This is a sly political allegory, something not mentioned in the reviews I’ve read. But it quickly becomes obvious that something more is going on here than just a lot of funny robots being knocked about in a weird mechanical city. But as soon as Ratchet, the shiny new CEO of Bigweld Industries, came on the scene I knew he was supposed to be George W. Bush. It became clearer and clearer as things developed. Down in the depths of Robot City was Ratchet’s “mother,” the evil Madame Gasket, a thinly-disguised Dick Cheney. They even had Bush’s father, a pathetic, useless old man, hanging helplessly by as Gasket and Ratchet made their evil plans. See, Robot City used to be run by Mister Bigweld, who encouraged innovation and free-thinking. Ratchet had Bigweld locked away, and devoted all his energy to selling useless “upgrades” to all the robots in the city. They no longer manufactured spare parts, so the old, the obsolete, the tired, the quirky, the rust-begotten masses (the poor, in other words), were sent to the scrap heap to be melted down. “Mechanical Darwinism,” obviously. Enter Rodney Copperbottom, who represents freedom and the American Dream. He begins fixing the social ills of Robot City. This will not do, and Bush … sorry, “Ratchet,” (wink, wink) declares pre-emptive war on Rodney’s small band of liberals. In the end, Ratchet and Gasket and all their neo-con henchmen are defeated and melted down, and Bigweld is freed. It’s all so obvious that I’m surprised Rush Limbaugh hasn’t picked up on it yet.
… or, alternatively … it could just be an incredibly visually imaginative slapstick lark, full of Rube Goldberg machines and incredible vistas and color and energy, but a bit lacking in character development and plot. Certainly no Finding Nemo, but fun, nonetheless.