Astro Boy

"Good"

Astro Boy Review


Hong Kong-based animators give this Japanese manga a Hollywood spin using American voices and 3D-style animation to an eclectic, eccentric premise that wouldn't be out of place in a Studio Ghibli movie (see Spirited Away).

In the distant future, Metro City has broken away from the rubbish-strewn earth to float above it. Robots help in every part of life there, thanks to the inventive Dr Tenma (voiced by Cage), whose son Toby (Highmore) is also a science whiz. After Toby dies in an accident, Tenma rebuilds him as a robot with some extra features. The power-hungry General Stone (Sutherland) wants to get his hands on Toby's superpowers, but Toby escapes to the surface, where he's renamed Astro and must figure out his own destiny.

There are heavy echoes in here from the likes of Pinocchio, The Iron Giant, I Robot and Wall-E. But these things add resonance, offering intriguing subtext and knowing observations along with the wacky slapstick. Most of the side characters feel badly underwritten, although the gifted cast makes the most of them. Lane is the scene-stealer, investing his robot-collecting showman with plenty of vocal spark despite a simplistic personality.

Meanwhile, the central characters all feel rather bland, voiced without much inflection in typical anime style. While the film is visually packed with clever details, it also looks soft and plasticky, without any texture in close-up. And the plot is extremely linear, lacking any subtlety. This leaves the film feeling rather unsophisticated, which won't bother younger viewers but pales in comparison to other recent animated films that aspire to something either more richly dramatic or more inventively comical.

It perhaps also won't help that the central villain is a warmongering thug who's clearly a thinly veiled swipe at Bush-Cheney. (Although this gives him one of the best lines when he protests, "I need my robot to be a fighter not a lover!") Fortunately, the film redeems itself with a terrific final act that pits the tiny Astro against a hugely ferocious mega-monster. This scene deploys all the inventive skills of both the screenwriters and the animators, and makes us wish they'd cut loose a little earlier.



Astro Boy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd October 2009

Box Office USA: $19.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $44.1M

Budget: $65M

Distributed by: Summit Entertainment

Production compaines: Tezuka Production Company Ltd., Summit Entertainment, Imagi Animation Studios, The Weinstein Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 67

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David Bowers

Producer: Maryann Garger

Starring: as Dr. Tenma (voice), as Cora (voice), as Dr. Elefun (voice), as General Stone (voice), as Astro Boy (voice), as Orrin (voice), as Sludge (voice), as Ham Egg (voice), Samuel L. Jackson as Zog (voice), as Narrator, as Mr. Squirt / Math Cowboy / Boxer Robot, as Mr. Squeegee / Scrapheap Head / Stinger Two, Newell Alexander as General Heckler (voice), as Grace (voice)

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.