US, 2009, 94 minutes, Colour.
Voices of: Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Matt Lucas, Eugene Levy, Nathan Lane, Madeleine Carroll.
Directed by David Bowers.
Astro Boy comes from the 1960s, an early Manga comic book character which inspired the Anime films from Japan and the versions of the Manga books. Now Astro Boy stars in an American film.
In the future, a mountain (looking like Mt Fuji) has risen into space from the devastated earth and a new civilisation is flourishing. There is much scientific research going on, especially with Dr Elefun and Dr Temna. However, as so often, a jingoistic president is more interested in developments in negative energy rather than positive (repeating that he is running for election). When an experiment goes destructively wrong, Dr Temna's young son is trapped and killed. However, the father constructs a robot just like his son – who becomes known as Astro Boy.
Astro Boy's adventures, after he discovers he is only a robot, take him back to earth where he finds a group of vagrant children in a circus – where he is made to fight all kinds of powerful robots to entertain the crowds. Meantime, the president is hell-bent on controlling the so-called Peacemaker, a giant robot whose red destructive power core overwhelms the blue positive core. Can Astro Boy remedy this?
The raging President finds himself inside The Peacemaker, which makes him more powerful. Which all leads up to a final confrontation and Astro Boy saves the world. What else!
Entertaining, differently drawn, with nods to the Japanese origins of the characters, the film has some excellent and pleasing voice talent. Freddie Highmore is Astro Boy. Donald Sutherland is a standout, both comically and seriously as the president. Nicholas Cage is the father. Bill Nighy is Dr Elefun (a rotund, small man which makes the thin Bill Nighy's voice seem a bit incongruous for those who are aware of him) and Nathan Lane is the circus master.
It should keep adults and children nicely amused.
1.The origins of Astro Boy in Japan? Comics, television series? The antecedents for this American version?
2.The eastern and Asian traditions blending with western and American traditions? How well did they blend?
3.The style of animation, the figures, the visuals of the planet, Metro City? Action sequences? The score?
4.The quality of the voice cast, giving drama to the rather blander-looking characters and the situations?
5.The situation, Earth and the disasters, life in Metro City?
6.The background of science, Doctor Tenma, Doctor Elefun? Their work, creating the character? The Peacemaker? Capacity for peace? The role of the president, wanting the Peacemaker to be a weapon? The blue and the red power? Doctor Tenma’s son and his hiding, his being caught?
7.Astro Boy, his going into the laboratory, the danger of the experiment, caught behind the glass, his death? His father’s grief? The DNA, rebuilding him as a robot? In the image of his son? Voice, look, expression? But not human? Doctor Tenma and his love for Astro Boy? The comparisons, Doctor Tenma’s rejecting of Astro Boy?
8.The character of the president, his concern about the elections, the Peacemaker to be a weapon, callous attitudes?
9.Doctor Elefun, nice, at work, creation, concern?
10.Astro Boy, unpredictable, rejected?
11.Astro Boy going to Earth, meeting the group of children, on the outskirts, his friendship with Cora? Cora as a character? Ham Egg, the ringmaster? The robots, discovering the truth about Astro Boy, setting up the confrontation, especially with Zog? The visuals of the battle?
12.The president, wanting the red power? Finding Astro Boy? The confrontation with Doctor Tenma? Tenma helping?
13.The president going into the Peacemaker, becoming a monster, the confrontation with Astro Boy? The children helping?
14.The finale, Astro Boy saving the world, saving Metro City? Reconciled with Doctor Tenma? A new life and adventures?