Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
I’m going to start by saying that, though I am twenty years old, I thoroughly enjoy watching animated movies—particularly Disney movies! So when I was digging through my mother’s monstrous movie collection looking for time travel movies, though very conventional, I chose Disney’s, Meet the Robinsons. The quote above was at the end of the movie and I think it is perfect for time travel to the future. Everyone is curious about what the future will hold for them, their life and their destiny. Louis, the main character, had a dream and he went for it with everything he had.
The movie begins with a baby being abandoned at an orphanage; he is named Louis and grows up in the orphanage , being rejected again and again by possible adoptees after showing them his skewed inventions. Louis decides, although abandoned by his mother, that she is the only one that could really love him and vows to make a machine that helps him find her. He designs a machine for the school science fair and in the process keeps his roommate, Michael “Goob” Yagoobian” awake for days. Louis’ Project scans memories and he wants to use it to see his mother’s face so he can attempt to find her. He takes it to the fair—which was an epic failure—and meets a boy who claims to be from the future and tells him to watch out for a man in a bowler hat. Wilbur, the boy from the future, later shows up at the orphanage and takes Louis to the future. In the future, which has turned into a utopia, Louis meets Wilbur’s crazy family, which, after meeting him, offers to adopt him—until they learn he is from future; they then say he has to go back. Louis is then kidnapped by Bowler Hat Guy who tricks Louis into fixing his memory scanner so he can patent it for himself and ruin Louis’s future. Then Bowler Hat Guy reveals that he is Louis’s roommate Goob, and he wants to ruin his life for revenge for keeping him awake, causing him to lose his little league came and ruining his life. He is working with his Bowler Hat, Doris, who wants to get revenge for being a botched invention created by Louis. Goob leaves Louis, takes the memory scanner and drastically changes the future for the worse. Louis goes in another time machine, which was created by his future self, Destroys Doris and makes things right with Goob, bringing things back to how they were supposed to be. Louis find out he is the father of the Robinson household in the future, which means he will be adopted and become successful one day. He returns to the past having never met his mother because he knows that everything will work out perfectly.
Meet the Robinsons is a pretty conventional time travel story. There is a genius kid, a time machine, a villain, a possible botched up future, voila! A time travel movie. It’s pretty much a science fiction movie for kids, with the creation of all the neat little inventions, including the time machine. When comparing it to the books we read in class I think it comes closest to The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Mainly because there is an awesome time machine that this genius creates and, though they go to the future in very different ways with different intentions, they still come to a world that has been completely changed. The Time Traveler finds a world that appears to be a Utopia, but the human race has been transformed for the worse. Louis goes to the future, which is also a Utopia, and everything in his life is perfect and easy and the world is beautiful. So they are similar in the sense that they are both science fiction time machine stories but with different endings.
Another theme we talked about a lot in class with several of the stories, Chuck Klosterman sums up very well in “Eating the Dinosaur.” It is one of the philosophical questions associated with time travel. He says,
“If you change any detail about the past, you might accidentally destroy everything in present-day existence. This is why every movie about time travel makes a big, obvious point about not bringing anything from the present back in time, often illustrated by forcing the fictionalized time traveler to travel nude. If you went back to 60,000 B.C. with a tool box and absent-mindedly left the vice grip behind, it’s entirely possible that the world would technologically advance at an exponential rate and destroy itself by the sixteenth century.”
This unfortunate event occurred in Meet the Robinsons when Goob made the memory scanner invention his own and patented it so the future Louis could never get rich, invent things and change the world into the utopia it could have been! The effects were extraordinarily negative with the entire future utopia changing into a dark, depressing world where Wilbur and his family never even existed. Luckily. Louis was able to travel back in time and make things right.
If you’re a kid at heart this movie is very enjoyable. It has an easy plot that is nothing compared to Primer so your head won’t spin while watching it. It has cheesy humor and good animation and a decent story line with a typical Disney happy ending. It also has pretty much my favorite movie scene of all time. (DON’T JUDGE ME.)