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ROBOTS. Chris Wedge, dir. Carlos Saldanha, co-dir. Lowell Ganz , Babaloo Mandel, script. Ron Mita, Jim McClain, Ron Mita, story. USA: Blue Sky Studios, Fox Animation (prod.) / 20th-c. Fox, IMAX (main dist.), 2005. William Joytce, production design. Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Jim Broadbent, Ananda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, Greg Kinnear, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tuci, Dianne Wiest, Robin Williams, featured voices.

Children's film, with a number of allusions few kids will get, featuring an alternative world of robots, including dog and fire-hydrant robots. See for Rube Goldberg sight gags, evil robots as clean machines and good robots as more po-mo, wind-up-toy funky—and a high modernist production design generally, praised by several critics, inluding Roger Ebert, whose website offers illustrations [1]. Among the film's allusions, Robot City significantly references METROPOLIS, but with an underworld more literally hellish and presided over by a monstrous Hel (sic: from the name of the Norse goddess and an important female character in the backstory of Metropolis as novel and restored film).[2] The film satirizes forcing machines, and people, into obsolescence and replacing them, rather than repairing them—"Why be you when you can be new?"—or, in the case of people, keeping them on the job or at least not exterminating them. The «Mend, don't end» "MORAL" can be attacked as a metacinematic excuse (Erlich's formulation) for ROBOT's recycling so much old material, and in such terms A. O. Scott attacked the film ("Machines That Rage Against Other Machines," New York Times, 11 March 2005). CAUTION: If you see the outmoded robots as street people, or the poor (as Peter Hartlaub points out, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 March 2005), ROBOTS implies mass murder and a kind of mechanized class cleansing—huge machines sweeping up poor robots—which might be a little intense for young children (and perhaps handled too casually for adults). Also, ROBOTS is largely girl-friendly, but a mom-bashing work, where the Good Mom is weak and the Strong Mom is evil, and Good Mom isn't all that good. Gender and reproduction get interesting among the robots, however, as do issues of class and body image.