AntiConsumerism, catechesis, Catholic, cinema, Comedy, Consumerism, death, death penalty, ethnic cleansing, Euthanasia, faith, Healing, Human Dignity, ministry, movie, movie ministry, Robots, Sacrifice, See a need. Fill a need.
I’ve got to admit, I love a good kids movie. Featuring voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Amanda Bynes, Stanley Tucchi, Drew Carey, Jennifer Coolige and many others, this is a kids tale that I hope really sinks in the psyche of it’s intended audience!
Despite being quite funny, Robots reminds us what happens when we let consumerism take over and how to treat our elders. First, we see the birth and growth of our hero, Rodney Copperbottom. His parents are poor, and can’t afford new parts, so he often has hand-me-down parts from other relatives. He’s an inventor although his inventions need a little fine tuning. After one of his inventions goes awry, he decides to move to the big city in search of Bigweld the inventor and try to make a better life.
The big city isn’t quite as Rodney expects. Bigweld isn’t easy to find and those running Bigweld’s company have decided to stop making spare parts and emphaze upgrades. So, all those with old parts are declared “out modes” and street sweepers roam the streets in search of these out modes to collect them and take them to the scrap yard.
Rodney finds himself in the company of a gang of robots who are already or on the verge of “out mode” status. His knack for mechanics finds him fixing many out modes and the flock to him in droves. But he can still do only so much without new parts.
Okay – so what can we talk about with this one in terms of catechesis?
- Rodney Copperbottom is portrayed as a Jesus figure. He’s a healer. Bots flock to him for his repair talents. He tries to convince Bigweld that the welfare of the bots should take precedent over money. But Bigweld has given up the fight and resigned himself to other endeavors. How often did Jesus preach repentance – and work to help us all see the error of our ways. Rodney is criticized for repairing the old bots and is even somewhat persecuted because of it.
- This flick helps broach the topic of euthanasia and / or ethnic cleansing. Out modes are considered worthless. Anyone who doesn’t accept “upgrades” (which are beyond the financial abilities of most of the bots) and tries to maintain themselves as is, are considered enemies. Old bots are swept up by street sweepers to be melted down for new upgrades. Sounds eerily like rounding up Jews during the Holocaust or the ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Africa… maybe even like those protesters who were run over by tanks in Tienanmen Square. What about the idea that anyone over a certain age is a drain on society and therefore should be euthanized? Life is not considered sacred and therefore seen as disposable. But as we see, there’s a lot of life left in those old bots, and they have a lot to give!
- Upgrades make more money for the company… so spare parts are discontinued to force bots to upgrade – sound like anything familiar? Think about how fast technology is moving? When was the last time we chose upgrading the old over trashing the old to buy new? Nothing lasts anymore, why do you think that is? Well, if the items we buy don’t last as long, we have to buy new – right? Do we find ourselves wanting the latest and greatest or do we count our blessings and try to help others with our means?
- “See a need. Fill a need.” This is the film’s catchphrase. It’s used to encourage inventions in the beginning, but we see a switch to mean helping others fairly early on. What needs are there in your community? What needs are there in the world? What can you do to fill those needs? What resources do you need? How can you use your talents to make the world a better place?
This is definitely appropriate for all audiences. Like I said earlier, there’s enough here for adults despite being geared to kids. No need to split boys and girls as both are well represented and the jokes are pretty clean. So, check out this film when you get a chance! It’s well worth your time!
For more info, check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358082/