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See a need, fill a need!

Looking for the trope? See Robot.

"You can shine no matter what you're made of!"

Robots is a 2005 CGI-animated film produced by Blue Sky Studios, directed by Chris Wedge and co-produced by William Joyce. It's written by David Lindsay-Abaire, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel.

After an accident in a local restaurant results in Herb Copperbottom (Stanley Tucci) going into debt, his ambitious young son Rodney (voiced by Ewan McGregor) leaves his hometown for Robot City, hoping to show his inventions to his childhood hero and revered inventor, Bigweld (Mel Brooks). To his dismay, Bigweld has been displaced by Corrupt Corporate Executive Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) who is interested only in selling shiny upgrade parts to robots, leaving anybody who can't afford them to rust.

Rodney finds himself alone and broke in the big city. Luckily (or unluckily) for him, he becomes friends with motormouth and kleptomaniac Fender Pinwheeler (Robin Williams), who introduces him to his little sister Piper (Amanda Bynes) and his misfit collection of friends: Lug (Harland Williams), Crank Casey (Drew Carey), and Diesel (who needs a new voice chip and is The Speechless for most of the movie.).

Ratchet's factory stops producing spare parts, forcing robots to upgrade worn-out components. For bots like Fender and his friends who can't afford the upgrades, this means being recycled in the chop shop - a nightmare world beneath the city which just happens to be overseen by Ratchet's domineering mother, Madame Gasket (Jim Broadbent).

Rodney, as The Hero, isn't just going to sit back and let this happen. With the help of Cappy (Halle Berry), an employee of Ratchet's who is disgusted by the way things are going, he sets out to reinstate Bigweld and defeat Gasket & Ratchet.

The voice cast also includes Dianne Wiest as Lydia Copperbottom and Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Fanny.

The film was released on March 11, 2005.

Not to be confused with the live-action film from 2023.

Previews: Teaser Trailer, Trailer, International Trailer

Robots contains examples of:

