Watching the Blue Sky – Robots (2005) Review

Plot: Young Rodney is a robot who always aspired to be a famous inventor like his idol, Mr. Bigweld, who is viewed as one of the best bots in the world. When he moves out to the big city to show Mr. Bigweld his inventions and try to work for him, he finds that Mr. Bigweld is gone. In his place is a tyrannical robot named Ratchet who is using his business to force all robots into upgrading instead of repairing or replacing. Thousands of bots who can’t afford to upgrade are being labeled as “outmodes” and being sent to the scrapyard. Rodney has to find Mr. Bigweld and stop Ratchet before it’s too late.

Breakdown: Being honest, I wasn’t expecting too much going into this – and I say that as someone who sincerely loves robots. I haven’t heard a whole lot about this movie before now, and the only time I remember people talking about it was when people on Twitter started circulating that one joke about how “Making the baby is the fun part.”

However, I was pleasantly surprised. I very much enjoyed this movie all the way through. It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but it’s very fun, cool, funny and even a little emotional.

The animation is pretty good. I think it’s pretty cool how each robot has a fairly unique manner of moving depending on how they’re designed. The art is also stylized quite well and is fun to look at. The characters all mostly stand out from each other, are colorful and have little quirks that either add to their comedic factor or make them more useful. I also appreciate how well the sound design worked with the robots for the most part.

I also think the way the robots “age” is interesting. They get various replacement parts each year and, I guess, undergo some mild rebuilding every year to show their aging process.

The music was a mixed bag. The orchestral score works pretty well. It was nothing too unique or memorable, but it did keep me engaged and felt very fitting to each scene. My issue comes with the pop music. Taking a note from Dreamworks, I suppose, Blue Sky included some pop songs along with some more fitting but also kinda distracting older pop songs. There was one song in the middle where I really don’t think it is a pop song, because it sounds like a song written for the movie, but that would be the only time the movie would have a legit musical number, despite no characters singing. It’s very weird.

The absolute worst moment of this soundtrack being distracting was when Fender, a bot voiced by Robin Williams, so he’s basically just Robin Williams as a robot, fights off a bunch of robots by suddenly breaking out into “Hit Me Baby One More Time”….The joke is that he’s wearing a female lower half so he….sang a girl song? Also, the song was seven years old by this point, so it’s not even relevant. Definitely the worst moment in the movie.

And, of course, there was a dance party at the end because animated movie in the 00s.

The story was very cliché, but was strong enough to hold my attention. Also, they did throw me for one loop. When they introduced Mr. Bigweld, I thought for sure he’d be the villain. Rodney hero-worshiped him, he was a fat rich guy who seemed like he loved everyone and everyone loved him, he had statues made of him and everything. But nope. Mr. Bigweld was a good guy just overtaken by an evil guy who was a pawn for an evil woman.

Big corporation bad turned big corporation good as long as the people running it are good. Which, yeah, in an ideal world. That’s nice to think about.

Speaking of big corporation bad, dear god, the body count of this movie. I can only imagine how many “outmodes” got sent to the scrapyard IE murdered because they couldn’t afford the upgrades. It’s actually kinda disturbing how many parallels you can make to our world if you imagine all the characters as people….

There are no subplots in the movie, it’s right on one track and we keep going until the end. If I had any real complaints about the story it’s that I really wish Rodney had spent more time struggling and living with the other downtrodden robots, because, as far as I see, he arrived in this city, realized the problems involving an incredibly huge and influential corporation and fixed the issue entirely in like three days.

I didn’t much care for the romantic…..anything in this movie. Fender getting a love interest, I’m cool with. However, Rodney has two love interests in this movie, Piper, who is Fender’s little sister, and Cappy, who is an employee of Bigweld Industries. He has more screen time with Piper, but it’s like she’s not considered an actual romantic interest because she’s too young, but Rodney is only supposed to be like 18 or 19 while Piper is like 16 or 17 at least.

Cappy, whose age I’d imagine is in her late 20s or so, considering she’s a high-ranked employee at Bigweld Industries, is definitely framed as the main love interest, but they barely spend any time together, and the time they do spend together is usually with a lot of other people. They don’t get any moments together, alone or otherwise, they just get a few knowing glances between them. Cappy doesn’t even have a personality. She’s just a nice lady who works at Bigweld and constantly gets sexually harassed by Ratchet because that trope has to stay alive I guess.

And, yes, even in robot world, we can’t escape women being sexually harassed.

Speaking of women, I get that this movie was made in 2005, but some of the humor around women was a little uncomfortable. Like when Rodney gets a new torso for his senior year, he has to use a hand-me-down from his cousin….who is a girl. So he has a pink torso with a boob curve to it.

Rodney finds a new lower half in a panic after losing his in the scrap yard, and it’s a woman’s. So he goes “This is so wrong!”

When they meet Ratchet’s eviler mom, Fender calls her a “sir” and she points out that she’s a woman, so Fender says “Ouch!” and one of the other robots has his lightbulb eyes burst. Some of the humor hasn’t aged well, is all.

I don’t think this movie is sexist, for the most part, as the women do get a decent degree of things to do, including fighting, but there’s the whole ‘Cappy has no personality’ thing, and the fact that nearly all of the women in this movie just act as love interests.

I also didn’t think Ratchet needed an even more evil mother running the scrapyard to basically be his puppeteer. Ratchet is evil enough on his own. Although, this did make for a few good jokes, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

The comedy was pretty good. I was laughing fairly consistently. Not busting a gut or anything, but quite a surprising amount of chuckles. They’re probably cheating a little bit because I’m a sucker for puns and there are just so many robot puns and visual gags in this movie.

The action was also alright. I think the first action scene where Rodney and Fender are being flung all around town on that transport ball went on just a little too long, though.

The emotional moments hit a little more than I expected them to. I wasn’t choking up, but it did manage to connect with me several times. I think it was a really good idea to start this movie with Rodney’s dad super excited about being a dad and watching Rodney grow up for a bit before getting into the main story. It didn’t drag, and it made me feel a lot more for him and his parents than if we just started with him as an adult.

The characters all work well enough. I like Rodney and his parents quite a bit, Piper can be kinda cool, Mr. Bigweld was pretty funny and cool, and Fender has his moments. Sometimes he can really be too much, though. Even Genie knew when to tone it down, but Fender just never stops. I also never once felt like he and Piper were siblings.

I want to really lay out why this relationship doesn’t work. Fender is voiced by Robin Williams. Piper is voiced by Amanda Bynes. When this movie came out, Amanda Bynes was 19. Robin Williams was 54….They just don’t sound, in any way, like siblings. They’re written like siblings, they act like siblings, kinda, but they don’t sound like it. He just sounds like her dad or uncle.

Overall, Robots was an enjoyable experience that I had quite a bit of fun with. You’re not going to get much in the way of anything deep or new with it, but I do think you’ll be pretty entertained by it most of the time. I’d gladly watch it again in the future.

Recommended Audience: There are a few iffy jokes in there, but they never go too far. There’s the “making the baby” joke and they make a penis joke when Rodney is finished because they forgot to attach it………….I know you’re probably wondering a lot about how sex and sexes/genders in robots works in this world…..well, me too. And I wish I wasn’t. I guess you can also say there’s some scary imagery what with the robots being destroyed and picked apart. There was one moment where they officially announced that replacement parts were being discontinued. The robots were panicking because they thought they’d wind up dying if they couldn’t pay for upgrades. A robot fell apart in front of them and the vultures just started grabbing any parts of him they could. It’s hilarious, but also really messed up when you remember these are sentient beings. I guess 7+.

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Watching the Blue Sky – Ice Age (2002) Review

Plot: In the dawn of the ice age, all of the animals have begun migrating south – All except Manfred “Manny” the mammoth and Sid the sloth. Sid got left behind by his family while he was sleeping and Manfred purposely went the opposite direction so he could live his life in solitude. The two are brought together when a dying woman entrusts her baby to the pair and they make it their mission to find its ‘pack’ and reunite it with its father.

Along the way, they begrudgingly team up with Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, who is sent out on a mission from his boss to get the baby, but decides to add a bonus mammoth to the haul. He sets up an ambush right next to their destination. With the tigers and the dangerous hunters waiting for them, can Manny and Sid get the baby to its father with their lives intact?

