Robots Chris Wedge

This animated epic has a clever conceit and some nice design, but it doesn't quite reach the visionary heights for which it strains. Ewen McGregor voices Rodney Copperpot, a robot who travels to Robot City to make his fortune as an inventor. Alas, the doors are shut by a CEO (Greg Kinnear) who wants to phase out all robots who can't afford his upgrades. It's up to Rodney and a rogue's gallery of mechanical losers to stop his dastardly plan. There's an anti-capitalist message that flits about the edges of Robots — that is, the idea that the constant mania for newer, better, faster is born out of lust for profit rather than a genuine desire to improve people's lives. But when you consider its state-of-the-art CGI and otherwise total lack of conviction, you realise that the message has been reissued to serve exactly the masters it pretends to attack. Otherwise, the basic outline is the "dreamer gives it his all" plot familiar from a million other kid pix and no surprises to compensate beyond the apparent use of every single character actor in Hollywood as voice talent. Extras include a commentary by director Chris Wedge and producer/designer William Joyce (who deal with purely creative matters), a second commentary by Blue Sky Studios personnel (who handle the technical business), three deleted scenes, a thin short animation surrounding the irritating Aunt Fanny character, an interactive profile of the characters, their voices and their concept art, a needless profile of musical contributors the Blue Man Group, a genuinely interesting featurette dealing with the design of the robots, the original test short, three pointless interactive games, an Xbox game demo, DVD-ROM high-definition clips, and a preview of Ice Age 2. (Fox)