DVD Rating: **1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Robots

Just as the creative team behind Ice Age fail to reach the benchmark set by the likes of Finding Nemo, the extras don't quite make the grade either.

That isn't to say they are awful; they suffer from the same "more is less" problem evident throughout the film.

Copy picture

In an attempt to save the best for last, I'll start with the commentary track, which is simultaneously irritating and irrelevant. It's impossible to imagine who would want a commentary track anyway. Certainly not the target audience of under-10s, who will be bored rigid by what amounts to 90 minutes of corporate backslapping. If Twentieth Century Fox had dipped into their pockets and paid one of the stars to come along for the ride it might have been fun, as it is this is more clunky than the outdated robots on screen.

The sheer number of people on the commentary track is daft. There's representatives of all the animation departments, including Tim, Mike, Rob, Jim and don't forget Matt, David and Kevin. Actually, you'll be able to forget them easily enough as their gushing forms a wave of syrup which washes stickily over you. The animation is by turn, according to the boys, "iconic!", "excellent!" "really awesome!" The truest phrase uttered is when one confesses, "Every department is showing off." Yes, they are and it's not big, or clever.

Rushing swiftly on to the rest of the extras. There is, what seems to be an endless stream of puff pieces for the Ice Age sequel, a sneak peek, a trailer and a teaser. Then again, it looks quite good - and Scrat is back and is certainly funnier than Aunt Fan's Tour of Booty.

Also nestling in the not-very-interesting corner of the workshop are the Voices Of The Robots, something of a luvvie lovathon, including snippets from the dubbing sessions intercut with the actors discussing their roles. Still, that's more exciting than the Meet The Bots Interactive 3-D Character Biographies. They sound interesting enough but are essentially just spinning renderings of the characters along with a bit of spiel from each cast member. Small people will be bored. In fact, so will adults.

So far, so dull... But wait! Are those a couple of gems shining amongst the nuts and bolts? An interactive game, where kids can make a robot dance, looks good - although the novelty value will doubtless wear off quite quickly - and a Fender Photo Shoot, which genuinely scores high marks. It's a simple memory game, but one which all the family can play. You look at the picture for a few seconds and then answer a series of questions. This is by far the most sensibly targeted interactive extra on the disc.

Discontinued Parts - essentially bits from the cutting room floor are entertaining enough and come with a commentary from director Chris Wedge. These are mainly animated storyboards and it's easy to see why they didn't make it into the final cut. And there's a music video, starring a scantily clad blonde singing a dreadful Europop thing with a bit of decent animation kicking about in the background. Once will be more than enough.

Probably the most interesting feature of the DVD, however, is the additional short film, Aunt Fan's Tour of Booty. It's an original four-minute short, which shows Aunt Fan taking the robots on a tour of Robot City Station. Engaging enough, although it's clear they didn't want to pay Robin Williams any more cash for a voice-over. Finally, there's a tiny and somewhat pointless animated public service announcement about being quiet in cinemas.

At first sight there seems to be a factory floor full of extras but when you get down to the worthwhile elements, there's barely enough to fill a small drawer.

The sound and picture quality throughout the film is excellent and everything is subtitled right down to the commentary tracks. Some of the sound levels aren't great on the extras, though, particularly the Voices Of The Robots.

Reviewed on: 08 Oct 2005
Share this with others on...
Robots packshot
Animated idealism meets corporate ruthlessness in Rivet Town.
Amazon link

Product Code: 2423401000

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Aunt Fan’s Tour of Booty 4-minute CGI short; Discontinued Parts - deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Chris Wedge; 2 interactive games; Meet the Bots - Interactive 3-D character biographies. The Voices Of Robots - dubbing featurettes; audio commentary by the Animation Crew at Blue Sky; Ice Age 2 teaser; Ice Age 2 sneak peek; Robots Public Service Announcement.

Search database: