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Astro Boy Movie Review

G-Man gives his opinion on the movie.




Most of you might be know me from ComicVine.  I decided to share my review of Astro Boy with you guys here as well.  This past weekend was a daddy/daughter one for me.  I asked my daughter if she wanted to see "Where The Wild Things Are" or " Astro Boy."  She chose Astro Boy.
 
When I first heard Astro Boy was being made into a CG movie, I was interested to see how it'd turn out.  While Astro Boy first came out way back in 1952, I never really had the opportunity to watch any of the anime.  I did buy a collected edition of the manga and thought it was good.  Because I didn't have a strong attachment to the character, I was able to look forward to the movie without fearing that it would turn into a train wreck (as with the Speed Racer movie, which could be appreciated for some minor elements).
 
The story of Astro Boy deals with a future world where robots are in abundance and basically are made to serve mankind.  A brilliant scientist ( Dr. Tenma) loses his son and creates a robot in his son's image.  When he realizes that this robot cannot replace his son and simply acts as a reminder of his son's death, he tries getting rid of Astro.  Astro Boy is a boy robot with a heart of gold (not literally).  He goes on to show the world just how noble and caring he is.
 
For a kids' movie, the movie does a great job.  From what I've read of the manga, the movie seems pretty faithful with some minor changes.  For example, the way the scientist's son is killed is changed.  Which brings up an interesting point.  I was a little surprised that a children's movie would include the death scene.  How does the boy die?



The movie is very shiny in terms of the CG graphics.  The story was pretty good.  The characters are set up nicely and we get a fun little adventure.  The inclusion of the other kids is bound to be appealing to child viewers.  Luckily they weren't your typical (annoying) movie kids.  I'm not saying I loved those characters but they weren't horrendous.  The voice actors did a great job.  I have to say I even enjoyed Nicolas Cage's voice as the scientist Dr. Tenma despite the fact that he wouldn't have been my first choice.
 
What did my daughter think?  She loved it.  She wasn't bothered with the death of the original boy.  There were some slightly suspenseful scenes but she ate them up.  There's definitely enough to appeal to kids and there was also some little bits of humor thrown in for the older viewers (like a scene from "Robots Gone Wild" in the background on a screen).  The movie opened at number six this past weekend.  Considering that Imagi doesn't have the marketing powerhouse that other studios do, it had a good turnout.  
 


Will there and should there be a sequel?  I'd love to see more Astro Boy.  While he's always been referred to as a "robotic Pinnochio," you can't help but like the little guy.   I would give the movie a strong 4 out of 5.  As I mentioned, it may not be 100% true to the original source but the inclusion of other characters like Hamegg and Dr. Elephun (or Professor Ochanomizu in the original manga).  I'm sure when it comes out on Blu-ray, we will be buying it and my daughter will be watching it several times.  While it may not be essential to see in theaters, the nice polished CG is cool to see on the big screen along with the big robotic chase scenes.  I would definitely recommend this movie as an entertaining film.  If you're a hardcore Astro Boy, I think you'd still enjoy it.  Oh and they even included the machine guns in his butt.  How can you beat that?

John_Martoneon Oct. 27, 2009 at 11:06 a.m.
Yeah, I too enjoyed the movie for what it was. It keep some slightly more mature themes and child like humor together without becoming pandering. Too often in these affairs I feel that the dialog and jokes become soley aimed a children, and become off putting to adults, or vise versa.
 
Just generally a fun movie to watch. Though, yes, I too have almost no history with the manga or anime to compare/contrast.

Dig Deeper into Astro Boy (CG)

A CG animated film based on the original Osamu Tezuka Astro Boy manga.

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