Metro City is a high-tech upper-class sovereignty that floats above the dreary world below. It’s a place for the elite and powerful. They have nothing to do with the third-world people underneath them. That is, not until Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore, August Rush) is created.
After a tragic accident caused by the greedy president (Donald Sutherland, The Italian Job), Metro City’s top scientist, Dr. Tenma (Nicholas Cage, Ghost Rider), is left childless. In an attempt to recreate the lost boy, Dr. Tenma makes a robot who’s mechanical body is built with defenses to prevent it from every being lost again. Using a sample of the boys hair, memories are extract and placed within the robot to make him feel like a real boy. From here out, there is not an original idea in the entire movie. It’s all coined from somewhere else.
Astro Boy feels more like an extremely low-budget Saturday morning cartoon than it does a feature film. It’s episodic and the CG animation isn’t very good. The only thing a Saturday morning cartoon has over it is proper voice casting. Instead of going for a cast of people who’s voice really lend themselves to the movie, they went with big names – most likely just for advertising purposes. Aside from Highmore, Sutherland and Cage, the voice cast consists of decent actors like Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes On A Plane), Charlize Theron (Monster), Eugine Levy (American Pie), Kristen Bell (Couples Retreat), Bill Nighy (Underworld) and Nathan Lane (The Producers). Lane and Bell being the exception, everyone else is awful. The way the lines are delivered never match with the expression of the animated character.
If you’re looking for a good animated flick to take the family to this weekend, don’t make it Astro Boy. As you know from last week, don’t even let it beWhere The Wild Things Are. My recommendation would be Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (even if you’ve already seen it, a second screening couldn’t hurt) or wait two weeks until you can own Up on Blu-ray.
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment