Thursday, April 05, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

So, there is a new Disney Movie out called Meet the Robinsons . It's based on the book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. Wikipedia has a great summary of the movie, more in depth than IMDb or Yahoo!Movies or many others. What is interesting is that in the previews and trailers you don't realize that adoption plays a MAJOR part in the movie.

I guess I'm just a bit surprised (but then again, not all that surprised) that it had such a big adoption theme, yet it wasn't really known until the movie actually came out. All I really have heard was the tag line "I have a big head and little arms" that you hear quite a bit in the commercial . Even the trailer shown in the theaters doesn't really go into the adoption them (it's mentioned just briefly - that "all Lewis wanted was to find the family he never knew").

As is in the case of most things, there are two sides to every story, and varying opinions on everything.

I received an email from a friend who is also adopting. She was passed on this letter from the Executive Director of External Affairs for Wide Horizons For Children (an adoption agency) with their take on the movie:

Dear WHFC family,

We feel that it is important to warn you about a Disney movie called "Meet the Robinsons" that is now playing at many local cinemas. The advertising for this animated feature makes it sound like a great movie for any young child. Fortunately, one of our adoptive parents alerted us about the negative adoption messages in the story and the very unhappy experience she had with both of her children who were very greatly disturbed by the messages conveyed in this film. As a result, I went to see the film to decide if it warrented putting out an alert to our adoptive parent community. Indeed, I thought that the concerns raised were completely valid.

The movie is filled with extraordinarily inappropriate messages about adoption. The basic story is about an adorable baby whose birthmother leaves him on the doorstep of an orphanage. Portrayed as loving, sweet, extremely smart and overly appealing, he spends the next 12 years of his life wanting a family and being turned down by one family after another - in all, 114 couples refuse to adopt him. One scene shows a prospective dad losing interest in adoption because this very smart little boy is more interested in science than sports. The prospective parents leave the disappointed child in a huff when he accidently splatters them with some liquid from his science project. This is supposed to be funny.

Since no one else wants him, the child invents a time machine in order to go back in time to find his birth mother. The "bad guy" in his time travel journey turns out to be his best buddy from childhood, once his orphanage roommate. Now an emotional wreck resulting from being left behind when the orphanage was closed and shut down, the once-cute orphan is now mean and devious. Another chuckle. Various monsters attack the child as he continues his birth mother search. You get the picture !

I found "Meet the Robinsons" to be both tasteless and totally insensitive regarding adoption issues. Please think very carefully before taking your child to see it, whether adopted or not. I will write the Disney Corporation to let them know about my concerns about their flippent way of dealing with issues that are extremely important and not funny for millions of adoptees and their families in this country and around the world.

Feel free to share this message with anyone who you feel might benefit from knowing about this warning.

Vicki Peterson

Yet another agency, Bethany Christian Services has the following review:

Meet The Robinsons Movie Overview

Lewis is an orphan who dreams of finding a family. His journey takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson whisks him away to a world where anything is possible…THE FUTURE.

There, he meets an incredible assortment of characters and a family beyond his wildest imagination, The Robinsons, who help lead him on an amazing and hilarious adventure with heartfelt results.

Movie Review From Bethany

Bethany Christian Services staff members and families in the west Michigan area had the privilege of being part of a private preview screening. Bethany staff members were happy with the outcome of the movie which showed adoption as a positive message. It was really interesting watching an animated movie that had adoption play such a central role in the plot.

While we believe the movie in most aspects played a good balance between the sensitivity of adoption and child-focused humor, there are a couple parts of the movie that concerned us a bit. The fact that the movie starts in "modern-time" and has an orphanage in the U.S. and a birthmother who leaves her baby in a basket at the doorstep are both simply not realistic today and were only true in the U.S. many decades ago. We don't hold any of these parts against the film as we understand these parts are important in creating a compelling story that is also simple enough for children to follow.

Overall, we think it is an excellent movie that we hope is very successful in theaters. It was clear that the movie was very well liked by young children and will be successful with this audience. This is a story about adoption that you can take your whole family to view - it is rated G.

They even offer a Meet the Robinsons Leaders/Activity/Study Guide.

I found another movie review (more positive than the first one) from an adoptive parent. She really goes into detail, and like most people, she too didn't realize the movie had such a huge central adoption theme. I really enjoyed her realistic review of the movie.

What to think, what to take of it? I guess we'll need to go see it for ourselves, or wait to rent it on Netflix. Where we can make our own judgements about the movie.


Lani said...

Liz, thanks for the heads up on the movie, I never would have guessed it to be about adoption based on the previews i have seen. I am sure my friend will take her 4 yr old so i will be sure to ask her what she thinks!

I hope you are doing okay, I am so amazed by your continual postive outlook and attitude, that your child(ren) will find you. You and Mike seem like such good people, I have NO DOUBT you will get the family of your dreams soon.

I know you are in Texas, and our agency that we used is in San Antonio, please let me know if you ever want the info. We got a letter from them recently saying they are looking for adoptive parents.

Diana said...

Very interesting. I had no idea the movie dealt with adoption in any way. Thanks for the review info!