Swiss Family Robinson was officially released in 1960. (same year Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus came out) It earned positive reviews from critics, families and movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough revenue at the box office. Anyway, I’m reviewing a few Disney films inspired by Nostalgia Critic’s Disneycember during the month of December. Don’t worry, I’ll review Christmas films too. Which Disney film should I review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back.
This review contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen this movie, read at your own risk.
Float & Sink
Float: John Mills (Hayley’s real-life father) and the rest of the cast all did a solid job for their respective performances.
Cinematography never succumbed to technical issues throughout.
Chemistry between The Robinsons serves as the main highlight.
Set Pieces were manually built creating The Robinsons’ custom made treehouse and the wrecked ship.
Opening Scene immediately shows the family shipwrecked near an island.
George Lucas stated Swiss Family Robinson’s climatic battle inspired the Battle of Endor from “Return of the Jedi.”
One of the dogs is named, Turk. Thirty-Nine Years Later, another animal (a gorilla) sharing the same name appeared in “Tarzan.” Another dog’s name is Duke. Fifty-Six Years Later, another Duke shows up in “The Secret Life of Pets.”
Sink: Walt Disney failed to double check the script for additional rewrites.
The movie was going pretty well. Then, The Third Act butchers the story.
After killing a few pirates, none of the family members show any sign or remorse. Look, I understand The Robinsons are trying to survive, but if this were real life, they would’ve suffered an emotional meltdown. As if Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Getaway) came up with this idea turning a nice family into bloodythirsty psychopaths.
The Pirates are one-dimensional. Their leader lacks a backstory and motivation. Would’ve been an improvement if Disney told the writers to add additional scenes to the pirate leader. Flesh him out as a compelling antagonist. Imagine if Davey Jones from “Pirates of the Caribbean” never got a tragic backstory?
Look, I get he’s a little kid, Francis is a complete numbskull. He lacks common sense because he almost got himself in trouble a few times. For instance, Francis accidentally lights the fuse of a homemade coconut explosive. He’s The Robinsons equivalent to AJ from “The Sopranos.”
An early romance with Fritz & Roberta happened. They barely know each other. Disney’s notorious for pairing two people way too soon. In real life, it’ll take a pair to get to know one another until a relationship is fully established. Ugh! I hate it whenever this trope pops up outta nowhere!
The Final Verdict: D, FOR DENIAL!
Sorry longtime Disney fans, Swiss Family Robinson is a shockingly underwhelming misfire. I’m mortified this so-called “Disney classic” is a masterpiece. As a modern movie goer, it didn’t aged well. As a critic, I have to give old and new movies tough love. If I were you, do not waste your spare time on this piece of crud. If you wanna watch an actual good survival movie, I strongly recommend Matthew McConaughey’s “Mud.” The one that encouraged Christopher Nolan to cast Mr. McConaughey in “Interstellar”
One thought on “Classics Review: Swiss Family Robinson”
I agree that the Robinsons not reacting to killing some of the pirates isn’t believable. I felt that way for the 1994 film, “The Santa Clause.” Scott sees Santa on the roof and startles him, which causes him to slide off of it and die. And everybody else accepts it.
It also stinks that the pirates have pretty much no character development. That would also be disappointing for me.