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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DVD Review: Astro Boy

Astro Boy – An E1 Films’ Release


DVD Release Date: March 16th, 2010

Rated PG for some action and peril, and brief mild language.

Running time: 94 minutes

David Bowers (dir.)

Osamu Tezuka (comic series)

Timothy Harris (screenplay)

David Bowers (screenplay)

John Ottman (music)

Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma (voice)

Kristen Bell as Cora (voice)

Samuel L. Jackson as Zog (voice)

Bill Nighy as Dr. Elefun (voice)

Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy (voice)

Donald Sutherland as President Stone (voice)

Nathan Lane as Ham Egg (voice)

Eugene Levy as Orrin (voice)

Our reviews below:


Astro Boy DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Astro Boy is based on a popular Japanese anime series. It is the story of a scientist whose son is killed, and he deals with the guilt by building a robotic copy of his son, Toby. Astro Boy must deal with his father’s resentment, as he fights crime and comes to terms with being a robot. If you can get past the slightly strange subject matter, it’s actually pretty good.

Though it’s nowhere near as good as Robots or Meet the Robinsons, and isn’t even mentionable in the same sentence as Pixar’s masterpiece WALL•E, three films that it takes more than a little inspiration from, it is still inventive in its own way. It has enough good parts, especially the stuff with the robots, to make it worth watching, especially for kids.

The DVD includes several featurettes, and some bonus animation.


Astro Boy DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

The story of Astro Boy begins in Metro City, a floating city above the trash-covered earth. The whole city is full of robots that help run the town, under the command of humans. After losing his genius son, Toby, in a freak accident, Dr. Tenma, the scientist that designed most of the technology for the whole city, uses Toby's DNA to make a robot version of him. His new 'son' is Astro Boy. The first part of the movie seemed kind of mediocre to me, but I started to really like the film more, once Astro ends up accidentally crash landing back down on ground-level Earth.

Once on the surface, he meets a group of 'street kids', and for the first time realizes that there are those who live outside the 'perfect' world of Metro City. He also meets a rag-tag group of robots that are part of what they call the RRF, or Robot Revolutionary Front. They are trying to up rise against the injustices of robot slavery, and the fact that when they break down, they are just discarded by being thrown down to the surface. He also finds himself in the middle of robot gladiatorial games that take place in this 'new world' he's found. Eventually though, he has to return to Metro City to save it from 'The Peacekeeper', which is a robot controlled by a corrupt president seeking reelection, as it is now destroying the town.

By the end of the movie, the film has turned out to be actually quite an enjoyable ride, and while not really as enjoyable outside the 6-12 market as other films, both that group, and fans of the original Astro Boy comics and shows, will want to see this one. Depending on where you fall in the target groups, either rent or buy this one.


Astro Boy DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Based on the Japanese cartoon of the same name, Astro Boy is a fun kid’s film that is inventive and funny enough for adults. Reminiscent of WALL•E, the story begins in Metro City, a floating community that sits above a trash filled Earth. Dr Tenma, a brilliant scientist, is proud of his genius son, Toby. When Toby is killed in a terrible accident, Dr. Tenma creates a robotic clone of him out of Toby’s memories, and a positive energy known as “blue energy.” The robotic child ends up on the land below, and meets up with a group of street kids, various robots, a robot repair guy, and a hilarious trio of Monty Pythonesque robots known as the RRF. The boy becomes known as Astro Boy, spreading a message of peace.

Astro Boy is a good film for families. The voice cast is good, and the storyline, while similar to other films such as Robots, is still very original. The underlying messages in this film are good too. Astro Boy is worth owning on DVD, especially if you have children in the 6-12 range.


Astro Boy DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Astro Boy is a fun and exciting animated adventure about a Pinocchio kind of hero. Toby/Astro Boy (voiced by Freddie Highmore) has to discover his strengths and weaknesses and figure out what’s right and wrong to save both people and robots on futuristic Earth’s Metro City.

While the story starts out rather slowly the pace and fun picks up when Astro Boy heads back to Earth. There he meets up with a group of street kids and an interesting assortment of robots. The robots in this movie are what make it appealing. I especially liked Eugene Levy’s submissive servant robot and the RRF (Robot Revolutionary Front) robots. They are all quirky and fun to watch they reminded me of both WALL•E and Robots.

The animation in Astro Boy is well done and the voice acting features an all-star cast. The adventurous story along with the appealing robots make this a very watchable movie. Though Astro Boy will appeal more to the six to ten year old demographic adults and older kids will also find this fun. If you have kids who like to watch a movie more than once, than Astro Boy is worth the purchase price. Otherwise this would make a good weekend rental for the family.


Astro Boy DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Astro Boy is based on an amime series that I was unfamiliar with. From accounts of fans of the series, it is a faithful rendering of the original, including the rather dark back story of how Astro, fitted out with all the powers of an Iron Man, was a robot copy of the scientist Dr. Tenma’s genius son, killed by a super robot commissioned by the corrupt president Stone.

Produced in Hong Kong by Imaji Animation Studios, Astro Boy is not in the same league as Pixar or Dreamworks, but I enjoyed it more than some other recent features such as Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and way more than Planet 51. Its rather conventional plot is enriched by inspired casting, notably the title character (Freddie Highmore). Dr. Tenma (Nicholas Cage), the “tricky Dick” president (Donald Sutherland), the grovelling robot servant (Eugene Levy), the rogue robot repairman (an amimated version of Nathan Lane), and the pythonesque schtick from a trio of cockney junkyard robot protesters.


Consensus: Though not in the same league as some other animated films, Astro Boy is a surprisingly fun and inventive animated film, especially for kids. *** (Out of 4)

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