Astro Boy (2009) In an origin story that's like Pinocchio meets Frankenstein , Dr. Tenma (voiced by Nicolas Cage), a robotics professor, loses his son, Toby, in a… 2009-10-23 PG PT95M Action/Adventure Animation Kristen Bell Nicolas Cage Freddie Highmore Nathan Lane Summit Entertainment
Movie Review

Astro Boy (2009)

MPAA Rating: PG
Astro Boy | IT'S ELECTRIC Astro Boy sparked the anime trend
Image credit: Summit Entertainment
IT'S ELECTRIC Astro Boy sparked the anime trend
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Oct 23, 2009; Rated: PG; Length: 95 Minutes; Genres: Action/Adventure, Animation; With: Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage and Freddie Highmore; Distributor: Summit Entertainment

In an origin story that's like Pinocchio meets Frankenstein, Dr. Tenma (voiced by Nicolas Cage), a robotics professor, loses his son, Toby, in a freak energy accident and builds a new kid from scratch: a robot boy with rocket flames that shoot out of his feet and hair molded into a Dennis the Menace cowlick. Astro, as he comes to be known, doesn't just look like Toby; he has the exact same personality (they're both voiced by Freddie Highmore). You could chalk this up to the miracle 
 of robotics — or, perhaps, to the thinness of characterization that marks this jet-propelled update of the Japanese cartoon series, which in 1963 was an early milestone of anime.

If you're pining for the richness of a Pixar film, or even for the crackerjack comedy of, say, Kung Fu Panda, look elsewhere. Yet the new Astro Boy is a marvelously designed piece of cartoon kinetics, with the pleasing soft colors and rounded-metal tactility of an atomic- age daydream. Astro gets kicked off Metro City, a spaceship that hovers above Earth, and he lands in a scrap heap of robots and meets some wild-child friends. There's a little too much lost-boys-and-girls mopiness, but when Astro becomes a robot gladiator, the movie turns happy demolition derby, and the virtuoso collisions just keep on coming. B

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Originally posted Oct 21, 2009 Published in issue #1073 Oct 30, 2009 Order article reprints