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Movie Review: Astroboy (October, 2009)

Director: David Bowers
Screenplay: Timothy Harris, capsule David Bowers
Release Date: October 23, medicine 2009
Voice ActorsFreddie HighmoreNicolas CageDonald SutherlandKristen BellSamuel L. Jackson
Based on the manga books and series created by Osamu Tezuka of the same name

Astroboy is based on the japanese manga of the same name, an anime series that took Asia by storm. Astroboy has now returned to form in 3-D, as lovable as ever. Targetting family audiences, Astroboy is full of laughs, action and will be a film that the whole family can enjoy.

In the floating city above earth, named “MetroCity” where robots have advanced to a point in which they are asked to do humans’ work, a little boy called Troy is lost forever. Astroboy’s origin comes to be once Dr. Tenma (Troy’s dad, voiced by Nicolas Cage), during a presentation for the president, loses Troy. In a desperate attempt to replace him, he creates a robotic replica of Troy using positive energy called “blue core”. Robot Troy has all the memories of Troy, and has no idea that he isn’t really the Troy that his dad had hoped to resurrect. However, as he figures out that he has special abilities, he also discovers that his dad no longer wants him and thinks he was a mistake to create. There begins Robot Troy’s journey to figure out where he does belong, and what his purpose on Earth and in MetroCity.

Having had little exposure to the original Astroboy, I cannot make an honest comparison, though I know that characters like Cora never existed in the original. Having seen this about a week after “Where the Wild Things Are”, I felt Astroboy was much more suited to children and required less effort for them to pay attention to the screen. As an adult however, I felt that some of the story was disjointed and it did not flow as smoothly as expected. MetroCity was not explored enough, and neither were Astroboy’s scenes on Earth. All the robots we were introduced to in which Astroboy encountered were comedic, and likeable. Freddie Highmore did an excellent job voicing Astroboy, and there was never a time when I could hear only Freddie, and not Astroboy. Many famous actors lent their voices to the movie (as most do in animated films), and really added a great deal of depth into the film. The colors were vivid and bright, and the action and CG were acceptable. One thing Jason and I noticed that bothered us was Astroboy’s constant changes in his hair. The spikes would constantly go from left to right. which detracted from the movie.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the film, I did. However, I was not blown away by it, and I sensed that the movie could be improved as I was watching it. The message was rather incoherent, and the small little stories did not help to show what the purpose of the story being in the film was meant for. In the end, I felt the movie was just “okay”. Of the animated family films over the Fall, I think Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the better movie, with a more coherent storyline. This is too bad, because I enjoy the character of Astroboy, and feel that the writers could have done a better job having a better, more focused storyline. Characters that appeared for just a few scenes didn’t seem to have much purpose except for more comedy, and did not seem to aid the progression of the storyline at all. Kids will no doubt enjoy it anyway, so in my opinion, it would not be a mistake for parents to take their children, but as an adult, this movie missed the mark for me. I would recommend waiting to see this one.

Just okay. 2.5 robots / 5 robots

Links:
Astroboy
Official Astroboy Movie Site
Watch the Trailer

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