PictureBoasting an anamorphic widescreen picture and being a totally digital transfer, you would expect this to be an absolutely perfect picture and it is. Sort of. Firstly there's no graininess, which is to be expected neither is there any edge enhancement, with colour bold, bright and vivid and the black levels being suitably, well, black. So, why have I said sort of? Well, there does seem to be two issues, one is possibly me being picky, the other isn't. The first problem is that the sky doesn't gradient quite right and made we wonder if there was a fault. What I mean by this is you see “bars” of colour rather than it contrasting gradually from one shade of blue into another - which is why I could be accused of being picky, but I've not noticed it before in other computer animated movies, hence mentioning it here. The second fault is that I did notice some minor artifacting during the movie, which although they were minor, did give some edges a kind of fuzziness to them. I checked on my Pioneer player for a second opinion over the Denon, but this showed them to be there. I will state they aren't a distraction, but it is something I did notice.
SoundWith a 5.1 soundtrack and in the Pixar vein, you'd expect a particularly busy soundtrack and that's exactly what we have here. Dialogue is crisp and natural sounding with a good level of depth and bass to it; rears are engaged constantly with ambient music and some good effects, particularly in the busy scenes such as the cross-town travel and the final showdown. LFE gets a good workout and will certainly be felt, no where more evident in the final showdown and the Aunt Fanny fart scene which even made my dog look! Musically this is very similar to the Pixar efforts, where music, both in terms of the song (in the Chop Shop) or the incidental is particularly noticeable, in fact I'd argue that there is hardly a lull in the entire movie. While this isn't something I'd consider a reference disk, the end scenes would probably be a nice way to show off a system.
ExtrasOur first extra is Aunt Fan's Tour of Booty, which is a 5 minute featurette where Aunt Fan takes us on a tour of the Robot City train station, which has a feel of “this is some gags we had that we didn't know how to use” about it, while it's mildly entertaining, once is truly enough. Next up, we have the Voices of Robots, which is a 7 and a half minute featurette which basically is a look at the voice talent involved in the movie, but ultimately it is quite shallow and typical PR fluff. The Music video is Sarah Connor singing “From Zero to Hero”, which I was under the belief was only featured in the German version of the movie, but it's typical pop music and the bleached blonde singer has a penchant for clothes made from very little material.
Discontinued Parts, as it suggests, is the deleted scenes and here we have 3 scenes that have an optional commentary track also. While these aren't a) truly deleted scenes as they aren't finished animations and b) are really scene extensions, they don't appear to add anything to the main storyline, thus arguably bloating the running time. Meet The Bots, allows you to select one of the 11 main characters from the story and view their biography, their design sketches and a 3d rotation as well, but I'm not really sure what or who this is aimed for. The Robot Arcade features 2 games, Robot Dance and Fender Photo Shoot. The first allows you to make the robotic dancing robot dance and the second is a memory test type game. Fun for 20 seconds or less. The Ice Age 2 teaser trailer is very funny, indeed I laughed out loud at the punchline and it is a wonderful pastiche of the Tom Cruise/Mission Impossible 2 mountain climbing scene featuring Scrat again. The sneak peak of Ice Age 2 is only 3 minutes long and for fans of the original it is sure to whet your appetite until it's release in 2006.
VerdictAimed at kids, with a knowing nod to adults, Robots is a good way to spend 90 minutes as a family film experience. However, it probably won't stand up to repeated viewings and there will always be a second fiddle to Pixar way of viewing any other companies CG animations, but with that said, there are far less entertaining movies out there and certainly while no Pixar, the CG is still very accomplished and slick. Maybe it's worth a rent just in case, before you commit but I think you'll find that it's worth having if you've got kids or, like a lot of us, are still a big kid at heart.
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