The original cartoon of Astro Boy was first seen on Japan television from 1963 to 1966 as which is credited as the first anime cartoon. The character of Astro Boy first appeared in print as a manga in 1952 so naturally this film has plenty of Japan influence in it. The story is similar to that of Pinocchio as a robot with incredible powers, and the purest spirit on the planet discovers the joys of being human while embarking on a worldwide journey to discover his true potential. As I try to do with most films, I only had a general idea of Astro Boy’s premise before walking into the theater.
So what did I think? Well…Astro Boy sucked pretty bad. The film is actually marketed towards kids oddly enough which is strange since the negatives far outweight the positives in this movie. Very violent including (but not limited to) the death of a man’s son, attempted murder, and suicidal behavior. The animation was smooth, capturing the tone I remember while using completely different techniques by switching to CGI. The CGI was a good fit for this future world. The voice-acting is decent, but it’s hard to say it’s good because there’s nothing that stands out. If I didn’t see his name in the credits, I wouldn’t even know Samuel L. Jackson was in the film.
I know this film tries to tackle certain important issues but I don’t care enough about this film to dive into them. Simply stated, underneath it all is a strong story of a boy who is just trying to fit in. Overall Astro Boy proved itself to be an entertaining film, one that shows an appreciative dedication to the source material despite its more mainstream requirements. But it almost feels like there are too many movies competing simultaneously in what is essentially a pretty standard tale of good versus evil.
The second half of Astro Boy just dies. And the characters Astro Boy runs into really do nothing to move the story along. I would highly recommend families to see this movie. It’s kid friendly with great animation and most importantly it’s fun! As to everyone else, pass on this movie. While it doesn’t live up to Pixar standards, the movie is quite an engaging family-friendly action flick. As a film, Astro Boy is quite simple and doesn’t offer much innovation to its animated-action genre.