Computeropolis

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This article is about the original 2004 film. For the franchise, see Computeropolis (franchise). For its main setting, see Computeropolis (location).
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Computeropolis is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Universal Feature Animation and released by Universal Pictures. The film was directed by Audel LaRoque and co-directed by David Silverman from a screenplay by Thomas Lennon, and stars the voices of Jesse McCartney, David Spade, Kelsey Grammer, Dan Fogler, David Hyde Pierce, Jodi Benson, Jon Lovitz, Jennifer Tilly, and William Shatner. It features a number of visual references to Microsoft Windows products, primarily including that of Windows XP. The story follows a young computer game designer named Peri Dazz, who attempts to publish his own game named Frenzy to the internet and suddenly stumbles upon an online universe deep inside the realms of his computer. While finding a way to return home, Peri joins Nicky Kickzoo, the protagonist of Frenzy, on a risky mission to eliminate King Trojan, a virus capable of corrupting the entirety of the global system.

LaRoque envisioned the story in 1998, which was based on his dream of himself finding a computer that "sucked him into the computer world". He then began developing the film after production had finished on Paint World and wrote the original story with Michael Wildshill to pitch it to Universal, with Lennon writing the screenplay. Following Lennon's first draft, Gary Hall, John France, and David Silverman were brought in to reconstruct the third act and add additional material, while the latter was selected to co-direct. The film was intended to be produced primarily under Universal's Digital Images division, which previously animated the CGI sequences in Going Francisco, but was folded by the main feature animation studio following the commercial failure of the traditionally animated feature Magina.

Computeropolis premiered at the Fox Village Theater on June 20, 2004, and was theatrically released in the United States on July 2, 2004. It received universal acclaim from critics and was a box office success, grossing $587 million worldwide on its $65 million budget, making it the sixth highest-grossing film of 2004. The film won the 2004 Annie Award for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production for Spade, and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but lost to The Incredibles. Computeropolis saw a 3D re-release in theaters on May 16, 2014 to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The film's success helped spawn an expanded franchise, with three sequels — Computeropolis 2 (2007), Computeropolis 3 (2010), and Computeropolis: The Deep Web (2018) — a holiday special, several short films, theme park attractions, and two television spin-offs. A fifth film entitled Computeropolis: Webcation is in production for a 2021 release.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Percy Anthony "Peri" Dazz is a 14-year-old computer designer living with his parents Heather and Earl Dazz. One weekend, Peri's parents leave town, leaving him with a list of house chores. For a while, Peri is bored of the work until he comes up with an idea for his own computer game called Frenzy. Once he finishes, Peri transfers the game file into an "exe." file and opens up GameGenius.com to upload it. However, when he opens up the internet, he discovers a popup ad on a website called "Computeropolis.com" with a download link. When he clicks on the link, the computer has a blinding white flash that begins to suck up random things in the room. Peri tries to escape, but fails and gets sucked in.

Peri discovers an online city deep inside the realms of his computer. However, he is caught by two internet officers named Paul and Frank, who take him to a lab where he is increased by a PC Chip, which allows Peri to use the desktop menu from his point of view. After he is finished getting tested at the lab by using a mouse cursor, Peri meets Nicky Kickzoo, an enterprising scavenger hunter who is the character Peri created for his Frenzy game. Nicky initially despises Peri, who wants to get back home, but ends up taking him along.

The duo arrives at the Desktop Component League (DCL), an organization department company headed by CEO Manager Marc to fund his research; their duties as upholders of the law range from capturing viruses to protecting the city of Computeropolis. There, Marc orders Peri and Nicky to capture King Trojan, a virus that was inadvertently given access to Peri's computer when he clicked the download link. During their mission, Peri and Nicky meet Travis, a fat, video game-obsessed kid who knows Peri from GameGenius.com and joins the heroes to stop Trojan. However, they are captured by Trojan and his oafish and mean-spirited minion Milo and transports them to Trojan's Lair.

At Trojan's Lair, they see how the viruses are created. Then, Peri, Nicky, and Travis manage to escape while Trojan's minions chase them. The heroes succeed, but Peri forgets to upload Frenzy to GameGenius.com, as he already has an "exe." file of the game on his computer. Nicky convinces him to visit the GameGenius site, confident that Peri's game will get popular once it is published. When they arrive at the site, a GameGenius administrator learns that the Frenzy game will not be published due to negligent issues. Peri accuses Nicky of attempting to lie without telling him about the issue. Then the rest of the DCL arrives, with Marc asking Peri and Nicky if they caught Trojan; Trojan is still there and announces his plan to initiate a full-scale assault on his hard drive.

