
|Robots: Original Motion Picture Score|
|Film score by|
|Released||March 15, 2005|
|2.||"Rivet Town Parade"||0:54|
|3.||"Bigweld TV / Creating Wonderbot"||2:45|
|10.||"Meet The Rusties"||2:06|
|15.||"Deciding to Fight Back"||1:13|
|16.||"Attack of the Sweepers"||1:26|
- Other songs in the film include
- "Underground" – Tom Waits
- "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" – Barry White
- "...Baby One More Time" – Britney Spears
- "See Me" – Melanie Blatt
- "Eye of the Tiger" – Survivor
- "From Zero to Hero" – Sarah Connor
- "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" – C+C Music Factory and Freedom Williams
- "(There's Gotta Be) More to Life" – Stacie Orrico
- "Right Thurr" – Chingy
- "I Like That" – Houston
Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty
Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty is a five-minute computer-animated film that was included as a bonus feature on the DVD and VHS releases of Robots and a prequel to the film. In the short, Aunt Fanny gives a tour of the Robot City Train Station to a motley collection of robots, including Fender Pinwheeler, Zinc, Tammy, Hacky, and an Old Lady-Bot.
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- Ball, Ryan (February 9, 2005). "Blue Man Group Helps Score Robots". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
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- "'Epic' movie: F-M grad Chris Wedge brings another animated gem to the big screen". syracuse.com. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Chris Wedge and Bill Joyce Talk 'Epic'".
- "Fox's Robots Revealed". IGN. June 18, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
- Hettrick, Scott (June 25, 2002). "Fox thaws 'Ice' vid plan". Variety. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
Blue Sky is working on its next CGI movie for Fox called "Robots," due out in 2004, with a sequel to "Ice Age" to follow.
- Murray, Rebecca (March 4, 2005). "Star Wars Episode III Full Length Trailer Premieres with Robots". About.com. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- IMAX Corporation (March 3, 2005). "Robots: The IMAX Experience Gears Up to Open March 11th!". PR Newswire. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
- "New Releases 09.27.05". IGN. June 21, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
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- Foster, Dave (August 24, 2005). "Robots (R2) in September - Menus added". The Digital Fix. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Calonge, Juan (January 21, 2011). "Family Blu-ray Wave from Fox in March". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- "Robots (2005) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 21, 2008.
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- Ebert, Roger (June 7, 2005). "Robots". Retrieved June 7, 2015.
- "Robots (2005) - Awards". IMDb.com.
- "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- Robots: Original Motion Picture Score at AllMusic. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
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