Home > Reviews > MEET THE ROBINSONS – Danny Elfman


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Walt Disney’s 46th feature length animation, and their major animated effort for 2007, Meet the Robinsons surprisingly fell under the radar, and was a comparative box office failure. It tells the story of a young orphan inventor named Lewis, who embarks on a series of extravagant, time-traveling adventures with various members of the futuristic Robinson family as he attempts to find his real family. The film was directed by Steve Anderson and featured the voice talents of the likes of Angela Bassett and Tom Selleck, as well as an original score by Danny Elfman. The film sees Elfman in what one could call “madcap mode”, in much the same way as he was on scores such as Flubber and Mars Attacks.

The score see-saws between emotional, heartfelt orchestral themes – notably “The Prologue”, “A Family United” and the sumptuous finale “Setting Things Right” – and Elfman’s brand of patented wackiness. The zaniness first emerges in the quirkily helter-skelter “To the Future”, and continues through the funky retro grooves of “Meeting the Robinsons” and the rampaging Beetlejuician tones of “The Science Fair”. There’s even a duet between a Theremin and Elfman’s patented la-la choir in “Pop Quiz and The Time Machine Montage”, in case you had forgotten which composer had written the music and needed a reminder.

It’s all fun, undemanding stuff, and firmly rooted in the offbeat Elfman sound that many people love, but when compared to Elfman’s wider body of work it seems a little insubstantial. The songs which pad out the CD running time are actually all pretty decent, ranging from cover versions by the sultry-voiced Jamie Cullum to the quirky title track, “Another Believer”, by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, which will likely be up or Oscar consideration.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • Another Believer (performed by Rufus Wainwright) (4:39)
  • Little Wonders (performed by Rob Thomas) (3:45)
  • The Future Has Arrived (performed by The All-American Rejects) (3:05)
  • Where Is Your Heart At? (performed by Jamie Cullum) (2:23)
  • The Motion Waltz [Emotional Commotion] (performed by Rufus Wainwright) (2:35)
  • Give Me the Simple Life (performed by Jamie Cullum) (2:04)
  • The Prologue (1:24)
  • To the Future! (1:16)
  • Meeting the Robinsons (1:56)
  • The Science Fair (2:47)
  • Goob’s Story (1:01)
  • A Family United (1:37)
  • Pop Quiz and The Time Machine Montage (3:45)
  • The Evil Plan (4:13)
  • Doris Has Her Day (4:58)
  • Setting Things Right (6:00)
  • There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (performed by They Might Be Giants) (2:00)
  • Kids of the Future (performed by The Jonas Brothers) (3:18)

Running Time: 52 minutes 46 seconds

Walt Disney Records D000024602 (2007)

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