Outraged, Marc accuses Peri and Nicky of lying to him about capturing Trojan. Nicky admits he thought that if Peri spent time with him, he would befriend him. Peri leaves to find his home so his parents will be home in no time by the end of the weekend. Then Clippit appears and Peri asks him which way is his house. Then Clippit takes Peri to a portal which leads him back home. Back home, Peri happens upon the screen saying that his game Frenzy is successfully published to GameGenius.com. Meanwhile, the DCL offers to reinstate Nicky, but he refuses, and instead, he confessed to Clippit that he cheated, just as he is alerted to Peri's break-in. Realizing what happened, Nicky defies Clippit and enters the same portal. Nicky finds Peri sitting outside of his house and brings him back to his room where he uses Peri's childhood photos and old projects to prompt him to rejoin the group on their mission. Peri opens up the Computeropolis file that Peri downloaded before, reopening the portal for the duo to jump back through.

Peri, Nicky, Travis, and the rest of the DCL fight Trojan and his minions (including Milo). Trojan returns for a final confrontation to kill the boy. However, the DCL manages to download an antivirus program for Peri's computer, causing Trojan and his virus minions to disintegrate into digital pixel dust. Peri remembers that his parents are to arrive at the end of the weekend. Peri uses the portal to head back home in time for Heather and Earl's return. Peri explains to them what happened. They at first do not believe Peri due to his "imagination during his childhood", but Peri proves that he is not making it up by using his inner PC chip to move the mouse pointer (which he brought with him in preparation) and uses the pointer to clean up the entire house, as his parents had assigned him earlier. Then he returns to Computeropolis to attend a party at the DCL headquarters, during which Marc assures Peri that averting major city destruction was only the beginning for him.

Voice cast[edit | edit source]

Main article: List of Computeropolis characters

Additional voices[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

Audel LaRoque came up with the concept for Computeropolis in 1998, during the production of Paint World. He envisioned a story where the main character gets sucked into a computer that leads them to a metropolitan city made of software and technology. LaRoque's original inspiration was from a dream he had of himself finding a Windows 95 computer that "sucked him into the computer world". LaRoque also took inspiration from the 1982 film Tron, where the protagonist Kevin Flynn gets transported inside the world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with programs in his attempt to escape.

LaRoque began work on the film with Michael Wildshill in 1999, shortly after Paint World finished production. By early 2000, LaRoque had drafted a treatment with Wildshill that bore some resemblance to the final film. LaRoque and Wildshill pitched the story to Universal Feature Animation president John Cohen with some initial artwork in January that year. LaRoque and his story team left with some suggestions in hand, and returned to pitch a refined version of the story in March. The film was originally developed under the title of Frenzy, but was changed in order to distance it from the 1982 video game of the same name. Other titles that had also been considered included Cybertropolis, Computerville, Webtopia, and Cyber City, among others.

Thomas Lennon, who had just finished work on Paint World, was attracted to write the script for Computeropolis, and began developing a treatment in September 1999. In its earliest stages, the story was very different from the final film, in which the character of Peri (known at this stage as Gary) was trapped in a computer, where he must stop Gill Bates (a parody of Microsoft founder Bill Gates) from taking over the world and kidnapping a "computer princess" named Viva (who later became Painting Paula), the love interest of Gary. Peri's partner and game character, Nicky Kickzoo, had not yet been added. Through various drafts, Gary's occupation went back-and-forth from being a teenager and from working for a video game company, until his final incarnation as a teenage computer designer, eventually renamed Percy "Peri" Dazz. As "Peri" is actually a feminine name, LaRoque originally wanted to change his name to "Perry", but he decided to "get it over with". In the UK releases of the film, Peri was renamed as "Perry" to avoid any references to a colloquial term in the United Kingdom for a peripatetic teacher. Peri is also renamed "Perry" in the Japanese dub as well.

In May 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that LaRoque was working on a then-untitled project that would eventually become Computeropolis, although little else was known about the film at the time. After the 2001 hand-drawn traditional/CGI animated film Going Francisco became a commercial success, Universal revealed the film's title to be Computeropolis, which would be animated with fully computer-animation. Going Francisco director Arlo-Avocha Vernon joined in 2001 to co-direct the film with LaRoque. However, Vernon left at the end of the year for work on the Gingo animated series Limo Dude, and was replaced with David Silverman, who had quit his job at Pixar after co-directing Monsters, Inc.. Both LaRoque and Silverman decided to work on the film in half, so the crew could at least know whom to go to with specific detail questions about the film's sequences; "We both ended up doing a lot of everything," LaRoque said. "We're both kinda control freaks, and we both wanted to do everything."

