Hey gang, Valkor here. It's been a few years since I've heard the name "WowWee Toys" spoken in and around the halls of TOV; I can usually catch up to their reps at CES or other press events, but lately the company has been silent and off my radar for a good four almost five years. So imagine my face when I was slipped a DVD with the name "Cody the Robosapien"; Robosapien is the name of the company's flagship robot that's capable of doing all sorts of tricks and practical uses. How does this parlay into a feature film? Read on!
Cody the Robosapien is an 80s throwback reminiscent of films such as "Short Circuit" (Johnny 5 is alive!) or the more recent Ted (sans crude humor). But the major difference between the two is that Cody is mostly CG animated and is way livelier. Anywho, Robosapien (he is later given the name Cody), is the design of Allan (David Eigenberg) and his sole function is to be a search and rescue bot to aid humanity. However Allan's boss Porter (Kim Coates) has ulterior motives – to equip Robosapien with nuclear arms, turning him into a "search and destroy" bot, selling hundreds of them for millions of dollars. Allan objects to the idea and is fired on the spot. While being escorted off the premises by security, Allan is able to get the drop on the guards, deleting all of Robosapien's files and making off with the only working prototype. Back at Allan's apartment, Allan gives Robosapien specific instructions to "run like mad" if ever he sees the logo for Kinetech and of course the guards show up and as instructed, Robosapien makes a break for it, ending the chase on the rooftop, with the chase ending in Robosapien being shot off the roof, ending up in a garbage dump.
Running parallel to these events, we're introduced to Henry (Bobby Coleman), an 11 year old who is also a science whiz (see where this is going?); Henry is part of a somewhat dysfunctional family that includes his sister Meagan (Holliston Coleman) who is going through her raging teenage hormonal phase and his mom Joanna (Penelope Ann Miller), who is trying her best to keep the family together, but from the looks of things both inside and out of the home, they have a lot of work to do. At his school's science fair, Henry has a run in with bully Warren (Robbie E. Harrison), which ends with the two having a confrontation after school and Warren getting an accidental sock in the nose. The chase is on and Henry is able to escape his pursuers by diving into a dumpster – the very same dumpster that Robosapien fell into. Henry scoops up Robo's pieces, brings him home, andrepairs him. Once Robosapien is repaired, he is given the name Cody and the two instantly become good friends. Not only that but Cody is a hit at Henry's school and helps to mend the broken pieces of Henry's fractured family. But Kinetech is hot on the bot's heels; Porter needs Cody back for a demonstration that would put millions in his pocket, so he desperately needs the bot back ASAP.
While it might appear I've detailed a lot, actually… I barely scratched the surface, because there's so much more contained within this 85 minute film – a whole lot more, it'll make your head spin. I also mentioned Ted as one of the films Cody the Robosapien is related too, and by that comparison I mean once Cody is revealed, it appears he's accepted by everyone without a second glance. The film was written and directed by Sean McNamara, who is no stranger to family-friendly films. So how does his latest fare? Let's check it out in the TOV Breakdown.
Cody the Robosapien is infused with enough charm and entertaining qualities that make this film hard NOT to enjoy. The story overall is pretty tight, though at times it can be messy and certain areas feel a tad bit rushed; but in the end it all cleans up nicely. The heart of the film is Cody, who not only has the perfect voice in Jae Head, but also the moves to back it up – he is the liveliest CG bot I've ever witnessed on the big screen. Plus his interactions with his human counterparts are almost seamless. A prime example is the scene where Cody and Henry play two on two against Warren and his friend; the scene is nicely edited and the camera hangs back far enough that you enjoy Cody's drive, stick, move, dip and dive between his opponents. It's quite an amazing feat. The acting is a mix between really good and super cheesy, with a shining star going to Bobby Coleman who performs well as shy, awkward Henry and of course voice acting nod to Jae Head, who plays well off of Coleman's Henry. Cody the Robosapien is a fun film, with lots of charm and it's certainly loads of fun.
Me thinks the actors ham it up just a bit too much in this one, especially towards the end. But that's not my biggest complaint. My biggest complaint is that the film is just too syrupy sweet and it comes across almost tv-sitcomish. Case in point, the montage of Henry and Cody, splice it up enough and you have the perfect 80's opening. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does add a layer of cheese that's not wanted.
Cody the Robosapien aka Robosapien Rebooted, is making the limited theatrical rounds and if its showing in your area, I'd say check it out if you're looking for a few hours to kill. It's a nice 80's throwback that charming, entertaining and fun for the entire family. Out of TOV 5 stars, Cody gets a 4. Come on WowWee, start mass producing those Cody bots!