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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

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.