In a manner similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Toy Story films, Computeropolis featured a number of references to Microsoft Windows products, including cameos and visual gags. For example, Clippit, the infamous default Office Assistant for Microsoft Office, is featured in the film as a minor character that often bothers the main protagonists, referencing how Clippit was heavily mocked in popular culture following the backlash of the feature. Since the studio could not afford to use the Windows references in the film properly, Universal Pictures decided to partner with Microsoft to help make the film's elements as authentic as possible. Otto Berkes, the DirectX team leader, was a technical consultant on the film, giving advice how Computeropolis should resemble a "Windows city".

The Universal animation team drew inspiration for Computeropolis's urban design from major cities including New York City, Seattle, and London.

Casting[edit | edit source]

During the time, when Universal was looking for a younger actor for the voice role of Percy Anthony "Peri" Dazz, Shia LaBeouf was considered for the character. He screen tested for the role and was interested, but when Audel LaRoque was unable to make contact with him, he took it as a "no". In addition to LaBeouf, Frankie Muniz and Zach Braff were also considered for the role of Peri. LaRoque took the role to Jesse McCartney, who was appearing in the daytime drama All My Children, and he accepted. For the role of Nicky Kickzoo, Nicolas Cage, Michael Keaton, Bobby Campo and James Franco were considered, but David Spade won the role for his natural comedy. In January 2003, it was announced McCartney and Spade were cast, along with other cast members including Kelsey Grammer, Dan Fogler, David Hyde Pierce, Jodi Benson, Jon Lovitz, Jennifer Tilly, and William Shatner. Benson and Shatner had previously co-starred in Going Francisco.

Initially, LaRoque wanted Sigourney Weaver for the voice of Carol. Weaver was approached about voicing the character. However, in 2002, before production on the animation began, Weaver left the film due to being busy on other projects. Instead, she was replaced by Kari Wahlgren.

Animation[edit | edit source]

Computeropolis was originally set up at Universal Feature Animation's Digital Images division, which had previously done the animation for its 2000 short film Aero as well as the CGI sequences for Going Francisco. In March 2002, production on the animation officially began. In October 2003, during the production of Computeropolis, Universal transferred the majority of its Digital Images team to the main in-house Feature Animation studio in Universal City, California following the box office failure of the studio's hand-drawn traditional animated feature Magina, which led Universal to select 50 percent of its new CGI animation team from its 2D animation staff and placed them through a rigorous training program, which included an introductory to Alias's Maya that would serve as the main 3D animation software used on the project.

More coming soon!

Music[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis/Soundtrack

The film's original score was composed by John Debney and Heitor Pereira, who previously collaborated on the score of Going Francisco. The soundtrack album was released on June 29, 2004, by Varèse Sarabande.

Release[edit | edit source]

Theatrical[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis/Release dates

Computeropolis was initially set for release on July 16, 2004, but the date was later changed to July 2, 2004. The film premiered at the Fox Village Theater on June 20, 2004, and was theatrically released on July 2 in the United States and Canada, in Australia on July 29, and in the United Kingdom on September 10. After the success of the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park, Universal re-released Computeropolis in 3D on May 16, 2014 for its 10th anniversary of the film. On March 1, 2019, Universal and IMAX announced that the film would be reissued and digitally re-mastered for IMAX theaters (alongside its sequels, Computeropolis 2, Computeropolis 3, and Computeropolis: The Deep Web) using their DMR Technology in a quadruple feature for a one-day only, "Fan Event", on May 1.

Marketing[edit | edit source]

The film's teaser trailer was released on July 1, 2003 and was attached into Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas a day later. It depicts a scene where Peri and Nicky get sucked out of the computer and start an argument over which way they need to go. This scene was not present in the final film release. Another teaser trailer was released on December 12, 2003 and was attached into Dusk and Dawn and Peter Pan. The first full trailer was released on March 3, 2004 and was shown with The Pet Squadron two days later. The final trailer was released on April 29, 2004, and was released theatrically in front of History Island and Shrek 2. There were a few television spots for the film; the first one was released in May 2004, the second one was released in June 2004, and the third one was released in July 2004.

Upon its release, Burger King had a promotional tie-in with seven toys including Peri Dazz, Nicky Kickzoo, King Trojan, Milo, Travis, Notepad Ned, and Media Player Mike with a paid Kids' Meal order. Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins also promoted the film for its new Peri & Nicky's Loaded Computeropolis ice cream that consists of Hershey's chocolate, hot fudge, crushed chocolate cookies, whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

Video game[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis (video game)

A video game based on the film was released on June 29, 2004 on PlayStation 2XboxGameCubeGame Boy Advance, PC, and Macintosh, as well as on mobile phones.