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  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese dub uses "Mawaru Sora" written by Hitomi Yaida for its ending theme.
    • The theme song for most European and Australian releases is "From Zero to Hero" by Sarah Connor.
    • The British release of the film uses "See Me" by Melanie Blatt.
    • The Latin American dub uses "Un Héroe Real" by Aleks Syntek.
  • American Gothic Couple: A robotic version of the pair appear on Fender's bedroom wall.
  • And Show It to You: During the repair montage, Rodney takes out a robot's heart, which is still beating and attached by a wire. Fender faints at the sight.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: The robots have a rowdy party in Rivet Town when the Big Bad Madame Gasket eventually brutally dies in an explosion in the Final Battle. Justified since she's an Asshole Victim who planned on a genocide plot.
  • Arc Words: "You can shine no matter what you're made of." Also, "See a need, fill a need."
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Rodney and Bigweld need to take out a bunch of sweeper robots. Bigweld uses this trope, and Rodney delivers the punchline with a completely insane plan.
    Bigweld: This isn't what I was thinking at all!
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Ratchet subdues Bigweld with the intercom, knocking the big guy out, he orders his guards to take him to the Chop Shop and to "put my name on his parking space."
  • Art Deco: Everything in Robot City is based off this design, bordering on Raygun Gothic.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: where Fender is captured by a dreaded Sweeper.
    Fender: Help! Open the door! OPEN THE DOOR! (Doors open to reveal the Chop Shop) WHOA! Close the door! CLOSE THE DOOR!
  • Award-Bait Song: Shine by Ricky Fanté.
  • World of Pun: When the movie isn't tossing jokes aimed at adults, it's throwing a series of puns at the audience.
  • Back Blocking: This was played for laughs when Madame Gasket busts into the room where Ratchet was having a massage. When he asked her how she got in, she says that she came up through the air shaft out of concern for Ratchet not liking it when other people see the two of them together. When she moves away, Ratchet sees how she got into the room: She made a hole shaped exactly like herself through the back wall.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Cappy and Piper get cornered by Gasket's underlings, and defeat them by hooking their arms together and have Piper kicking away the enemies as Cappy spins around.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Rodney and Fender are able to sneak into the Annual Bigweld Ball without an invitation by disguising themselves as the esteemed noble Count Rodrick Von Brokenzipper (formerly Count Velcro) and his servant, respectively, and proceeding to make a show of how they're expected to be at the party. When Tim the Gate Guard initially refuses them entry upon finding out that they aren't on the invite list, the duo fuss up a huge storm before attempting to leave, while Tim nervously backtracks his statement and allows them entry.
  • Betty and Veronica: Rodney gets caught up in a love triangle as two female characters express an attraction to him, with Piper (an outmode from the group Rodney befriends) as the Betty and Cappy (a sleek, upgrade-wearing Bigweld Industries executive) as the Veronica. There's an interesting take on the temperaments, though, as Piper is the brash, outgoing and social one while Cappy is the calmer and more sensible of the two.
  • Big Anime Eyes: Invoked. As Fender is taking photos of Rodney, he asks for "big anime eyes".
  • Big Bad: At first, it appears that Ratchet is the main villain of the film as he is the one who reveals the plan to replace the spare parts with the upgrades. However, this is subverted later on, as it turns out that the real mastermind behind it all is his mother, Madame Gasket.
  • Big Damn Heroes
    Piper: Did I miss the bot-whoopin'?
    Crank: In fact you're a bit early.
    Piper:(accompanied by the outmodes Rodney fixed) Then let's get started!
  • Big Good: Bigweld. He is the one who ultimately helps keep the robot world alive by manufacturing the spare parts and inventing various things to make their lives better.
  • Black Comedy: Aunt Fanny's farts are so bad that a robot on the street outside her house asphyxiates to death, with a chalk outline of the body on the street the next morning.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: Rodney and Fender infiltrate the Bigweld Ball by pretending to be Count Roderick Von Brokenzipper (formerly Count Velcro) and his valet, respectively.
  • Blunt "Yes": When Gasket informs Ratchet that the outmodes are being fixed up:
    Gasket: Someone's fixing them!
    Ratchet: What?
    Gasket: Someone is repairing outmodes! And they are laughing at you!
    Ratchet: Who? And are you sure they're not laughing with me?
    Gasket: Yes.
  • Board to Death: Ratchet, after taking over Bigweld Industries, tends to eliminate those who miss the old boss.
  • Book Ends: The film starts and ends in Rivet Town.
  • Boomerang Bigot:
    • Ratchet himself, that treats "outmode" robots as trash despite his mother not being the shiniest piece of metal around, god knows why his father is that way, and his mother explicitly says his shining parts were stolen and, considering what she does, much probably not in a non-violent way. It seems to be sincere though, since he keeps that speech even after is revealed to everyone who his mother is.
    • Madame Gasket is a subversion. Ratchet's Fantastic Racism agenda is only the first part of an implied plan to Take Over the World, with Ratchet as façade for it, while Gasket rules from the shadows.
  • Broken Pedestal: Rodney's faith in Bigweld takes a huge hit towards the climax of the film after seeing what he's become in the intervening years between Rodney's childhood and their meeting. Once He's Back!, becomes a Rebuilt Pedestal.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Seen on Rodney and Cappy as they are walking through the dark entrance hallway to Bigweld's mansion. Justified because they're robots, and their eyes have built-in flashlights.
  • Chainsaw Good:
    • No actual chainsaws per se, but Madame Gasket's minions boast pretty impressive sawblade arms.
    • The giant (and apparently decorative) sawblade that Rodney and Bigweld use to knock over all the Super-Sweepers domino-style, taking them out of the fight.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Crosstown Express in Robot City plays a HUGE part after Rodney busts Bigweld out of the penthouse office and tries to get him away from Ratchet.
    • Subtle, but Bigweld's domino fixation gives Rodney a really bright way to battle the Super-Sweepers.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The bad robots tend to be chrome (or rust-coated...things) while the good ones tend to have chipped paint or a distinctly retro feel.
  • Comically Oversized Butt: Aunt Fanny is built with a ridiculously large backside, which makes up most of her body. In her first scene, she accidentally knocks over furniture with it just trying to turn around.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: When the heroes question how Madame Gasket is going to fight them when there are six of them and only one of her, Madame Gasket reveals the many robots under her employ.
  • Conveyor Belt of Doom:
    • Fender ends up in the Chop Shop and nearly ends up in the furnace. He barely managed to escape the factory after finding a pair of female legs.
    • Bigweld ended up being held hostage and was unable to get out of the bucket. Rodney was able to save him during the final battle.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Phineas T. Ratchet and Madame Gasket plan to use Ratchet's position as head of Bigweld Industries to create a Robot City populated exclusively by upgraded robots. Their scheme involves conning robots out of their money by convincing them to replace their old bodies in favor of shiny newer ones, and shutting down production of spare parts for older models to make the new parts their only choice... and they're not afraid to melt down anyone who gets in their way.
  • Cowardly Yellow: When Rodney says it is time to show the villains what they are made of, Fender replies that he is made of is afraidium, which he describes as yellow and tastes like chicken.
  • Cranium Chase: Fender's head falls off because he's lost the bolt that keeps it in place. He tries to pick it up but keeps accidentally kicking it away.
  • Crossdresser:
    • Fender ends up in a skirt and heels, though this is more like an Easy Sex Change.
    • At one point in his adolescence, Rodney's hand-me-downs are from his cousin Veronica. This part of his adolescence is mercifully skipped, and he's only shown wearing it in a single image. At graduation, he throws it away in the air.

