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Atro Boy - Shoot this movie into space, well kinda


Astro Boy (2009)

“Astro Boy” is a robot created by scientist Dr. Tenma whose grief pushed him to such an extent as to resurrect his son as a machine. Astro has to find his place in the world and, unlike the rest of us, he must do it in 90 minutes.

Nicolas Cage, who voices Dr. Tenma, is kind of lame in this one. He sounds so freaking bored in everything he does lately. Movie audiences will not connect with Dr. Tenma’s struggle to bring back his dead son and all the troubles that entails.

Here is the issue: When you clone someone’s brain, whether through genetic means or robotic, the minute it is awakened it starts down the path of gaining its own individual personality. Unless every experience is shared exactly alike from the exact same perspective, the thought processes will begin to drift apart due to the slightly different perspectives on different events. Events that slowly shape who we are and how we react to certain circumstances. This is a little more introspective than you are used to from a review like this, but it’s the foundation of Dr. Tenma’s torment – one we can barely connect with because of Cage’s boring performance.

Orrin, the maid/babysitter of sorts is funny, but not that funny. It’s hard to believe Eugene Levy did the voice work for this character; we’re surprised they didn’t go the Robin Williams route.

Voice casting is important in an animated movie. But the “Astro Boy” cast can’t save the movie’s poor direction and dialogue. Donald Sutherland’s work is sub par. Kristen Bell is given nothing to do. Nathan Lance is meh. Bill Nighy is great as Dr. Elefun, and Freddie Highmore does a good job, but like everyone else isn’t given anything that great. No one would ever know Samuel L. Jackson is in this film without looking at the credits.

Some of the motivation for the characters is two-dimensional to the point of confusion. It’s hard to believe that people have such firm commitments to such basic desires 24/7.

Design is simple, but effective. The graphics are well done visually and the animation is solid.

The direction (David Bowers) is basic, but at least keeps the project from falling apart. The screenplay (Timothy Harris) doesn’t help Bowers’ job – it is diluted and tries to hard to follow standard American cartoon traditions, even though it is based on a Japanese series.

Never seeing the original, it’s hard to say how faithful this adaptation is to the source material. However, having played through a game or two featuring Astro Boy, it leaves the impression that there was a considerable amount changed. This is especially true for Dr. Tenma, who is portrayed as dark and mysterious (sometimes to the point of coming off as evil) in what we have witnessed from these games. And several other characters are missing from the movie version.

Osamu Tezuka is considered Japan’s Walt Disney, the creator of a host of classic cartoons in Japan. It’s sad to see that this bland adaptation.

Nicolas Cage should take a role in “Twilight” as a vampire. His dispassionate disposition as of late would fit right in.



Official website:

Astro Boy - Shoot this movie into space, well kinda.


Directed by: David Bowers
Written by: Timothy Harris - Comic by: Osamu Tezuka
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Charilze Theron, Bill Nighy, Samuel L.Jackson, Freddie Highmore, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane

Source of the Bitter: JAS

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