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Film review: “Robot Dreams” | Moviefone

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger. Photo: Bteam Pictures.

Nominated for this year's Oscars and already a winner of numerous other awards, Robot Dreams hits theaters on Friday, May 31st and is an absolutely trophy-worthy treat.

Director Pablo Berger, who previously worked on films such as “Torremolinos 73” and “Abracadabra,” delivers something truly special – and all without a single word of dialogue from the main characters.

Is it worth activating “Robot Dreams”?

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger. Photo: Bteam Pictures.

Adapting a graphic novel about a friendship between a dog and a robot that faces the ultimate test – all without words – sounds like a huge challenge for any filmmaker. But Pablo Berger not only tried, he succeeded, and the result (even without words) speaks for itself.

This is an absolutely enchanting visual and musical feast that's bursting with inspiration and imagination. And in an age where even huge budgets and long development processes don't produce films full of genuine emotion, it's a real joy to find something that really lives up to the hype – and deserves your attention on the big screen (the robot character even breaks out of the screen at one point in a beautifully meta moment).

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“Robot Dreams”: Screenplay and Direction

“Robot Dreams” director Pablo Berger.

“Robot Dreams” director Pablo Berger. Photo: Daniel ALEA.

Berger bases his script here on Sara Varon's 2007 graphic novel, which reimagines New York as a 1980s animal-filled metropolis. We meet Dog (Ivan Labanda), who spends his days in a mundane routine, quiet nights at home watching TV, eating microwaved macaroni and cheese or playing Pong (kids, ask your… grandparents?)

Fed up of being alone (when he sees couples and friends having fun on the street or in the windows opposite his apartment building), he orders a kit to build himself a robot sidekick (also Labanda). Once assembled (our hero is a smart dog with a knack for electronics), his robot quickly becomes his best friend.

They figure out how to get along in the middle of a sweaty, sunny New York summer, eat lots of hot dogs and head to the amusement park at Ocean Beach. But disaster strikes – the robot rusts after a while in the sea and its energy runs out. Dog has to leave it behind as the beach closes for the fall/winter season, but swears he'll be back. There's just one problem – when he returns the following June, the robot has disappeared and only has one leg.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger. Photo: Bteam Pictures.

It's a heartbreaking story of love and loss that doesn't opt ​​for a simple narrative, but instead sends the pair off on their own adventures. Robot imagines being rescued and Dog moves on to pastures new. Berger's clever writing style keeps you sympathizing with the main duo throughout, and makes you appreciate the clever details throughout. This has the same level of innovation as classic Pixar or Disney films, beautifully thought out.

And his direction is just as convincing. The imaginary world of New York comes to life, every decision is cleverly made. When Berger sends Robot on his flights of fancy (including one that references a very famous story of someone being transported to a new world, and mixes it with the streets of New York to impressive effect).

Musically, the film is equally impressive, with Earth Wind & Fire's 1970s hit “September” serving as a leitmotif throughout the story. And that's just one of the songs that enhance the film.

“Robot Dreams”: Performances

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger. Photo: Bteam Pictures.

As mentioned, the cast doesn't give their characters their own voices – although they do provide plenty of evocative noises, grunts, and other sounds. Working with their director, they make you really care about the characters and worry about what might happen to them, especially Robot.

There are so many characters to behold here, from the gruff scrap metal dealer (and his candy-obsessed child) to the snippy, impatient anteaters that Dog eventually hopes to befriend, but who turn out to be terrible people to spend time with.

“Robot Dreams”: Final Thoughts

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger. Photo: Bteam Pictures.

Original, clever and full of heart, Robot Dreams has already received a lot of praise but definitely deserves a place on your family's must-see list. It will entertain viewers of all ages and is certainly not a chore for parents with children. Younger children may not respond to the dialogue-free pacing, but they will likely still be captivated by the expressive characters and funny moments.

It's always a joy to find something that's both haunting and impressive, and in a world where there are few truly original stories, it's all the more welcome.

Berger's film is a small miracle and you won't regret watching it. If you're tired of endless sequels, animated or not, don't miss Robot Dreams.

“Robot Dreams” receives 9 out of 10 stars.

Robot dreams

81

NO1 hour 42 minutesOctober 21, 2023

Show times & tickets

Dog lives in Manhattan and is tired of being alone. One day he decides to build himself a robot, a companion. Their friendship blossoms until they become inseparable… Read the plot

What is the story of “Robot Dreams”?

Robot Dreams is about Dog, who lives in Manhattan and is fed up of being alone. One day he decides to build himself a robot, a companion. Their friendship blossoms until they become inseparable to the rhythm of 80s New York.

One summer night, the dog is deeply sad and has to leave the robot on the beach.

Will they ever see each other again?

Who speaks in “Robot Dreams”?

Although there is no traditional dialogue from the characters (although there is plenty of music to set the mood), the film's voice cast includes Ivan Labanda, Albert Trifol Segarra, Rafa Calvo, José García Tos, José Luis Mediavilla, Graciela Molina and Esther Solans.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger.

“Robot Dreams” by director Pablo Berger. Photo: Bteam Pictures.

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