Set in Manhattan around the eighties, we follow Dog, who currently lives on his own. Dog is at a point where being alone has become boring. He spends his evenings playing video games or watching late-night television. Keen for a change, Dog soon discovers an opportunity for friendship and orders a robot, which is shortly delivered to his doorstep. After following the instructions on how to build it, the Robot comes to life.
Dog begins to show the Robot around the city streets, and the pair share experiences such as dancing and eating delicious meals. Dog’s personality and level of joy while hanging out with his new friend increases significantly, and the days spent together could not be any more perfect. However, consequences do occur when the pair spend the day at the beach. When the Robot is stuck in the middle of the beach, Dog is forced to run away and try to get help. However, when the beach closes and Dog gets in trouble with the law for trying to break in after hours, Dog is forced to be on his own once again. Meanwhile, the Robot sits and waits for either Dog to return or someone else to rescue him. Will Dog and the Robot ever be reunited?
Robot Dreams is an animated feature directed by Pablo Berger, who is tackling his first animated feature. I’m excited to report the animation style is lovely, with a strong use of bright, sharp colours. While it is not the same, the visuals sometimes reminded me of the TV smash hit The Simpsons. Robot Dreams also includes plenty of references and Easter eggs. As a child of the 1980s, I found plenty of joy even in some of the most minor details, starting with Dog’s gaming console, an Atari system.
The story, like the visuals, is lovely and sweet. It is a story that follows an unlikely friendship set in a world filled with animals living like humans. When Dog and the Robot become separated, it’s both heartbreaking and shocking, even more so when Dog tries multiple times to save Robot but fails each time. From there, the pair will often dream and find a way to move forward. Dream sequences are delightful and filled with stunning creativity. One of my favourites is seeing the Robot dreaming about a world heavily inspired by The Wizard of Oz. The storyline takes many turns along the way, and the finale is unpredictable, surprising, and, again, heartfelt. Viewers will find it impossible not to leave the cinema feeling encouraged and uplifted by the theme of friendship. The film’s music score by Alfonso de Vilallonga is a treat and carries a massive mixture of musical numbers from funk, percussion, and piano. It’s almost as if the film consists of a bit of everything in the music department.
Overall, Robot Dreams is a sweet story focusing on the power of friendship, enforcing the idea that no one should live alone. The film is fantastic, filled with plenty of colours and sharp visuals, along with fun dream sequences that are creative and clever. However, I will admit that some of these sequences start to. As a child of the 1980s, I loved all the references and Easter eggs planted throughout, and the fact that the film contains no dialogue and a stunning number of musical choices is awe-inspiring.