Home media[edit | edit source]

Computeropolis was first released on DVD and VHS on December 7, 2004. Both releases included a 5-minute short film titled Print 3D Errors, which takes place after the events of the film. The film was the best-selling DVD in its initial week of release, selling over 500,000 copies and making over $16.9 million. It was also released on Game Boy Advance Video in October 2005 and on UMD for the Sony PSP. Another single disc release was released May 30, 2006 along with an HD DVD release, and the next year a new 2 disc release with extra features on June 19, 2007. It was later released on Blu-ray in North America on July 22, 2008. Another Blu-ray release from Universal for the film was released on June 5, 2012, as a part of Universal's Universal 100th Anniversary releases. It was later released on Blu-ray 3D on August 12, 2014. A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released on May 8, 2018.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Box office[edit | edit source]

Computeropolis opened on July 2, 2004, in the United States and Canada. It got to earn $85,729,840 during its opening weekend, placing first in its box office during that weekend and setting new records such as earning the highest-opening weekend for a non-sequel animated feature, and the highest opening for an original non-Disney/Pixar film. The film also earned the highest-grossing domestic debut for Universal Animation (later overtaken by its sequel in 2007).

By the end of its theatrical run, Computeropolis grossed a total of $587,164,299 worldwide, making it 2004's highest-grossing Universal Pictures film and the year's sixth highest-grossing film. It is also the third highest-grossing 2004 animated film behind Shrek 2 ($919.8 million) and The Incredibles ($631.4 million).

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Computeropolis received widespread critical acclaim, becoming a cult hit among critics upon release. On the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 90% based on 169 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Having enough colorful animation, brilliant humor and action-packed scenes to compete with the likes of Pixar, Computeropolis perfectly lives up to be a hit on its own." On Metacritic, it received a score of 76 out of 100, based on 73 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars, saying "In its first fully computer-generated feature, Universal Pictures offers audiences Computeropolis the whole family could enjoy the delightful addition to the company's other classics with non-stop humor." Richard Corliss of Time Magazine praised David Spade's performance as Nicky Kickzoo, stating that "it gets even funnier for his comic relief career that brings the well-known self for his life." Todd McCarthy of Variety liked the concept, also stating "As directed by Audel LaRoque, Computeropolis has a very engaging concept for a movie taking place inside your computer."

Some critics have likened Computeropolis to science-fiction live-action films such as Tron and The Matrix; Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News described the film as "Toy Story meets Tron". Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying that "Computeropolis seems to duplicate the usual animation look of Gabriel Garza, but was made using computer software and has truly amazing action sequences, charm, wit, and humor with a host of quirky characters such as Peri Dazz and Nicky Kickzoo." Charles Herold of The New York Times summed up his review stating that "Computeropolis is not only a great kids movie, but it is an enthusiastic movie with perfect moments that live up to its plot as well as other Universal animated hits like Ama and the Mysterious Crystal and Paint World."

Some critics, however, criticized some unexpected product placements of Microsoft Windows products such as Windows 95/98 and XP. Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail described Computeropolis as a "90-minute feature-length commercial for Microsoft", while Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post wrote that it was little more than an exercise in advertising PC downloads to children. Bill Muller of The Arizona Republic stated, "While not as bad as say, Mac and Me, Universal's Computeropolis sometimes has overuse of Microsoft products, but tries hard enough to appeal fans who may be puzzled by the movie's visual disconnect." Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune considered Peri's quote "Bye for now and where do you wanna go today?" as a clever reference to the 90's Microsoft slogan.

Accolades[edit | edit source]

Awards
Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Audel LaRoque and David Silverman Nominated
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Brandon Minez, Michael Wildshill Nominated
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Shane Prigmore, Carter Goodrich Nominated
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Audel LaRoque and David Silverman Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production John Debney, Heitor Pereira Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Yarrow Cheney Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Kurt R. Anderson, Ash Brannon, John France, Frans Vischer Nominated
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production David Spade Won
Writing in an Animated Feature Production Thomas Lennon Nominated
BAFTA Children's Awards Best Feature Film Won
Casting Society of America Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting Jennifer Tilly Nominated
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures – Animated Teresa Eckton, Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Michael Silvers, Gary Summers, Frank Rinella, Will Files, Tony Eckert Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Animated Film Audel LaRoque, David Silverman Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Jesse McCartney Nominated
Saturn Awards Saturn Award for Best Animated Film Won
Visual Effects Society Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture Kelsey Grammer Nominated

Sequels[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis (franchise)

Computeropolis was followed by two sequels: Computeropolis 2 (2007) and Computeropolis 3 (2010). While the first sequel received similar acclaim from critics, the third film, however, got some mixed reviews but was still a box office hit. A fourth installment, titled Computeropolis: The Deep Web, was released on June 1, 2018.

