Smalltown robot and would-be inventor Rodney Copperbottom (voiced by Ewan McGregor) heads for Robot City in the hope of showing off his latest creation to businessman Mr Big Weld (Mel Brooks). But all is not well when he gets there, and he finds himself fighting against the evil machinations of some corrupt robot bosses.
Having scored a big hit with his computer-animated debut Ice Age (the film that proved it's not just Pixar and DreamWorks who can do this kind of thing), it's no wonder that expectations have been high for director Chris Wedge's follow-up.
And there's plenty to like about Robots - it's a gleaming, candy-coloured spectacle whose sweetly nostalgic theme gives rise to some very impressive visuals.
Unfortunately, while it all looks impressive, Robots is let down badly by a weak plot (which relies too heavily on the well-worn 'big city' theme, with bad-punning signs brimming in the background a la Shrek 2 and Shark Tale), overly frantic action and characters who, while superficially endearing, are hard to truly warm to.
Part of the problem is Wedge's insistence on throwing as many ideas at the screen as he can - and while this does result in some great set-pieces (Rodney's initial 'subway ride' into Robot City is a particular high point), it also feels as though there's just too much going on.
The second half, when Rodney hooks up with a motley crew of outdated robots and sets out to save the city from the bad guys, is a lot more fun - but given the slender running time, you can't help wishing it had kicked into gear much earlier.
Kids will love it and their adult companions will be warmly entertained - but it's far from a computer-animated classic.
Reviewed by Caroline Westbrook