With the support of his parents Rodney heads off to fulfill his dreams, but upon arriving finds that things aren’t right in the big city. Mr. Bigweld is missing, and in his place is the ruthless Ratchet who believes making spare parts is an antiquated thing of the past and wants to see all bots upgrade or become scrap metal.
This creates a problem. If Bigweld industries doesn’t create spare parts, the older working class bots will begin falling apart. Bots like Rodney’s Father who is running on his last cylinder as the family is unable to find a spare part to fix him.
That’s where Rodney comes back into the picture. See a need, fill a need, his Dad always taught him, so when Rodney falls in with a unusual group of robotic misfits he begins using his genius for tinkering to fix the parts that robots have.
Rodney is the epitome of the common man with an uncommonly big heart- er… whatever he has. Rodney is full of enthusiasm, determination, courage, self sacrifice, good-will, patience, and he’s humble to boot. Everything about Rodney speaks of a character who you would want your children to emulate.
The parents, and most specifically Rodney’s Dad, are for me the heart of the story. Behind the amazing character of Rodney is the amazing character that makes up his Dad. Rodney love his parents, and so does the audience. We see Mr. Copperbottom impart to his son great truths over and over, but we also see a father who believes wholeheartedly in his son. Mr. Copperbottom is a rare character nowadays in a world that laughs at the father figure and turns him into a buffoon. Not so in Robots. In fact, we see that Mr. Copperbottom gave up his dream to become a musician bot in order to support his family, something which Rodney takes close to heart.
Okay, we have some double-entendres in this film which I could have lived without. Things like “Making the baby’s the fun part” (robot children are actually build at home once they are delivered) and the baby missing a “part” (which Dad bot hammers into place offscreen) will totally go over kid’s heads, but an older audience will certainly get it.
Crude humor is probably the biggest issue in the movie. We have comments about finding “a babe with a big keister” and “who wants to get fixed” are sprinkled throughout the movie, and Rodney asks one robot when the last time he got oiled was, to which the other robot takes that to mean something else and replies “I can’t answer that in front of my sister”. The movie also has some cross dressing, one of which is shown with embarrassment (couldn’t be helped), the other of which is played up. In one scene we have a lot of fart jokes that pop up, complete with sound effects, and a robot who “leaks oil”.
Language in the film comes down to euphemisms and words such as “artsy-fartsy” and “butt whuppin” are used throughout the story. Violence is also very mechanically based, as well as comically based, and thus not disturbing to the viewer.
Robots is a world where loyalty, perseverance, courage, and family are all portrayed as sterling qualities. The movie delivers several positive messages, some of which we rarely see in movies nowadays, and has a strong family unit at its core, but the movie is not without issues. The good guys are, for the most part, good. The bad guys are totally bad. But the sexual innuendoes and potty humor are hard to overlook. Had it not been for those things, I would have snatched this movie up at the store immediately and added it to our movie collection, but the negative aspects tarnish the rest of the piece.