Movie Details

ASTRO BOY

Set in futuristic Metro City, "Astro Boy" tells the story of a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist named Dr. Tenma (Nicholas Cage). Powered by positive `blue` energy, Astro Boy is endowed with super strength, X-ray vision, unbelievable speed and also the ability to fly. He experiences the joys and emotions of being human, and gains the strength to embrace his destiny. When he learns that his friends and family are in danger, Astro Boy marshals his awesome super powers and returns to Metro City in a valiant effort to save everything he cares about and to understand what it takes to be a hero.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 5 Nov 2009
Genre: Science Fiction / Animation / Family
Running Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Distributor: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
Cast: Bill Nighy, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Charlize Theron
Director: David Bowers
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
Overall:
Cast:
Plot:
Effects:
Cinematography:

Watch this if you liked: “Wall-E”, “The Iron Giant”, “Mannequin”

Let's not have a review meant for those who do follow Tezuka Osamu's 1952 manga or its derivatives. Let's have a review meant for anyone who buys a ticket to a cartoon movie in which a boy shoots bullets from his butt.

On that level, "Astro Boy" (also available in Cantonese in some territories, with Nic Cage's part voiced by Aaron Kwok) is a moderately successful project that is by most counts, highly enjoyable. Although it borrows from various animated movies of late (notably the robot junk dystopia in "Wall-E" and the artwork in "The Iron Giant"), this Hollywood-style "Astro Boy" manages to keep it simple and short, going for time-tested emotional hooks and easy-flowing pacing. While the Imagi Animation artwork won't dazzle like Disney's, the movie amply makes up for it by going for a solid, if ordinary, story about how bringing back something to life against the order of nature may have its drawbacks. We're not looking at "Pet Sematary" or "Igor" here. We're looking at the seasonal, more-human-than-human arc that leans more towards the romanticism in "Electric Dreams" (computer), "Pinocchio" (doll) and "Mannequin" (doll).

In terms of casting, Nicolas Cage's outrageously soulful persona emanates well when voicing the regretful father Dr. Tenma, a brilliant scientist who loses his son Toby and decides to bring him back to life as a cyborg. As Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore, Charlie in "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory"), the kid struggles to find his place in the world due to his uncomfortably identity. Bill Nighy ("Love Actually") voices a wise professor and Nathan Lane (Timon in "The Lion King" is a fatherly inventor included for other supporting roles. They even got Samuel L Jackson to lend his voice for a giant robot named Zog.

In sum, director David Bowers and screenwriter Timothy Harris have given this Japanese product a very marketable treatment. Although "Astro Boy" follows the same pattern as "Dragonball Evolution" and "Speed Racer" (other American-produced films based on Japanese sources which failed in their land of origin but sold well in China), it isn't a bad watch at all considering the number of animated features out there who are trying so hard to rival Disney. Pin this one down as a memorable effort towards that cause.

Cinema Online, 17 November 2009
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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