It's not about robots.
It's about people. Almost everything that happens in here might as well be happening to regular flesh-and-blood folk. Marriage, kids, job, society, consumerism… After the excitement of the title Robots, seeing a robot mum and robot dad cooing over a robot baby makes for a highly disappointing opening. These three 'robot' characters are even named Herb, Lydia and Rodney. Really Blue Sky, just film some actors already and call it Humans.
In fact, in the filmmakers' attempts to make the movie as relevant as possible to their audience, they seem to have impressively managed to out-Dreamworks Dreamworks, right down to following their awful practice of redubbing characters for the UK market. Funnily enough British broadcaster voices like Terry Wogan, Chris Moyles, Vernon Kay and Cat Deeley tend to jar within the context of a movie from Hollywood starring the likes of the A-list Robin Williams. (I still can't believe we lost Stephen Tobolowski to Eamonn Holmes)
The film does feature a few sequences that filled me with awe though, mainly the ones involving transportation. As I watched Rodney and Fender being repeatedly hurled across the lazily named Robot City, the idea that an automaton society could develop a system of travel dependent upon such extremes of exacting calculation held me in a very happy trance. I could have watched a lot more of such inventive design work, but for the most part this film wanted to stay with a boring old tried-and-tested formula.
In fact, I'm afraid that by the end I found myself rather siding with main villain Ratchet's advertising slogan of "Why be YOU, when you can be NEW!" Quite.
A fun film, especially if you like playing with dolls.
(some version or other available here - good luck)