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 multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.