Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 9
In futuristic Metro City, after an accident takes the life of his son, Dr. Tenma creates a robot copy of his son and sparks a revolutionary adventure!
I haven’t read the manga or seen the anime, so it’s just a review on the movie version of Astro Boy. I must admit though, this movie has a lot more adult concepts and humor than I would have first thought. Consider the first major scene of the movie, President Stone (voiced by Donald Sutherland) is insisting on trying out the new inaptly dubbed Peacekeeper robots Dr. Tenma made. The result, roundaboutly, is son Toby’s death. Not since Finding Nemo has there been such a dark setup intro. The interesting thing about Astro Boy is that this dark and tragic counterpoint seems to be a running theme throughout the movie, rather than tiptoeing around it. It’s like seeing Jim Henson’s Muppets all your life, and then as a young adult watching The Dark Crystal.
Nowhere near as predictable as you might think, Astro Boy deals with such serious concepts as death, murder (of human or robot), humanity with or without mercy, and such heavy things. Nicholas Cage brings a stoic vulnerability to Dr. Tenma, although for me the physical character on the screen didn’t quite match the voice. We have Nathan Lane for HamEgg, the entrepreneur who needs a few business lessons; Kristen Bell of Heroes fame for the voice of human friend Cora; the redoubtable Bill Nighy as Dr. Elefun; and of course Freddie Highmore of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake fame for the voice of Astro Boy.
Too adult to be a cartoon, enough amazing CGI to mark Imagi Studios as a powerhouse, Astro Boy sends the standards for movie-making, as he would say, “Onward and upward!”