Good day. I am ready to record my report for the archives of this institute. I’ll make it short. Thank you.

Cast and Crew Information

Freddie Highmore as Toby/Astroboy
Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma
Bill Nighy as Dr. Elefun
Donald Sutherland as President Stone
Kristen Bell as Cora
Samuel L. Jackson as Zog
Eugene Levy as Orrin
Nathan Lane as Hamegg

Screenplay by Timothy Harris and David Bowers, inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s manga.
Directed by David Bowers

Premise

When the head of Metro City’s Ministry of Science and the father of modern robotics loses his son in a fatal accident, he builds a robot replacement that is entirely capable of defending itself. He soon learns that the robot is not a viable replacement for his boy, and the robot leaves on his own journey of self discovery.

High Point

Astro discovers his abilities.

Low Point

The lack of musical cues to the 1983 cartoon that the audience grew up on. The opening and closing themes were incredibly distinctive, and seem to be among the strongest associated memories people have of the series. They could have at least put one of them into the closing credits even if Ottman didn’t integrate the melody into his own work.

The Review

As an adaptation, there’s difficulty in gaining perfect originality marks. My only exposures to the source material are through another adaptation, though, so I can’t judge the accuracy of the adaptation. This fourth full motion adaptation is the first theatrical release, and it shares the spirit of the 1983 incarnation (although some of the details have changed, including the exact nature of the fatal accident.) I give it 4 out of 6.

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, allowing them to capture the inhuman proportions of the human characters without losing the “futuristic” feel by moving to traditional animation. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story has the logical consistency needed, and it introduces some pretty deep themes for children’s entertainment. However, once introduced, those themes don’t really seem to go anywhere. Still, the seeds are there for parents who want to deal with them, and they are left off the screen long enough for the other parents to redirect the attention of their children. I’m not sure why he didn’t try to escape “down” after escaping “up” failed in the robot games, but otherwise it holds together nicely. I give it 4 out of 6.

The voice acting is generally good. Nighy and Highmore both do excellent and emotive work. Others, such as Cage, seemed to have a little more emotional restraint. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production was well done. With CGI, you need to preplan a lot more when it comes to editing, and this worked out nicely. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was good. It’s entertaining in its own right, similar enough to previous incarnations to trigger nostalgia, and is frequently genuinely funny. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent movie, and one that a lot of dads will enjoy taking their young children to. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Astroboy (2009) receives 31 out of 42.