Astro Boy is a 2009 animated film based on the popular Japanese Manga character. Here, he sports a new outfit for most of the film, but also returns to his original design for a couple of scenes. His famous (or infamous) cannon butt makes a timely and clever appearance here. Don’t worry, this film is very appropriate for kids. In fact, I believe the kids will enjoy this film tremendously.
This film mainly deals with Astro Boy’s identity crisis as he wonders if he is a real human or a robot. Needless to say, he chooses to do what is right and becomes a hero. There were some emotional stuff going on between him and his human father, which I thought was brilliant. Not as intense or touching as that in Pixar films, but still very engaging. Astro Boy also gets into a relationship with a human girl that doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s cute and younger kids will like the big anime-like facial features.
There was a little too much slapstick at certain points, but it didn’t go overboard. The comedy here is not offensive, although there are certain things that only the adults might be able to catch. Also, there was a scene involving a chainsaw which I found to be quite sadistic. A robot trio appears frequently from the second act forth mainly for comic relief, and I was hoping that they did not destroy the pacing of the film. Fortunately, they did not do much harm and I even got a chuckle out of some of their antics. Overall, all the main characters fit nicely into the plot, although I would wish for more time with Astro Boy’s father.
Astro Boy has a few famous names such as Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage and Charlize Theron for voice talent, but you probably won’t know it’s them. The detail in the animation is not the best, but the film is stylish and has impressive action scenes. The plot is simplistic and maybe even familiar, but the title character is interesting and cute enough to get you involved. It’s target audience of young kids will definitely enjoy this film, and the rest of the family can also learn a thing or too from the heroic Astro Boy.