A fifth film, titled Computeropolis: Webcation, is set for release on July 9, 2021.

Spin-offs[edit | edit source]

Manga[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis (manga)

Television series[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis: Adventures of Peri and Nicky

Holiday special[edit | edit source]

Main article: Computeropolis Xmas

Transcripts[edit | edit source]

Main[edit | edit source]

To see the main transcript of the film, click here.

Trailers[edit | edit source]

To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.


v - e - d
Computeropolis logo.png
Media
Films: ComputeropolisComputeropolis 2Computeropolis 3Computeropolis: The Deep WebComputeropolis: Webcation

Television: Computeropolis: Adventures of Peri and NickyZola: Queen of the Deep WebComputeropolis: Operation DCL

Characters
Peri DazzNicky KickzooVinna BinzTravisManager MarcCommander CindyNotepad NedPainting Paula


v - e - d
UNIVERSAL 2013 PRINT LOGO.png
Universal Animation Studios
Ama and the Mysterious Crystal (1997) · Paint World (1999) · Mistress Masham's Repose (2000) · Magina (2003) · Computeropolis (2004) · Onion Mastori: The Movie (2005) · Curious George (2006) · Me & Mobo (2006) · Computeropolis 2 (2007) · Swapped (2008) · Woo La La (2009) · Computeropolis 3 (2010) · Nepola's Odyssey (2011) · Quest (2012) · Luna & Zak (2013) · Nepola's Odyssey II (2014) · Paradoria (2015) · Imagimals (2017) · Lix (2017) · Computeropolis: The Deep Web (2018) · Sev: Indehindrance Day (2019) · Paradoria 2 (2019) · Imagimals 2 (2020)

Upcoming: Computeropolis: Webcation (2021) · Mechagirl (2022)

Illumination
Despicable Me (2010) · Hop (2011) · The Lorax (2012) · Despicable Me 2 (2013) · Minions (2015) · The Secret Life of Pets (2016) · Sing (2016) · Despicable Me 3 (2017) · The Grinch (2018) · The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) · Esqua (2020)

Upcoming: Sing 2 (2021) · Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) · Untitled animated Mario film (2022)

DreamWorks Animation
Dusk and Dawn: A Zodiacal Night (2018) · Greenuts (2018) · How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) · Abominable (2019) · Trolls World Tour (2020) · The Croods: A New Age (2020)

Upcoming: Spirit Untamed (2021) · The Boss Baby: Family Business‎‎ (2021) · The Bad Guys (2022) · Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

Gingo Movies
Hatty in the Big City: The Movie (1999) · Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie (1999) · Going Francisco (2001) · The Gabriel Garza Movie (2002) · The Whackems: One Big Movie (2003) · Zina and the Vivid Crew (2004) · The Pandemoniums Movie (2009) · The Ace of All Trades Movie: Too Hot For Theaters! (2010) · FusionMania: The Movie (2012) · Planetokio (2014)
Multimedia Animation
Liche's Wish (1990) · East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1992) · Romeo and Juliet (1994)
Amblin Entertainment
An American Tail (1986) · The Land Before Time (1988) · An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) · We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993) · Balto (1995) · The Imps of Nature (1996)
Big Idea Entertainment
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002) · The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008) · LarryBoy: A VeggieTales Movie (2020)
Animated Films Distributed by Universal
The Snow Queen (1959) · Pinocchio in Outer Space (1969) · Flying Phantom Ship (1971) · Elements of Light (1989) · Jetsons: The Movie (1990) · Doraemon: The Movie‎‎ (1995) · Maze of the Castle (1998) · The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) · Princess Arete (2001) · Momo (2001) · The Magic Roundabout (2005) · The Princess and the Pied Piper (2006) · Cinnamon the Movie (2007) · The Tale of Despereaux (2008) · Saturn (2013)
Animated Films Distributed by Focus Features
Zoe Tarr: The Drinking Detective‎ (2007) · Coraline (2009) · 9 (2009) · ParaNorman (2012) · The Boxtrolls (2014) · Ratchet & Clank (2016) · Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

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