A colourful and thoughtful film that certainly demands attention in places. However, the time travel angle isn’t overly interesting enough to keep adults engaged and may be too much for kiddy winks to fully get their heads around. I’m sure though, that the fun bright characters and futuristic vibe this 47th Disney animation offers, do more than enough to keep most parties happy.
Having lived at an orphanage all his life, Lewis (Jordan Fry) focuses more on madcap inventions than being a healthy prospect for adoptive parents. One day, as he unveils his memory scanner at the school fair, he meets a boy from the future. Wilbur Robinson (Wesley Singerman) takes Lewis to the future to try and get Lewis to find a second time machine and fix his memory scanner, both dilemmas having been caused by the spindly villain of the film called, The Bowler Hat Guy (Steve Anderson). In this new crazy future featuring crazier family members, Lewis may just find out what he’s made of.
I must admit that the first part of the film really didn’t grab me at all. It felt slow and cliched, the whole orphanage back story, I had no drive given to me to like Lewis that much and then the initial future arrival is so bonkers and out there, that it felt like the filmmakers were trying too hard to create an over the top family. Saying that, the movie does get better, humour actually starts to work and sentimental depth of family and time travel come together in one approved mesh of great storytelling.
Quick paced comedy such as the Tom Selleck portrait, the frog or dinosaur commenting on the lack of good plans or the visual stupidity of the bumbling Monty Python like villain hits the bullseye in being funny. It’s not a film that fully achieves in comedy but where it lacks what other brilliant animations have in comic terms it makes up for in the end with a neat loop of timey wimey stuff. The Robinsons are drawn as insane caricatures which makes them more annoying than relatable, as you can never fully get to know any of them.
The villainous plot twists slightly letting a worrying new threat emerge and this frightening Orwellian-esque world is quite dark, if not all too brief in being saved very quickly. The ending is very well wrapped up though, not leaving any gaping plot holes in the time tunnel and getting Lewis a chance to be more of a character to like. The animation itself works and fails in equal measure. Places really thrive with the CGI landscapes but some character movements feel slimy, if that makes sense, the look is very old school Jimmy Neutron cartoon.
A film that has a nice time travelling delight but overall I feel this movie will appeal more to sugar hyped children than the grown ups dragged along. There’s too much sweeping fast sequences to keep kids glued to the screen but not a substantial amount of filling to keep adults appreciating the entire movie.