Thursday, November 12, 2009

Astro Boy (2009)

By Reymundo Salao

ASTRO BOY is a full-length CGI animated American adaptation of the massively-popular Japanese manga (comic book) and television series fictional character of the same name ASTRO BOY, created by Ozamu Tezuka, who is considered as “the God of Manga”. Its manga series was first published in 1952 and its television program first broadcast in Japan in 1963.

Basically the storyline of Astro Boy is a sort of futuristic version of Pinocchio, but is extended by storylines of action, adventure, and pure sci-fi. Astro Boy is a robot boy, who initially has gone through an identity crisis, but later on, serves as more of a superhero who gets into various adventures and is consistently bent on promoting peace in his society wherein robots live side-by-side human beings.

Arguably, Astro Boy is the quintessential children’s action hero because he is an ideal mix of pure innocence, a loving heart, and an explosive little dynamite when the going gets tough. Although he shoots lasers, and has weapon turrets from his butt, he is always doing his best to resolve things with a more friendlier approach, and always has that cute optimism that even the darkest of villains may possibly be persuaded do good things instead.

This recent Astro Boy movie is indeed, in my opinion, a good way of reintroducing Astro Boy to a younger generation. Spectacular and fun-filled, the movie is never a waste of time. The eye candy aspect is high; it almost reaches the level of Pixar quality. The action is moderately impressive, on the other hand, it has the best “I can fly” sequence (I’m talking about that sequence when the main character discovers he can fly or do superhuman things and goes out in a self-indulging fun trip) and is superior in comparison to those in movies like Spider-man, Superman and Iron Man. It may be just animation but when Astro Boy is having fun in the sky, his joy radiates unto the audience.

Although this is not all comedy from start to finish, the humor was enough to make the movie enjoyable. There are only a few punchlines placed here and there, but no matter how few they are, they pack a punch of solid laughter. I was really amused at the three robots that referred to themselves as the Robot Liberation Front. They were probably my favorite characters in this entire movie. From their quirkily hilarious character designs up to the overall portrayal of these robots, they easily got me tickled pink.

While voice actors Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy and the rest of the voice cast such as Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, and Eugene Levy were all generically good, it was Nicholas Cage, voicing Dr. Tenma, Astro boy's father, whose voice acting complemented excellently with the animation. It was as if it captured Cage in one of his best acting moments. It would not have been easy to bring the character of Tenma to a full-length movie version without altering it. In the original manga (Japanese comics) version and in the TV series, Tenma is portrayed as more brutal and has certainly a darker character, as he deliberately abandons and sells Astro boy, and in one other interpretation, he goes insane. The Tenma portrayed in this new movie version is a more positive version, as he is still bound by love for his creation, Astro Boy. Inevitably and obviously you expect this Tenma to do the morally upright thing.

The storyline aspect was pretty solid. Simplistic to be family-friendly, yet it has some plot and characterization elements that appeal to adults as well. It ends up as a movie that is both young at heart yet mature in content. Enjoyable for kids, interesting for adults. The story does not treat its audiences like idiots, and manages to tell the story without applying unnecessary restraint that can hinder a writer's creativity. In addition, the writers and the rest of the crew have an enormous pressure to make this project become perfect. That is because Astro Boy is like a national figure in Japan, as much as how Mickey Mouse is towards americans. And in my opinion, the americans did deliver a good script for him.

Inevitably, the movie keeps itself faithful with the source material on Astro Boy's origins but there are indeed many little alterations made in order to update this Astroboy as being this generation's version. Rife with enough heart, humor, and spectacular explosive action, this movie has a storyline that easily pleases its audience. It is indeed worth your time & your money if you are looking for a family-friendly movie this week.


Atul said...

astro boy is a multi featured movie full of action, comedy, adventure and animation. Movie is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. I had
watch astro boy
movie last week, yup ! 1st day of its release, and that too online.

Anonymous said...

Thank u :-) you should look at this emo boy one at this blog: