RoboCity was created by its mayor, Frank Stone, to be a happy, perfect little utopia where humans, animals and robots could live together in harmony. Humans get to live in a clean, crime-free city. Pets get to be pampered by their human masters. And robots are programmed to serve them all—except the strays, that is.
Roger is one such stray who lost his owner long ago. He’s made a bit of a reputation for himself as “The Thief of RoboCity.” Truthfully, this pup only steals what he needs to survive, but when you’re the only culprit in an otherwise squeaky-clean world, it paints a pretty big target on your back.
But then the unthinkable happens. Frank Stone decides that RoboCity is too good, too pure for all the imperfect people residing there. Using the robots as an army of enforcers, he kicks everyone out, leaving the once-thriving city a remote ghost town.
Without an owner to make sure he got out safely, Roger gets left behind—along with a few other pets whose owners weren’t able to collect them before being forced out of the city.
None of them are too happy about this. Roger thinks the pets are spoiled and uppity, and the pets are offended by Roger’s mange and criminal background. But if they want to survive, they’ll have to overcome their prejudices and work together to escape the clutches of the robots programmed to destroy anyone left behind.
Humans and pets alike are offended by Roger’s very existence. Rather than share their wealth and try to help him and the other stray animals, they see them as vermin that need to be exterminated. It’s ironic since this greed and selfishness is eventually what gets them kicked out of their own city by the mayor.
However, Belle (a pet cat accidentally left behind by her owner during the evacuation) and the other pets come to respect Roger after he selflessly helps them escape the robots. They take on this same attitude and learn that there’s far more to life than being pampered constantly, each risking their own lives to help their friends.
Bob, a robot programmed to have human emotions, doles out love to everyone he meets. He constantly encourages his new friends to be optimistic. And even when they reject his positive attitude, he keeps his spirits up and tries to save them, convincing other robots to ignore the mayor’s orders.
Despite Roger’s early insistence that he hates cats (he growls when he sees one), he helps feed a stray cat and eventually warms up to Belle as well. Characters overcome their individual fears, narcissism and greed.
A cat mentions “dog heaven.” We hear two mentions of the devil and some descriptions of hell. Someone exclaims, “Holy moly!”
A dog flexes his abs in the gym. Someone implies that a dog is in love with his human caretaker. Several male dogs leer at a female pig. A jealous female dog asks if the pig has considered waxing.
A giant spider-like robot seemingly crushes several characters beneath its claws. (We later learn that these characters were able to jump out of the way in the nick of time, but they are believed to be dead until that point.) Several characters also nearly get “eaten” by a large metal scraper.
Roger and the other pets get into scuffles with robots throughout the film, kicking and tossing each other about and hitting each other with brooms and other makeshift weapons (although one robot throws several knives at them as well). They also face off with wild animals from the zoo but manage to escape. (A hyena gets conked on the head by Bob, and a tiger later gets beaten up offscreen by a stray friend of Roger’s.)
Sheriff Bill is a slightly malfunctioning robot that literally loses his head multiple times. However, this is harmless as he is always able to screw his head back onto his body. Some other robots are also dismantled but later reassembled.
A train is purposely derailed by the mayor, but no one is harmed. A warning sign in the zoo shows a tiger eating a person’s arm. There is a wanted poster for Roger that states “Dead or Alive.” Several stray animals are nearly crushed by a bulldozer. A pig implies she was nearly killed when her owner forgot her at a restaurant.
We hear “h—” twice (include one referring to the place). We also hear a variety of insults, including, “fleabag,” “bootlickers,” “sycophants,” “smart aleck,” “buffoon,” “stupid” and “freak.”
Some robots mix beverages that could be alcoholic.
Some robots have red eyes and can be a bit frightening in appearance. Roger is a thief, and we see him stealing food on several occasions and sneaking around in restricted areas. There is some toilet humor involving animal excrement and flatulence. A robot gets a plunger stuck on its head. Belle insults a lizard’s lack of dental hygiene. Some wild animals from the zoo brag about how scary they are. A character who appears to be half-man, half-ape gets easily offended when others say how large his nose is. We see huge piles of human waste outside the city.
Sometimes creating the perfect world isn’t so much about making everything flawless, but rather embracing those flaws for their uniqueness.
Roger is bit rough around the edges, but the other pets quickly realize that his survival instincts from the streets are exactly what’s going to keep them all alive. And, yeah, Bob can be a bit overbearing with his love for his fellow pets. But if it weren’t for that same love, he wouldn’t have found the courage to risk his life for them and save the city.
Parents looking to let their kids watch this film should be aware that “h—” is said twice (once referring to the place), which is a bit surprising for a film rated TV-Y7. There are also some moments that might be a bit frightening for younger kiddos (such as the spider-like robot that seemingly kills anyone in its path and the “Jaw” that scraps metal).
However, despite a few bumps and scrapes (sometimes literally as characters get knocked around), the message of this film is a positive one: You don’t have to be perfect in order to belong.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.