Saturday, 19 February 2011

Film Review: ASTRO BOY (2009)

Director: David Bowers
Running time: 90 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Sci-Fi/Adventure
UK release date 5th February 2010

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 19th February 2011.


Based on the Manga by Osamu Tezuka, this film tells the story of how Astro Boy was made and how he saved the residents of his home. I’ll admit I haven’t read the Manga or seen any of the TV series based on it made in the 1960’s. It’s quite a witty and interesting tale with quite a bit of drama thrown in for good measure. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those who don’t wish to know anything about the plot please sort out that pile of robot parts over there while I write the next paragraph).

NOTE: There is what may be a spoiler to some in this summary… You have been warned!

Toby lives in Metro City which floats in the sky above the Earth, which is polluted and not a great place to be. The people there are waited on hand and foot by robots that are the invention of Toby’s father, Dr. Tenma. He is working alongside his friend Dr. Elefun on a project for President Stone called Peacemaker, a giant fighting robot. Toby, wanting to see the demonstration goes to the Ministry of Science and sneaks into the testing room. When the demonstration goes wrong the robot goes berserk and Toby is killed. Grief stricken, his father builds a robot that looks like Toby and, using his DNA, gives it all of his memories too. It is brought to life by a special power source that is thought to be only for good. Eventually the robot Toby finds himself down on the Earth’s surface where he meets new friends and has some great adventures… I’ve probably said too much, but that will do for now.

There are elements of other films in this one; in particular I found many similarities to Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film, A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Having said that, it is quite entertaining and there is a lot of humour both in the dialogue and some great sight gags too. The performances were ok, but it is hard to judge from a voice, so honourable mentions go to the voice talents of; Freddie Highmore as Astro/Toby, Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma, Donald Sutherland as President Stone, Bill Nighy as Dr. Elefun/Robotsky and Kristen Bell as Cora.

I don’t dislike this film; in fact there is a lot to like about it. It asks a lot of its audience and as such I found it quite strange to watch. On one hand it’s an animated film aimed at kids, with lots of jokes and plenty of adventure. But on the other hand it has a much darker story about a man losing his child and trying to replace him with a robot. But at the end of the day it’s an entertaining watch and so… Recommended.

My score: 6.4/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:
Official Site:

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