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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Young Lewis and Franny smile flirtatiously at each other.
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Several mild taunts like "booger breath," "pukeface," "butterfingers," "stupid," "geek," "dumb" and the like.
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.