  • Dance Party Ending: The day has been saved. Time for music and dancing. It's played with when Herb turns out to be a terrible musician and Crank claims he ruined the ending, but a marching band picks up the slack.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Cappy. The upgrades she wears are a dull gun-metal colour, as are the ones worn by Ratchet, but unlike the latter, she's a purely good character who shows empathy for the outmodes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters: Most notably Crank. Helps that he's voiced by Drew Carey!
    Crank: Hey want my advice?
    Rodney: Sure.
    Crank: Forget it. "Never try, never fail." Those are the words I live by.
  • Diesel Punk: Madame Gasket and the Chop Shop robots were designed to invoke this, rivets and all.
  • Eat the Camera: The camera zooms into baby Rodney's mouth when he screams after Herb hammers in his "extra piece".
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Inverted: Madame Gasket is even more villainous than Ratchet, but she still cares about her son.
  • Everything Is An I Pod In The Future: Invoked with Ratchet and his upgraded bots. They're all shiny and smoothly round, not to mention colored bright pretty chrome. It helps give them a sense of style being placed over practicality. Robot City also looks like this, to drive home how much more advanced and well-built it is than other cities.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A film about robots called "Robots".
  • Expy: Bigweld is essentially a mechanical Willy Wonka - instead of candy, he (logically) makes spare parts and upgrades.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: During the final battle, Diesel is dressed like a bandito and weird a pair of pistols. But instead of actually firing ammunition (or even lasers), they instead "fire" what look like spiked mace balls attached to spring coils. Justified since the upgrades they had were scavenged from random junk so that was all they had.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Thanks to Ratchet's take over of Bigweld Industries and shut down productions on all spare parts for focus towards upgrading, which meant that older and destitute robots are to be turned into newer parts for those who can afford it, the society of Robot City had been relegated between sleeker robots and outdated "Outmodes" older robots into rich and poor strata respectively.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Herb Copperbottom's father had him converted into a dishwasher out of fear that his son would waste his life by pursuing his musical interests. Unfortunately for Rodney, he ends up in a dead end career and gives him no other options should his father go into debt.
  • Fartillery: Aunt Fanny has a cannon powerful enough to shake the earth and kill nearby bots. It was even lampshaded by Piper:
    Piper: She's a little artsy-fartsy. The artsy is fine, but when she gets fartsy...
  • Freudian Slip: The whole movie is practically one LONG Freudian Slip.
    Aunt Fanny: Well, hello there! What's your name?
    Rodney: (mesmerized by her large derriere) I'm Rodney Bigbottom - No! I'm Rodney Copperbottom! Copperbottom.

  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The sweepers have one glowing eye.
  • Good Capitalism, Evil Capitalism: The film portrays the entire spectrum of capitalism. Rodney represents the idealistic side who invents and innovates first and foremost with the goal of bettering the common man (or, you know; robot). Ratchet is on the opposite, purely cynical side, propagandizing to the masses that they need to constantly shell out as much money as possible for flashy upgrades rather than simply repairing and maintaining themselves and their tools. Then in the middle, you have characters like Bigweld, a former optimist who eventually let the crushing weight of corporate bureaucracy wear him down until he decided to just abandon his company and hide (at least until Rodney helps him regain his confidence).
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: In the board of directors' meeting, Ratchet calls his Bigweld a "relic" for caring about more than making money.
  • Good Parents: It's very obvious that Rodney's parents raised him well, seen from how they treated him in his childhood.
    • However it's also a bit gender-flipped; Lydia is a bit overprotective of Rodney while Herb is more laid back.
    Lydia: I'd told you I'd find him! It's a mother's instinct!
    Herb: What "instinct"? He left us a note: "I'm leaving. I'll be at the train station."
  • G-Rated Sex: When Rodney's Parents 'Make a baby', they're doing so in the most literal use of the phrase. Robots are born from their parents assembling them from a complete set of parts that comes delivered in the mail, confirmed in how Rodney was born. Although, during that montage, they inserted a whole lot of adult humour. ("Making the baby is the fun part", "They always put in an extra piece. We wanted a boy, right?")
  • Gratuitous Yiddish: Bigweld thanks Rodney for "getting [him] off of [his] titanium tuckus." Of course, if you have Mel Brooks playing a character, chances are he'll slip at least one Yiddish word in there.

