Robots (2005)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Mel Brooks, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Robin Williams, James Earl Jones, Jay Leno
Extras: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Interactive Segments

Out-of-this-world adventure involving a society, with similar issues that are not too different from our own, but told through the eyes of robots, is the latest venture from director Chris Wedge (Ice Age) and Blue Sky Studios in the light-hearted animated film "Robots".

"Robots" tells the story of a young entrepreneur-minded robot, by the name of Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor), who leaves his family and small town where he grew up, in search of a bright and successful life in the hustle and bustle filled Robot City. Growing up watching a television show produced by successful industrialist Bigweld (Mel Brooks), Rodney dreams of presenting his invention of a small multi-tasking robot to Bigweld's company. Upon his arrival at Robot City, Rodney meets, and strikes up a friendship with, quirky robot Fender (Robin Williams).

On his quest to conquer the big city, Rodney is disappointed when he finally arrives at Bigweld Industries only to discover that Bigweld himself has gone into seclusion and conniving Mr. Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) has taken control of the company. The evil Ratchet, who wants nothing more than to rid Robot City of older model generations that are in need spare parts to survive, instead forcing his idea of selling new and expensive upgrades to his fellow citizens, is not impressed with Rodney or his invention.

Rodney then begins a search for the whereabouts of Mr. Bigweld, with the assistance of Cappy (Halle Berry), an executive of Bigweld's company that is unimpressed with Ratchet's greed, in an attempt to convince him to regain control of Bigweld Industries, in-turn saving the common robot of Robot City from the scrap heap!

Loaded with a star-studded cast who lend their vocal talents to the film, "Robots" has its share of hilarious moments, from the kooky Fender (Robin Williams), who manages to apply his usual comedic charm to this story, to the humorous contributions from talents including; Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Paul Giamatti, Stanley Tucci and even the addition of Al Roker! All help to bring this enthusiastically amusing, yet touching animated spectacle to life.

Twentieth Century Fox presents "Robots" in a remarkable anamorphic presentation (also available as a separate full frame edition) that is sure to make its way onto your reference quality DVD list. The transfer is top-rate, displaying a clean and crisp exhibition that was free from any visible compression artifacts or dust elements. Colors were tastefully vivid highlighting the brilliant pastels that contributed to the retro feel of the film. Black levels were reproduced with amazing depth and richness, which assisted in capturing the details of the shiny metallic surfaces displayed throughout this rather eye-catching film.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was very complimenting to the films presentation, by providing a great mix of sonic detail to the computer generated visuals. Dialogue was well reproduced, displaying naturally appearing vocals, which helped to breathe life into the robotic characters. There was good use of all available channels, including surrounds and the lower frequency .1 channel that managed to capture every minor mechanical sound whizzing around you, producing a well balanced and pleasing-to-the-senses presentation.

Containing a vast amount of special features that is intended to satisfy your technical curiosity as well as providing additional entertainment, the loaded special features is sure to offer something for everyone.

First off, there are two feature-length audio commentaries, one from director Chris Wedge and producer William Joyce and another commentary featuring the technical team from Blue Sky Studios.

The featurettes section includes; "Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty" that takes you on a hilarious tour of Robot City's train station, which bears a resemblance to New York's Grand Central, where Aunt Fanny teaches you the ins and outs of navigating around the crowded and busy city terminal. A small clip titled "Robots Original Test", which offers a mini commentary from Chris Wedge and co-director Carlos Saldanha, showing a cute audition of an aspiring robot "starlet". This feature originally served the purpose of selling the idea of a feature-length animated film featuring robots, which allowed the creators to get a feel and possible "look" for the film, all before characters were established or a story was even written!

"Discontinued Parts" is a deleted scenes segment featuring four unused scenes from the film. "You Can Shine No Matter What You're Made Of" is a behind-the-scenes featurette documentary on the making of "Robots", the "Blue Man Group" shows how creators worked with the actual Blue Man Group to develop the unique sound for the film, mixing the feel of the late 60's with a modern flare. "Meet the Bots" is a neat feature that showcases the biographies of the main robotic characters and includes input from the celebrities behind the individual robots themselves. A "Robot Arcade" component that contains three separate mini-features including; "Robot Dance", "Fender Photo Shoot" and "Invent-A-Bot", which is an interactive segment that allows the viewer, through the use of your DVD players remote, to design and build your own robot! How cool is that? Rounding out the value added materials is a feature for owners of X-Box that allows you to insert the "Robots" DVD into your game system and play a video game demo of "Robots" multi-player. Finally, an assortment of Fox promos and trailers compliment this nicely packed DVD.

For a truly unique adventure not from this world, be sure to give Twentieth Century Fox's "Robots" a spin.