Movie Review: Astro Boy (2009)

For the most part, and don’t dare ask me why, American audiences have become mesmerized with the anime sensation that has swallowed up Saturday morning cartoons with lazy animation and piss poor stories. Why have I mentioned this morsel of worthlessness? So I can come to this conclusion of course:

Kids love anime. Anime comes from manga. Kids will therefore love the new manga inspired movie Astro Boy.

And if that causality isn’t enough of reason there is this:

Astro Boy has rockets in his arms and his butt. He possesses super strength and can fly faster than a jet. Why he’s able to do all this is a mystery. After all, he’s supposedly only been created to fill the void left behind after Toby (voiced by Freddie Highmore), the son of world renowned scientist Dr. Tenma (voiced by Nicolas Cage), was killed. It’s a damn good thing he has them though because those pesky, war mongering “Republicans”, led by President Stone (voiced by Donald Sutherland), want his power source for themselves so they can rule with impunity.

That’s right, the bleeding hearts in Hollywood just couldn’t resist breaking things up between the blue powers and red — with the blue being good of course. And while they were at it, why not show how wasteful the human population is again by showing, in a WALL-E way, how Earth is now a massive trash heap and how the elitists, safe in the floating city of Metro City, don’t care about the suffering of those on the surface. I’ve never read or watched any of the comic books or associated cartoons of Astro Boy from yesteryear, but I get a distinct feeling politicism wasn’t a part of their storylines.

Some will say I’m looking too much into it and that may indeed be the case. It’s just impossible for me to not notice those themes. I’d really much rather a kid’s movie be just that — a movie meant for kids without any underlying propaganda or messages.

That aside, Astro Boy is flanked with other production issues. The colors of this future world are bland and uninviting. The future is grim, even though technologically, we, as humans, have excelled. The characters act and look lifeless. Even the comedy ramblings from Earth orphan Cora (voiced by Kristen Bell) and her guardian Ham Egg (voiced by Nathan Lane), who befriend Astro on the ground, belong in the mammoth junk piles where they live.

Oh yeah, Nicolas Cage as a loving and later as grief-stricken father is an odd choice, to say the least.

When Astro Boy ran into production issues late last year, that should have been the signal sent to Summit Entertainment to pull the plug on this unimaginative, uninspiring feature. A world renowned character with so much history behind it like Astro Boy deserves so much better.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Astro Boy (2009)' have 7 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 26, 2009 @ 1:40 am Reagan

    I think you’re looking into the rabbit hole too deeply Disdain. Good review otherwise.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 26, 2009 @ 3:04 am Antoinette Taus

    Astro Boy! I’ve been an avid viewer of Astro Boy on tv since I was a little kid and until now. Comparing the Astro Boy on tv and the movie, I still go for the tv version. It’s much more exciting and enjoyable to watch.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 26, 2009 @ 4:47 am Sarah

    Not heard of astro boy before but reading he has “rockets in his arms and his butt.” makes him pure class! Wouldn’t want him sitting on any of my furniture though, in case he let one off accidentally!

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 2, 2009 @ 1:20 pm Lincoln Deville

    General Disdain, I think you’re right on the mark on this one and NO you are not looking too deeply into this classic. Astro Boy in its beginning had some very sad and deep themes to it. Astro Boy is a major figure in Japanese manga and the themes of alienation, robot prejudice, which Astro Boy suffers, loss of a child, and the desire to find your place in the world as a human when you are not a human, like Astro Boy are mostly absent from this movie. Bad casting choices aside, this movie ignores Astro Boy’s struggle to reconcile the rejection from his father instead focusing on Villians and Political themes that were extremely minor plots in the original. There’s plenty of action packed scenes in the original TV version and the 2000 remakes, but they knew the key was Astro Boy’s search for the truth about himself and his father. These filmakers were given the Mona Lisa and decided to paint a moustache on her.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 4, 2009 @ 8:24 am General Disdain

      Well said, Lincoln. Good to know I wasn’t the only one that saw the political slant of Astro Boy taking center stage.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 11, 2010 @ 4:01 pm insanity

    I guess the color could be considered bland compared to some of the movies from the pixar bunch – still liked it.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 14, 2010 @ 2:00 am Fitness Geak

    I actually really liked Astro Boy. I recently saw Toy Story 3 also and enjoyed it too.

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