  • Heel–Face Turn: Cappy, who rescues Rodney when he crashes the Bigweld Ball, and later fights for the Outmodes in the battle in the Chop Shop. She wasn't approving of Ratchet's plans from the start, and turns to the good side as soon as she finds a solid chance, so she's more of a Half-Hearted Henchman.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Cappy about Rodney. (Only once, and offhand.) When Bigweld compliments Rodney, saying he's a genius, he refers to him as her boyfriend. However Cappy deflects this a little before she asks, "He is?!" in reference to the compliment.
  • Held Gaze: Rodney and Cappy find themselves staring into each other's eyes after Rodney lands on the table in Bigweld's office. This begins the growing attraction they have for each other.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Bigweld, of all people. Turns into a literal BSOD when Ratchet, out of desperation, brains him with the intercom, knocking him out of action.
    • Rodney has a major one when he realizes what happened to Bigweld after meeting him for the first time.
  • Homage: "I'm singing in the oil..." is an homage to Singin' in the Rain.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Bigweld; Ratchet convinces him that way doesn't work so he can take over.
  • Human Ladder: During the magnet truck chase scene near the end of the film, Rodney's friends are stretched between the two magnet trucks, so Rodney has to climb over them to reach Ratchet's magnet truck and unplug his magnet.
  • Human Resources: The Big Bad is melting down obsolete robots to make new stuff.
  • Humiliation Conga: In the climax, Ratchet ends up being stripped of all his upgrades like his father.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: A scene in the Chop Shop is ended when one of the worker robots trails a buzzsaw across the screen, "cutting away" the previous scene and trailing the new one into existence.
  • Incoming Ham: The first we see of Mr. Gunk is him barging through the kitchen doors screaming, "COPPERBOTTOM!"
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness:
    • Rodney Copperbottom retains his optimistic and hopeful demeanor in spite of being told he'll never be something special, and that motivates his will to be an inventor helping others like his idol. He builds Wonderbot to help his father, Herb with the dishes, he fixes Fender's neck even after the latter tried to steal his foot, calling him a "friend"; furthermore, he helps the outmodes by fixing them instead of letting them steal parts from other outmodes. When he finds Bigweld in his time of despair, he makes him get his hope back and assist in fighting Ratchet and Gasket. At the end of the film, he tells Bigweld to fix Herb, whom he thanks for believing in him and his dreams, even going as far as to help Herb achieve his dream: to be a musician. He also loves Cappy for who she is, unlike Ratchet.
    • Bigweld uses his company Bigweld Industries to inspire others to make a change with inventions, to make them believe in themselves, and preaches positive messages throughout the Bigweld Show. Even though said company has his name on it, he never expresses arrogance or egotism. He tells Rodney that he wants to grow up to be just like him after being jaded and telling him to give up on his dreams after retiring from his company when Ratchet mad it more profitable, and his regain of optimism is a sign of him ending his heating-up period and helping Rodney take a stand against Ratchet for his plans against outmodes. In the end, not only does he help Herb, he also gives Diesel a voice box, finally letting him speak.
  • Innocent Innuendo: "Making the baby is the fun part!" Rodney's parents then assemble him from a kit.
    Herb Copperbottom: PUSH!
    Lydia Copperbottom: Uggghh!
    Cut to them having difficulty putting two pieces of the robot baby together
  • Insult Backfire: Bigweld calls Madame Gasket a "sick, twisted, evil robot." She thanks him.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Aunt Fanny, referring to Cappy, wistfully muses that she once had a figure like hers. All the robots double-take at the revelation.
  • Jerkass:
    • Herb Copperbottom's boss, Mr. Gunk. He's rude to his employees, denounces Rodney as the son of a dish washer after the latter inadvertently causes Herb to go into debt, and even tells his employees to serve the gunk he got dunked in. At the end of the film, Herb finally has had enough of Gunk and quits his job by slamming his dishwasher apron on the rude boss' head. As he leaves, Gunk shouts "You'll never wash in this town again!" before getting hit by the doors that close on him.
    • Tim the Gate Guard also counts. Here's a run-down of what happens when Rodney first meets him at the gate of Bigweld Industries — first, he responds with an annoyed "Yeah, okay. What do you want?" when Rodney mimics something that Bigweld said to him on the TV show, and then he slams the door in Rodney's face twice when he's trying to get in, and laughs at him. And later on, when Rodney strenuously walks away after becoming magnetized, Tim laughs at him again, saying, "When you pick a lost cause, you really commit! Where do they make dreamers like you? GET LOST, FREAK!"
    • Ratchet and Gasket have nothing redeemable about them beyond their familial love for each other. They only want to rule over Robot City and murder anyone who interferes with that goal for the sake of power (and For the Evulz), and their inevitable defeat is a case of Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • It would be a bit of a stretch to call Fender a "jerk", but he does try to scam Rodney when he first meets him and later on tries to nick his foot (though he claims later on that he didn't know that it even belonged to Rodney), as well as annoying Piper on at least one occasion. However, for the most part, he's a very chipper and quirky guy who will always have his friends' backs in whatever the situation.
    • Crank Casey is a sour and pessimistic grump who loves to sit around complaining, but his heart is always in the right place at the end of the day. Towards the climax of the film, he admits that he actually wants to try instead of just complain and is very diligent in the Chop Shop battle.
    • Jack Hammer, the owner of the hardware store. He's very brutally honest and doesn't show a lot of sympathy for anyone who can't find a new part, but once he finds out about Rodney's ability to easily fix outmodes, he gives the latter some resources to fix Fender's head and later tells the angry mob of outmodes confronting him that Rodney can help them.
  • Joke of the Butt: Aunt Fanny consists mostly of a gigantic bum.
  • Karmic Death: Madame Gasket gets tossed into her own incinerator, parts flying out everywhere.
  • Killed Offscreen: When Madame Gasket confronts Ratchet about Rodney repairing the lower-class of Robot City in his office, she noticeably moves his masseur away from him. Said masseur is never seen again, but it's implied that Gasket killed her for getting in the way and so she wouldn't see the confrontation.
  • Kill the Poor: Madame Gasket is revealed to be melting down lower-class robots into products for her son's company to sell.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Madame Gasket.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Jim Broadbent, playing Ratchet's mother. Fender even thinks she's a man!

