Meet the Robinsons

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Meet the Robinsons Movie Poster Image
Clever but sometimes scary time-travel adventure.
  • G
  • 2007
  • 102 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 51 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 74 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids will learn that they shouldn't give up on their dreams or let setbacks get them down. If you learn from your mistakes and keep trying, eventually your experiments will succeed.

Positive Messages

On a positive note, a boy with every reason to be upset with the world learns to overcome challenges. The central family nurtures creativity and taking risks to follow your dreams. Some parents my be concerned with the sensitive themes of orphans/orphanages, adoption, loneliness and revenge, all of which are explored in the movie. Parents with adopted children may be especially put off with the way the orphans like Lewis are treated by prospective parents, and his thoughts that his biological mother did not love him.

Positive Role Models & Representations

An orphan boy perseveres in the face of continued adversity. He also doesn't hold a grudge against a bitter former friend and invites him to join his family. An adversary discovers the meaning of friendship. A family is welcoming and encouraging, even when their relatives make mistakes.

Violence & Scariness

An ominous, robotic bowler hat wreaks havoc in the future, forcing humankind into subservience. Bowler Hat Guy creeps around trying to foil Lewis' plans. A T-rex attacks a family in a house, chases children and at one point picks up a boy with his mouth but eventually has to put him down. Various inventions explode, and a family has a big (humorous) food fight.

Sexy Stuff

Young Lewis and Franny smile flirtatiously at each other.

Language

Several mild taunts like "booger breath," "pukeface," "butterfingers," "stupid," "geek," "dumb" and the like.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A boy drinks coffee to stay up, while an adult wears patches (reminiscent of nicotine patches) that make her act overly caffeinated. Adults make a toast with what looks like wine but spill it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that even very young children will dig this Disney animated adventure, although it may be too intense for some. The story revolves around Lewis, a genius orphan who desperately wants to meet his real mother. There's a sense that he and his friends at the orphanage feel rejected -- he counts 124 couples he's met who don't end up adopting him -- but he's still take care of and encouraged by adults. The cartoon violence is owed mostly to the movie's villains -- a robotic bowler hat and the mysterious mustachioed man who wears it. The Bowler Hat Guy suffers from severe jealousy and bitterness, which is why he wants to ruin Lewis' future. But the future, as it turns out, is bright for all, even Lewis' nemesis. Parents of adopted children may be especially concerned with the way the orphans and the adoption process are depicted.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byblessed2adopt2 April 9, 2008

This movie totally turned me off

When I saw the ads for this movie, (Joan Cusak with the coffee patch) I thought it was cute. However, after I purchased the DVD (we did not see it in the theat... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 year old Written by9samuel9 August 18, 2010
Kid, 12 years old April 20, 2013

This is my favorite movie

For all those people who are like,"I'm whining about this movie because it offended my made up adopted sister!" (I'm looking at you consider... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 3, 2009
My sister is adopted and i found this very offensive. I am so happy she did not see it. But all of you people who said it is fine have nothing to do with adopt... Continue reading

What's the story?

In MEET THE ROBINSONS, Lewis (voiced by Daniel Hansen) isn't just an orphan -- he's a child genius. He invents practical gadgets, like a peanut-butter-and-jelly gun that makes sandwich preparation a cinch. He has scared off, by his count, 124 sets of potential parents. In hopes of finally seeing the mother who left him at the orphanage's doorstep, Lewis works tirelessly on a memory machine that projects specific recollections onto a TV monitor. After a mix up at the school science fair, he winds up having to zoom to the future with a mysterious young boy. Trying to explain the movie's time-traveling plot is as confusing as Terminator, but the point of the future is to show young Lewis that he fits nicely into a zany family: the Robinsons, who have more wacky relatives than the Addamses, the Fockers, and the Tenenbaums. After Lewis fails to fix a PB&J device, the Robinsons celebrate his failure as a path to success. And when the film's villain -- a mustachioed man with a robotic bowler hat -- unleashes a T-Rex on the family, the clan joins forces to defend the young inventor. At last, he has a home -- at least in the future.

Is it any good?

The multi-generational relationships, especially in the future, are endearing. The Robinson clan seems loony at first, but as the future continues, they quickly grow on you as exactly the kind of brood Lewis would naturally be drawn to (and with good reason, but you have to see it to understand). It may not be as touching as Finding Nemo, as technically brilliant as Cars, or as parent-appealing as The Incredibles,, but Meet the Robinsons is an entertaining step in the right direction for Disney's non-Pixar offerings.

And who doesn't love an orphan hero? Plucky orphans are perfect protagonists in children's adventures. Whether human (Annie, Oliver Twist) or animal (Stuart Little, Wilbur), they're the ultimate underdogs, and only the most hardened heart could root against them. Luckily, Lewis is not the typical orphan suffering under the rule of cruel-hearted adults. He's surrounded by compassionate grown ups who genuinely want to foster his brilliance -- from the orphanage's director (Angela Bassett) to his encouraging science teacher, and of course, the Robinsons, who all believe that mistakes and failures only make you better.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the Robinsons believe that failing is good. Can you think of a time that you didn't win but you still learned something useful? And, for fun, since Lewis is an aspiring inventor, name some inventions that you think would be useful in the future.

  • How are orphans depicted in the movie? Does the movie make kids who aren't adopted seem sad and lonely? Do you think that's how orphans must feel? Name some other famous orphans in movies and books.

  • How does the movie compare to the William Joyce book on which it's based? Kids: Had you read the book before you watched the movie? If not, did you know it was based on a book?

  • Do you like movies that are based on books/stories more than ones that aren't? What are some of the best book-to-movie adaptations?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love fantasy adventures

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate