Warning: I will be giving major spoilers and you can either read on and deal or run away.
I went to see this movie in the early afternoon. I was thinking cheaper ticket price. I completely forgot it was prime time for children to be at movies aimed at kids. I was slightly worried that I was about to sit through a substanceless jumble of colors. Instead, I got to sit through a very pleasant movie that was actually age appropriate. If anything, I would say that I hope the little kids didn’t understand everything because this move had a few pretty hardcore moments.
First, this is not just a Disney movie but it is also a superhero movie so the main character is not only parentless but also subjected to the trauma of losing the closest person in the world to him pretty dramatically.
Then, the main kid also has to deal with making super adult decisions like letting the basically sentient robot kind of sacrifice himself. He also gets to address the inner baseness in humanity as he struggles with his desire to make the nice robot go against his programming not to harm humans and have it try to murder the baddie.
Don’t get me wrong. I would see this move a second and third time in theaters, no deliberation. I will even see the eventual sequel and possibly stoop to watching the show if that is how Disney takes it. It was adorable, surprisingly deep, and fresh. This is a movie I would allow any child I was responsible for to see.
The freshness was partly due to the setting. San Fransokyo is basically a version of San Francisco a few decades in the future at most and with pagoda infused architecture. I’m not familiar with the source material for this at all, I have been told it was a legit comic book, but I loved the characters and the world and I needed no explanation for anything. I bought the set-up immediately.
Even the kind-of stereotypes were not unwelcome. The bad guy isn’t who you think he is. The traumatic sacrifices. The Asian is smart. The biker girl has attitude. The chilax guy is rich but never thought to bring it up. But each cliché is twisted just enough to allow for the familiarity of the concept to hold while infusing the story with new elements creating strong and new associations.
Since I am in love with the entire experience I will spend just a moment nitpicking. Part of the emotion of the plot depends upon the supposed death of the robot. But come on. This is the first of its kind. It was programmed. Who creates something that spectacular and doesn’t back up the memory or create a duplicate function card? I call b.s.
Final Verdict: If you are a jaded, superior, egotistical, hipsterish adult who has lost all sense of wonder and can no longer take pleasure from happiness and pure lovableness then this movie is not for you. If you thought Wreck-it Ralph and The Lego Movies were enjoyable then this will be right up your alley. And if you are on the fence I would suggest giving it a chance.