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</script></div>{/googleAds}Does the modern computer-animation landscape, dominated for the last ten years by Pixar (Toy Story), and Dreamworks Animation (Shrek), have room for another player? Have computer animated features run their course?

Box-office numbers tell us the answer to the latter is a definite no, but it's what Blue Sky Studios does after Robots that will determine its pecking order in the lineup of major animation studios. With Robots, Blue Sky has fired a resounding warning shot over the bow of the Good Ship Complacency that will hopefully bring us more Finding Nemo and less Shark Tales.

A resume featuring Ice Age and Robots is a salty one-two punch that should turn studio heads and land the "little studio that could" smack-dab in the middle of the arena. There may not be room for three big players in this battle for animation supremacy, but with advancing technology and the studios' clash of one-upsmanship, the ultimate winner will be you and me.

Robots' boilerplate story of country boy goes to the big city to discover himself is filled with big heart and plenty of heroics, but the film's ace-in-the-hole is the quality of its animation. With every year that passes, computer technology practically doubles in capability and it's clear that since Ice Age debuted three years ago, Robots' creators have made full use of that advancement. The bleached out, barren snowscapes of Ice Age severely limited what they could do back then, but they make the most of their opportunity to stretch the limits of creativity with Robots. It sparkles with vibrant colors, shiny metallic surfaces and intricate details never seen in an animated film. Every inch of the screen is filled with activity and delicate movement. You'll want to have your head on a swivel if you watch the film in its optional Imax® format as a full 8-stories of silver screen come alive with dazzling intricacies. I can't recall an animated film concerning itself so much with what's happening away from the main action as Robots does.

Young Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan MacGregor) is a dreamy inventor from a small town who, upon the encouragement from his father to chase his dreams, takes his talents to the big city. He learns from television commercials that the factory gates to Bigweld industries are always open to creative inventors. But as Rodney arrives at the DisneyWorld-like gates of the factory, he discovers that Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) has taken over the reigns of the company and closed access to everyone. With nowhere to go, Rodney is taken in by a bunch of secondhand, misfit robots led by Fender (Robin Williams). Rodney and friends discover that Ratchet's plans involve more than just closing the factory to aspiring inventors. They must find a way to prevent the defenseless "outmodes" from becoming useless scrap iron.

One place that Robots falls a bit short is in its reliance upon the formulaic storytelling tendencies of previous animated features. Things like pop culture references for the adults, bathroom jokes for the kiddos, and gallant heroism for everyone. While these have been successful in the past, its time to re-invent. And with such innovative CGI visuals, it would have been nice to see a new formula of storytelling as well.

Ensuring that things never get too bogged down, the film's pace is lightning fast, which parallels Robin Williams' lines. Speaking of Robin Williams, he comes this close to going completely over the top and ruining everything (I'm holding my thumb and index finger one centimeter apart). What happened to the comedic subtlety he displayed as Batty Koda in Fern Gully?

The story never touches the heart as deeply as did Finding Nemo, and neither is the plot as intricate. It dabbles in many similarities to movies past, which keeps the film playing over and over in your mind on the way home from the theater. You'll find similarities to Wizard of Oz, The Brave Little Toaster, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, It's a Wonderful Life, Metropolis, Braveheart and others.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; deleted scenes; director's commentary; featurettes; cast and crew interview.

* Audio Commentaries - Two feature length audio commentaries.
o With Blue Sky Animation team as they discuss the technical aspects and hardships of making the film.
o With Director Chris Wedge and production designer/Producer William Joyce.
* Upgrades Section:
o Fox Promos and teasers for:
+ 1. BRATZ 2
6. ICE AGE 2
o Demo for Robots Xbox
o Other games
* Character Galleries: detailed tour of the characters in the movie.
* Documentary:
o Blue Man Group discuss the music used for the movie.
o You Can Shine No Matter What You're Made Of - discusses the production problems of the film.
* Deleted Scenes - Discontinued Parts - Includes three scenes with optional commentary.
* Featurettes:
o Original Test reel of drawings for the film.
o Aunt Fanny's tour of Booty - 5-minute tour of the train station.

Number of discs: - Region 1 keepcase packaging.