Breakdown: Ah, Blue Sky Studios – long time runt of the animation company litter. I have nothing against Blue Sky Studios, but they’ve always had a problem with reaching a level of quality that was the same as the top dogs – Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks. Funny how both Pixar and Blue Sky are now under Disney’s umbrella.

They at least tended to stay at the upper part of the animation studio B-squad list (with Sony Pictures Animation and Illumination) but nowadays I’d say even that’s not accurate since Sony keeps upping their game, especially with Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse. They probably grapple with Illumination above all else, but they’re still doing better at the box office with the damn Minions taking over all of society.

Blue Sky rode the coattails of Ice Age for a long time, to the point where it became a joke. Now that the Ice Age train has seemingly stopped (There supposedly has been talks of another sequel, but nothing has been said since 2016, and their future slate doesn’t include anything Ice Age related), they don’t have much of a stake anymore. Only future endeavors will tell. I am somewhat interested in Spies in Disguise, so there’s something.

It might be surprising to some people to hear that I’ve never watched any of the Ice Age movies, considering how they were everywhere for a while. I only had bare minimum knowledge on them, too. I knew Ray Romano was in them, there was a funny acorn-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel named Scrat, and it took place in the ice age. That’s about it. It just never interested me.

Now that I’ve given it a shot, I’m happy to say that it was a pretty good movie and surpassed my, albeit somewhat low, expectations. It never really made me laugh, but it kinda made me smile. The action was pretty good, and, somehow, this movie managed to tug on my heartstrings several times.

It even went down a bit of a dark path with Manny’s past. I figured his family had died and that’s why he was such a loner, but I didn’t figure that not only was it a case of him being a father and husband (instead of him losing his family as a child or something) but that his family was killed by hunters and it’s implied that they stoned them to death…..


I also didn’t expect that Diego was on a path to being a good guy until about halfway through, which is strange because typically plotlines like that are easier to spot at the start.

I did feel a bit ripped off at the very end, though. Death fake-outs are nothing new, and this movie did a couple already, but they had what seemed to be a real death scene, goodbyes and all, for Diego near the end. We didn’t see how badly he was wounded, because kids movie, In fact, we can’t see any wound at all, but it’s implied that it’s a bad wound with how they’re all reacting. Manny doesn’t even argue very much when Diego tells him to leave him behind because it’s implied that he realizes his wounds are simply too grave.

I was shocked when they actually did leave him behind. For a few moments, I thought for certain that they were going to have the balls to kill off a main character in a touching and respectful manner. I was prepared to write the review and give them so much props for that. He was a bad guy gone good because of the influence of those around him and his dying act was an ultimate act of redemption…..


……But, nope.

Right after they bring the baby back to its father, Diego just comes out of nowhere, no wound in sight, not even limping – perfectly fine. I had to pause the movie because I just felt that insulted. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Diego. That’s one of the reasons why his ‘death’ emotionally impacted me at the time. I’m glad to see him alive, but at the same time I feel insulted that they pulled such a ridiculous bait and switch.

I can’t really fault the writers here too much because, upon further investigation, this was a change made at the last minute. Diego was originally set to die, but when they presented the film to a test audience of children, they burst into tears when Diego’s death scene occurred. Since emotional responses are apparently bad, they opted to hastily rewrite the ending to have Diego unrealistically live.

From a studio standpoint, I get it. But from a writing standpoint, I don’t. You write a death scene for a main character, you get tears – that’s a GOOD thing. That’s the emotion you’re going for. Why would you see that response and take that as a problem that needs to be fixed? It’s just frustrating, is all.

Diego’s story is interesting in its own right. At first, I really thought he was merely a lackey character for the main bad tiger, but he showed some signs of having sympathy for the humans at the start, and he developed a lot over the movie as he traveled with Manny and Sid.

However, I think the one big downside to his story arc is the fact that the main bad tiger is so forgettable. I even confused him with Diego several times because they didn’t do much to differentiate them, design-wise. His motivation is hatred against the humans because they killed half of his pack and wore their furs. He wants to kill the baby of this group personally because the baby’s father was the one who lead the slaughter. A bit of emotional and mental revenge rather than just killing the guy.

