I had been wanting to see this movie for quite a while, since I had heard that it was one of Disney’s better animated films compared to the previous few years. But I didn’t know enough about it to be motivated to go out and rent it. When my younger son found it in the library and picked it out, I was quite happy to agree to check it out (especially as getting it from the library means no rental fee, and we get it for a whole week).
If you haven’t seen it, it’s a good family movie. It’s imaginative, humorous, and has a good lesson without being the slightest bit “preachy.” It’s about not giving up, even when you fail over and over. And it’s about the importance of family – even if your family is a bid odder than most. Some of the words I’ve seen in comments about it (at imdb.com) are “quirky” and “heartwarming,” and I think both apply very well.
It’s hard to describe it without either being confusing or giving away too much of the story, but it’s about an extremely smart little boy whose inventions don’t always work quite right. He’s also an orphan, and one of the things he’s about ready to give up on is ever being adopted. It’s also about time travel, and the bad things that can happen from messing with the past. I’m not sure when the story is supposed to take place (the part that’s not in the future, that is) – I don’t think there have been kids living in orphanages waiting to be adopted for a long time (in this country, which is where one assumes it takes place). But that doesn’t detract in the least from the story.
There have been other movies about kids waiting to be adopted, other movies about inventions that don’t work right, other movies about time travel, and other movies about the importance of family. But this one doesn’t give the feeling of having copied any of the others – it’s just too quirky to feel like a ripoff of anything (although there are some very oblique references to other Disney movies).
If you like the music of Danny Elfman, it may interest you to know that he composed and produced the score for this movie. I haven’t seen very many of the movies that use his music, but I tend to associate his music with movies that are more dark or at least quirky than heartwarming. My older son’s marching band did an entire show this past year using the music of Danny Elfman, and I recognized very little of it. But I since I was barely aware of the music during this movie, it must have fit very well with the action and mood.