  • Mean Boss: Mr. Gunk of Gunk's Greasy Spoon Diner has quite the temper on him.
  • Meaningful Name: Ample-reared Aunt Fanny (who became Aunt Fan in the UK, since 'fanny' in this country refers to a... nearby, yet different portion of the anatomy).
    • Also Lampshaded:
      Fender: Aunt Faaaaaaannnnnny! We brought someone!
      Aunt Fanny: (sings) I'm in the kitchen...
      Rodney: Are you sure your aunt won't mind?
      Fender: Relax, she's not my aunt. She just takes in bots who are...broke. (chuckles) Bless her little heart...
      Rodney: Well then, why is she called Aunt Fanny?
      Fender: *cuts to Aunt Fanny and her large backside* Couldn't call her "Aunt Booty"...
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Just like Cars, the only reference to humans seems to be robot equivalents of them. Also, the biggest reference to a system of government seems to be a city.
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: Fender breaks into dance with Britney Spears's "...Baby One More Time" as a strategy to distract then knock out Gasket's henchbots that just surrounded him.
  • Mistaken for Flatulence: The robots in Aunt Fanny's house start making armpit farts. Aunt Fanny assumes they're having a farting contest, so she lets out a real fart.
    Piper: We were using our arms! Ew...
  • Mr. Fixit: Rodney is good at keeping outmodes functional even without new parts.
  • My Beloved Smother: Madame Gasket.
  • Never Heard That One Before: On the Bigweld Show Rodney watches in his childhood, Bigweld asks Tim the Gate Guard, "Who closed this gate? You know we never close this gate!" When Rodney meets Tim in real life, years later, he asks this same question—and gets cut off with an irritable "Yeah, yeah."
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: On TV, Tim the Gate Guard is a cheerful-sounding puppet-like robot who guards Bigweld's main gate. The real Tim... not so much.
  • Nightmarish Factory: The Chop Shop is a hidden, underground factory run by an evil mistress robot with yellow eyes, red markings, and molten metal boiling from the top of her head. Workers are constantly hammering down and disfiguring spare parts and even outmodes that are sent to the furnaces, and it is in these furnaces where spare parts and outmodes become upgrades. Fender gets an experience inside the Chop Shop and manages to escape just in time to warn Rodney and his friends about what's going on in there.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Bigweld Industries, that all but monopolizes what is basically healthcare on this world and controls the police.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Bigweld is this to Ratchet the moment he decides to step in, rushing up to his office as fast as possible, and firing him on the spot. It's obvious that, as someone who is normally jolly and loving, he is MAD.
    Ratchet: No! No! Tell him I'm not here! Tell him anything, just don't let him in!
    Bigweld: (slams doors open) RATCHET!!!
    Ratchet: AAAAHH!! (cowers in Bigweld's chair)
    Bigweld: I've come right to the point!!
    Ratchet: What happened? Ran out of dominoes? I'll send you some more!
    Bigweld: You're FIRED!!!
    Ratchet: Fired?! On what grounds? This company's never been more profitable!
    Bigweld: Profits Schmofits! (yanks him off of chair) Now GET OUT!!!
    Ratchet: No wait! Please listen to me! You can't do this to me, this job is my life! It means everything to me! You don't know what I've done to get here! The lies I've told, the lives I've ruined! ...This isn't helping me.
    Bigweld: (grabs phone) Get me security!!
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: The first thing Bigweld says after getting deluded by Ratchet is "I'm the prettiest girl at the harvest moon ball!". He also briefly lapses into "If You're Happy And You Know It" and "Daisy Bell".
  • Noodle Incident:
    Fender: (nonchalantly) It (the expressway) used to be a lot worse. They had this giant hammer ...
    Rodney: (yelps in panic)
    Fender: (looks over shoulder, notices giant hammer barreling down on them, still nonchalant): Oh! They brought it back.
    (Rodney scrambles to climb out of the hammer's way)
    • Whatever happened to Ratchet's dad to end up like....that.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Bigweld fires Ratchet, Ratchet begs for mercy, claiming, "The lies I've told, the lives I've ruined!...This isn't helping me!"
  • The Not-Love Interest: Piper to Rodney, even if she has a Precocious Crush on him. It's easy to think from the get-go that she's his Love Interest, but it turns out to be Cappy later.