It’s actually somewhat weird, because, if we’re meant to hate this guy and feel sympathy for the humans because he wants to kill their baby, doesn’t that mean we’re meant to hate the humans too because they killed Manny’s kid?

The main bad tiger does have a name, Soto, but he’s so forgettable and bland that I couldn’t remember it until I read the Wiki synopsis. I even had a list of the other tigers’ names in the credits and I still wasn’t 100% sure I’d be getting his name right.

The way the humans are portrayed is very realistic, which surprised me. I thought for sure they’d be demonized like most any other hunter is in nearly any show or movie where animals are the main characters. The animals do show a clear distaste for them, even Manny, but the hatred isn’t born of ‘they’re humans and hunters, so they’re terrible beings. It’s born of personal vendettas. Soto hates them because they killed tigers in his pack and wore their pelts, Manny doesn’t like them because they killed his family, Diego hates them for the same reason as Soto, and Sid is simply afraid of them. In fact, Sid’s the one who first openly accepts the kid and vows to get it back to its pack.

One question that continues to pop up as they go about their journey is ‘Why help this kid? It’ll probably just grow up to be a hunter.’ and the answer is never really given. It’s just the right thing to do. Plus, even if you do hold a grudge against humans for hunting animals, the baby hasn’t done anything itself yet, if it will at all.

It’d be wrong to demonize them anyway because they really have no choice but to hunt animals. It’d be like demonizing literally any carnivore. especially in the ice age considering that foliage is extremely scarce. They need the meat for food. They need the animal pelts to keep warm. They need their bones for weapons, etc.

They show that the child’s parents are very loving. The mother literally sacrifices her life to save her child (even though the method could’ve easily killed the baby too…) and they cut to the father several times throughout the movie, holding a necklace that belonged to his wife and looking behind the group as they travel, hoping to see a glimpse of them trying to follow. It’s very sweet and sad.


However, that’s slightly tainted when we get to the part where they show Manny’s wife and kid being killed by hunters. The wife thing is bad enough, but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth knowing they killed a baby mammoth too – the child of a main character, no less. Though, I guess that goes to show how big of a person Manny is as he doesn’t only not hold a grudge, but he lovingly cares for the kid and returns it without issue.

The dynamic between Manny, Sid and Diego is pretty good. Manny’s the voice of reason, Diego’s the also reasonable but somewhat aggressive one, and Sid’s the annoying idiot.

Sid did grow on me as the movie went on, mostly because of how much he clearly loved the kid, but it’s a really terrible start for a character when the first memorable thing they do is stomp through the food of two innocent rhinos as he tries to scrape shit from his feet. He even eats the last dandelion, which was supposed to be a nice little special treat for them.

The CGI and animation has certainly not aged well, especially in regards to the humans. The animals are passable, especially Manny and Scrat, but Sid’s design is all sorts of fugly.

The voice acting is pretty good. There’s not a whole lot of emotion to be had here. I appreciate that the humans didn’t talk most of the time and, when they did, we couldn’t understand them. I don’t know if that was for the sake of the main characters being animals, so, since they can’t understand them, neither can we, or they’re adhering to the fact that English and most other languages hadn’t been created at that point.

The music is okay. At least they didn’t load the movie up with pop songs or anything. Most of the music is a traditional score with only one vocal song, ‘Send Me On My Way’ by Rusted Root, being present.

Bottom Line: Ice Age was a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t knocking my socks off or anything, but it was a fun and touching story that I’m sure kids and adults alike would be able to enjoy. The art and animation are certainly dated, but outside of some freaky shots of the human characters, it’s nothing too bad.

Recommended Audience: There are some light poop jokes and mentions of killing. Even though we see Manny’s family get killed, it’s done in a cave painting animation (which is pretty cool) and the death is never seen or heard. The animation ends once we see the hunters above them holding up rocks. There are two deaths that occur in real time, but one just has her vanishing in the water, and the other is off-screen (impaled by falling icicles.) There is absolutely no blood in this movie, even when we saw Diego with his supposedly horrible life-threatening wound from a zoomed out shot. 6+

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