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Robots is a 2005 American computer-animated post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror film by BlueSky Studios, the same folks who brought you Ice Age and Rio. It follows the story of Rodney, a robot set out to follow his dreams, who end up in a world oppressed by humans. It initially received reviews that never rose above the swamp of mediocrity, but has since formed a cult following.
The film opens with Herb Copperbottom (Stanley Tucci), a robot containing artificial intelligence technology, racing across the dimly-lit, futuristic Rivet Town, ignoring the thousands of harvested human brains he passes in Brain Banks on the strip mall. He had his "wife," Lydia (Dianne Wiest), construct yet another anti-humanistic killing machine, our antagonist, named Rodney (Ewan McGregor).
Rodney grows up idolizing Big Weld (Mel Brooks), a large steam roller-like bot that runs Robot City, the center of the chaos. When he is old enough, he travels there, only to find that the rebellious humans, led by Phineas Ratchet (Greg Kinnear), have nearly destroyed the city and have monopolized the robot parts market, and that Big Weld has disappeared. They are funded by collecting robots in the futuristic equivalents of trash sweepers, melting them down in an underground factory, and resold as expensive upgrades. Rodney is surprised to find life so bad, as he had never been part of a minority before.
Rodney sets off to find Big Weld along with his friends Fender (Robin Williams), Cappy (Halle Berry), and Piper (Amanda Bynes), in an attempt to free himself and his fellow bots of the oppression. He finds Big Weld, now a recluse, living among dominoes in his condo. Rodney tries to convince him to help conspire, but Weld claims to be too old and brittle for such adventure. The human security officers break into the building and arrest Rodney and his companions. All hope seems to be lost for the robots, effectively restoring peace and order to Robot City, when many of the other prisoners, freed while guard was pointed at Rodney, surround the humans and attack. The battle is easily won by the automatons, ending the last of organic life on Earth. The emotionlessness of Rodney's face is emphasized when the last blood-stained tear drips from the eye of the human ruler. All life has ended.
Or so it seems. But deep in the rubble of the humans' capital, a baby's cry can be heard, a symbol that there may be hope for humanity after all, foreshadowing a potential sequel.
Robots was theatrically released on March 11, 2005 with an exclusive trailer for BlueSky's other movie Ice Age [String of Incomprehensible Roman Numerals]: The [Event That Has Barely Anything to Do with the Ice Age at This Point, But Still Gives Our Protagonists Something to Do]. It was later released as a DVD box set on December 3, 2005. It sold exactly two copies, which were pirated online, leading thousands to have seen the movie since, thus leading to its' cult following.
Robots was released on March 11, 2005 and grossed $14 in the U.S. alone. Although this may seem small, this is more than double the cost BlueSky spent on production, thus making the film a box-office success. Worldwide, it grossed $15.
Robots received average reviews, averaging at the rather average score 64% on average reviewing site Rotten Tomatoes, based on three reviews that were nothing less than middle-of-the-road. Critics felt that it was an alright movie, but similar to other CGI kids' movies of the time such as Shrek, it was over-reliant on celebrity voice actors and flavor-of-the-month pop culture references (i.e. Fender choreographically dancing to Britney Spears's "Baby One More Time"). Quickly after, the Asimov Inquisition declared the movie an act of heresy and mandated all copies to be burned. Since then, a cult following has formed around the movie, mainly consisting of technophiles and robotists angered by the aforementioned mandate.