  • Oh, Crap!: Ratchet gets this when Bigweld is about to fire him.
    • Aunt Fanny says "Oh, scrap!" while causing calamity in her introduction.
  • One-Wheeled Wonder: Bigweld rides on one giant ball which makes up most of his body.
    • This is a common body type among the executives at Bigweld Industries.
  • Pictorial Letter Substitution: Robots has all the letters in its logo composed of mechanical components, such as an escapement gear for the "R," and a flywheel-driven actuator for the "ts."
  • Pint Sized Power House: Wonder Bot was able to turn their tables around by grabbing Madame Gasket's pipe and swinging her away, and also carry Rodney while he was flying. Unfortunately, he wasn't strong enough to carry Bigweld.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Fender provides most of the movie's comedy, having something of a Motor Mouth and a clumsy personality, and also being voiced by Robin Williams.
  • Precocious Crush: Piper has one on Rodney. He either seems oblivious to it or he just brushes it off.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: Rodney's father wants to be a musician. At the end of the movie, he gets his big chance. Turns out he can't play.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Rusties.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Anywhere this movie can possibly fit in a gag, it does.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mr. Gunk refers to Rodney as the "hand-me-down son of a dishwasher" after his dad praises him as an inventor.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Ratchet wears a traditional business suit, a black one with a red tie, which coincidentally fits the "red and black" part. Gasket is quite literally "red and black and evil all over". Both of them are the main villains.
  • Red Herring: Bigweld’s workshop has a huge pile of newspapers outside, spilled oil on the floor (reminiscent of blood), his words on the chalkboard suddenly stop, and his dominoes are dusty. He’s still very much alive, though.
  • Retroactive Wish: Rodney states that there should be an angry mob outside—only to turn by the window to see an actual mob running past.
    Rodney: Crank, the idol of millions is gone, and no one seems to care! There should be an angry mob out there! (angry mob runs past the window) What the...?
    Fender: Wow! That was great, psychic friend! Now say, "Money should be falling from the sky!" [Beat] Say it! [sobbing] Say it!
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: They start out small and get larger until they reach adult size (albeit by replacing parts of themselves with larger parts), they have genders, and they can make armpit fart noises.
  • Robo Family: Since this is a world of robots, robots can have their own family units and even 'make' their own children.
  • Rollerblade Good: Cappy has unusual-looking rollerblades she can pop out of her feet; they come in handy late in the film.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Robot City basically turns this into a transportation system (the Crosstown Express).

