Rodney Copperbottom (voiced by Ewan McGregor) is lovingly brought up by his mother and father to believe that he should follow his dreams. Rodney wants to grow up to be an inventor. He plans to travel to Robot City to meet Mr Bigweld (Mel Brooks), who hosts a television program for new inventions and whose gate is ‘never closed to new ideas’. Rodney invents a clever little robot who can do menial tasks very quickly, and he travels to Robot City to show it to Bigweld. He is disappointed when he is not allowed in to see Bigweld. He soon discovers that Bigweld’s enterprise has been taken over by the wicked Ratchet (Greg Kinnear), who is interested only in making money.
Ratchet is driven by his evil mother whose plan is to make all robots upgrade to new bodies rather than repair their old ones. So mother and son destroy all spare parts. Robots found wandering the streets at night are taken to the Chop Shop where they are melted down for scrap metal. Their campaign slogon is ‘Why be you when you can be new’. Rodney sees the wickedness of the plan and starts repairing all the broken robots. He soon becomes the robots’ representative and Ratchet’s number one enemy. Together with his new friend Fender (Robin Williams), Rodney rallies the other robots to overthrow Ratchet’s Industries.
There is some violence in this movie, mostly comic in nature with no real consequences:
- Ratchet kicks Rodney and his invention out of the window.
- Ratchet hits Bigweld with a pan.
- There is a battle scene between Ratchet and his huge machines and the other robots.
Content that may disturb children
- When Rodney's parents are ‘making’ him as a baby, the father takes a large hammer to add his ‘boy part’ and Rodney cries.
- Ratchet’s evil mother is a large robot with yellow eyes and a deep voice.
- Fender keeps losing his head and body.
- Rodney and Fender get swept up in a sea of dominoes.
- Robot City is full of mechanical transportation, which appears at times to go off track. Sometimes it seems as if Rodney will crash on one of these machines.
- The Chop Shop has a large furnace in which Fender and Bigweld almost end up and the wicked mother falls.
- Ratchet’s father is suspended by a rope.
Children in this age group will realise the movie is only fantasy and are unlikely to be scared.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
A robot is shown smoking a cigar, and there is drinking at a ball.
Nudity and sexual activity
Ideas to discuss with your children
Robots is an animated film about idealism, corruption and following your dreams. The special effects are very well done, and it is quite humorous. Although it is mainly targeted at younger children, it is quite enjoyable for older children and adults too.
You might like to talk about some of the values in the movie, for example:
- friendship and loyalty
- believing in yourself
- ‘new’ isn't necessarily better
- bodies don’t need to look perfect.