Astro Boy was born in 1951 as a manga, that turned into four TV series. Now Osamu Tezuka’s robot boy reincarnates as a PG animated feature by writer-director David Bowers (“Flushed Away”) and co-writer Timothy Harris (“Kindergarten Cop”). A high-energy military experiment kills the son (Freddie Highmore) of a super-scientist (Nicolas Cage). Reborn as a robot, Astro Boy is home-schooled with Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.” The super smarty pants learns: “I’ve got machine guns in my butt? You’ve got to be kidding!” Rejected by his creator, the weaponized boy finds new friends among runaways on the polluted dump of a planet below the pristine floating city in the sky. The bumbling Revolutionary Robot Front embraces the newcomer. Astro Boy takes on an impresario (Nathan Lane) of robot-gladiator bouts and a gung-ho general (Donald Sutherland) campaigning for re-election under the slogan “It’s Not Time For Change.” Loud action, slight comedy, kid-centric sentiment. This ain’t “A.I.” meets “Wall-E.” With the voices of Kristen Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy and Charlize Theron. 94m. (Bill Stamets)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.