  • Same Language Dub:
    • Several roles in the movie were redubbed for the UK release (e.g. Ratchet's father, voiced by co-writer Lowell Ganz in the US version, is replaced by Terry Wogan), most notably Loretta Geargrinder (Natasha Lyonne gets redubbed by Cat Deeley). Also the Bigmouth Executive/Forge saw Stephen Tobolowsky replaced by Eamonn Holmes.
    • In the Australian release, the counterfeit watches are voiced by child actors who auditioned for the roles, instead of the American Idol hosts.
  • Scenery Porn: With much Benevolent Architecture, like the tracks used at the very beginning.
  • Screen Shake: You expect it during explosions and fight scenes. Then there's when Aunt Fanny causes it to happen.
  • Separated by a Common Language: In the UK 'fanny' is a name for a woman's lady bits, making any mention of Fanny's fanny unintentionally hilarious.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Cappy's party outfit; the front is literally bolted to her shoulders.
  • Shipper on Deck: Bigweld is apparently all for Rodney x Cappy.
    Bigweld: (to Cappy) Hey, you know your boyfriend here is a genius.
    Cappy: What? Oh, he's not my boy- he is?
    Rodney: (to Cappy) I am?
  • Shout-Out: To everything from Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    Bigweld: (Dazed, and rolling down a gyroscope system while Rodney tries to fix him) DAISY, DAISY GIVE ME YOUR ANSWER- *THWACK*
    • After upgrading for the final battle, Fender can be seen carrying The Spear of Longinus.
    • How Wonder Bot defeats Madame Gasket looks like the infamous tail-spin attack from Super Mario 64.
    • The Tin Man makes two appearances:
      • Once, when Rodney first arrives in Robot City, he passes a trio of chauffeurs holding signs, one of which reads "Tinman". Cue ol' Tinny walking up, and he and the chauffeurs join arms and skip off, with a little dog following after them.
      • Later, after Bigweld's speech in Rivet Town:
      Tinman: Now I know I've got a heart, 'cause it's aching.
    • Fender in the chop shop discovering that the upgrades Ratchet sell are being made out of outmodes is similar to the scene in Soylent Green where Thorn finds out the Soylent Green crackers are being made of people.
    • At the Robot City Train station, Rodney comes across a dancing mime-bot. As he leaves, a mechanical version of Sid is seen in the crowd. (This is Blue Sky Studios).
    • When brainstorming a signal call for Rodney when the two are undercover, Fender yodels "RRRRRRRIIIIIICOLAAAAAAA!!"
    • One of the robots being repaired heavily resembles Cavity Sam, who even has a nose that lights up during his surgery.
  • Silly Robot, Idealism Is for Kids!: Tim the gate guard used to (at least on TV) help promote Bigweld's feel-good office tours, but when Rodney meets him, he makes his opinion of Rodney's idealism brutally clear.
  • Sit on the Camera: Aunt Fanny crushes Rodney with her you-know-what.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This film falls into the idealistic end, albeit with a few doses of realism. The crux of the plot is to never give up on what you want to pursue and have faith in your idols. However, it does also address the fact that sometimes things might not be the way you thought they would be and that the person you look up to may be in too crushed of a state to come out of hiding.
  • Slippery Skid: Rodney fights Fender in a tug of war to get his foot back, with the pair of them fighting while trying to keep their balance on a large number of ball bearings. Fender eventually loses his balance and falls over, losing his head quite literally in the process.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: When we first see the Chop Shop it's revealed that the "upgrades" Ratchet is selling are just refined scrap metal being sold at inflated prices.
  • Spanner in the Works: Rodney builds Wonderbot with the intention of helping Herb do the dishes. He ends up being the one who kills Madame Gasket.
  • Species Title: The movie is about a world of robots.
  • Spit Take:
    • Ratchet does this when he sees that Bigweld is about to storm Bigweld Industries.
    • When Bigweld is marching towards Ratchet's office, he passes two guys by the water cooler, who both do this... followed by an even bigger one from the water cooler itself.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Despite her appearance, Madame Gasket can slink in and out of places rather subtly. It gives Ratchet a heart attack every time she pulls this stunt on him. Doubly impressive is that she manages to silently tear her way through an air vent at one point.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Fanny's immense rear end has a door and sounds like a lot of metal is inside. In other words, she has "junk in her trunk".
    • The corporate executives have bodies with a large ball for mobility. In other words, they're "big wheels."
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Parodied:
    Rodney's Dad: He's got your mom's eyes, and my dad's nose. I knew we were smart to save those parts.
  • Sympathetic Wince: When Ratchet hits the ceiling, loses his clothes...err, his upgrades and is hanged in humiliation, the outmode robots (except Aunt Fanny, who seems to appreciate the sight) look sympathetic. Cappy, Piper and Fender quickly look aside.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Fender claims he was called 'Bumper' before he immigrated.
  • Toilet Humor: Accounts for at least half the humor in the movie.
    • One notable example is this gem from Crank:
      Crank: Oh man. This is my third oil change today. Something's wrong with me!
    • One of the robots Rodney fixes is a literal toilet-bot.
      Toilet-Bot: Thanks, Rodney! You're number one!
  • Token Evil Teammate: Ratchet and Gasket. While there are many characters who are jerks, they are only abusive at worst or a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at best. The two of them are the only genuinely evil characters in the entire cast, and their defeat at the hands of the good characters ends up returning order to the populus.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rodney and the others during the final battle, using junk to upgrade themselves and get weapons.
  • Tragic Dream: Rodney gives his father an instrument in order for him to achieve his dream as a musician. It's then shown a few seconds later that he can't play it. Fortunately, the town steps in to salvage his performance for the ending.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The film's main leitmotif makes an appearance in the Final Battle and after Ratchet is defeated.

  • Undying Loyalty: The Chop Shop's worker robots are treated horribly by Madame Gasket, but despite this, they all die fighting for her when they could have easily abandoned or turned on her.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: While Fender was trying to escape the chop shop, his legs fell off. He tried carrying on without them until he found some legs that fit him. Said legs are female.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: During the finale.
    Madame Gasket Who are these losers?
    Fender: We, sir-
    Madame Gasket (completely deadpan): I'm a woman.
    Crank: Ouch.
  • Urine Trouble: Averted. A robotic dog tries to urinate on a sentient fire hydrant, who says "Don't even think about it!"
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Madame Gasket has some funny moments with the other characters but is still portrayed as a straight-up sadist and mass murderer, who's even more evil than her son.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Bigweld and Rodney continue to interfere in his Evil Plan, Ratchet gradually loses his Faux Affably Evil demeanor he'd shown throughout the film to the point where he hits Bigweld over the head and sends him to the Chop Shop.
  • Villainous Mother-Son Duo: Corrupt Corporate Executive Ratchet at first appears to be the Big Bad but it turns out that he's just a puppet of his mother, Madame Gasket. She makes the plans and he carries them out. She's harsh on her son but seems to genuinely love him and he reciprocates it.
  • Visual Pun: A robot complains, "I'm losing my mind!" as her brain components literally spring out of her head.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: While on the Crosstown Express, Fender vomits off-screen.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: One occurs when Rodney and Bigweld are on the run from Ratchet:
    Rodney: Mr. Bigweld, are you okay?
    Bigweld: (loopy) I’m the prettiest girl at the Harvest Moon Ball!
    Rodney: I’LL TAKE THAT AS A “NO”!
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: After Rodney is assembled, an extra piece is found.
    Mr. Copperbottom: [chuckles] We did want a boy, right? [He takes the piece and a hammer] This won't hurt a bit, son.
  • Zeerust: Invoked. Countless robots have distinctly retro designs.
  • Zerg Rush: The Outmodes all Zerg Rush the Chop Shop and engage in a pitched battle with the chopper bots. It quickly turns into a Curb-Stomp Battle, until the brand new Sweepers suddenly join the fight...


Video Example(s):


Ratchet and Madame Gasket

In Robots, Madame Gasket consults with Ratchet about the mysterious robot (Rodney) who's been repairing outmodes, which is a threat to their evil plan and tells him that they are laughing at Ratchet. When Ratchet asks if she is sure that they are not laughing with him, Madame Gasket bluntly says ''Yes'' to confirm that they are not laughing with him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / BluntYes

Media sources: