Friday, October 30

Movie Review - Astro Boy SPOILER ALERT

On the surface, Astro Boy is Wall-E without the subtlety.

The city of Seattle (veiled? I don't think so.) is elevated and suspended above the air pollution of the earth below. The result is a two-tiered society of city dwellers served by robots, and surface dwellers living in the garbage dump of the city above them.

Scientists, funded by the military, develop an endless supply of energy harvested from a far off star. It must be stored in two separate conditions: blue energy which restores the environment, brings peace and prosperity, and makes all things new again, and red energy which is military and kills people. The incumbent President running for re-election in this movie loves him some red energy.

I could go on and mention that the President doesn't want a dirty hippie sitting in his oval office (that line is actually in this movie, really) but there is a much more pernicious theme in this film. For all its 'gag me with a pro-Democratic agenda' political correctness, this movie teaches kids that under no circumstances can they trust that the love of a parent will be consistent and unconditional. Dad (Nicholas Cage) made him indestructible and put a blue energy heart in his mechanical body, and then decides the robot can't fill the void left by his dead son, so kicksthe robot-with-the-soul-of-the-boy out of the house so he can work out his own emotional loss. Astroboy's search for someone who will provide him with consistent unconditional love? Well, it kind of happens at the end but then again, he's a frikken robot with the power (and urgent sequel-predicting opportunity) to save the world, so who needs a Dad? And as in many children's movies, especially Disney products but also John Hughes movies, moms are almost completely absent or invisible. Astroboy's surface-dweller gang of friends are parentless, too, except for a robot repairman voiced by Nathan Lane, who we think is going to be the substitute father, but in the end is crazy, abandoning, and destructive.

Sorry to sugarcoat it, but Astroboy is a noisy, non-educational and emotionally damaging piece of crap, and I'm sorry I took my kids to see it.


  1. Just watch the old animated TV series. It's awful, but in an almost good way.

    And no Nic Cage. That's reason enough to watch almost anything.

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  3. Sadly "noisy, noneducational" almost define what works for the Peeper at the moment.

    And he loves his mom so much it hurts. Me? Not so much. But then, he knows I'd kick him out of the house if machineguns emerged from his butt.

  4. StonyPillow8:08 AM

    Thanks for the heads up. I was going to take my niece and nephew to see it this afternoon. I guess it'll be "Where the Wild Things Are" against my better judgment. I wish "Sandinista Dora" was playing.

  5. So I take that as a no to "Astroboy"...

  6. Anonymous10:49 AM

    I totally disagree with your review. I've seen the movie twice, once with my kids and over the weekend with my kids and my friend and her family, and we all loved it. The kids couldn't stop talking about it. It's far more entertaining than "Wild Things", which was a dreary bore in my opinion. My kids were bored too. But "Astro Boy" is much brighter and more fun, for all its dark elements. If those dark elements bother you and your kids, better keep them away from classics like "Oliver Twist" then. The movie addresses issues of identity and abandonment, and it doesn't sugarcoat them, but the central character emerges as stronger and more sympathetic as a result. Astro himself is a very lovable character who overcomes tremendous obstacles by being goodhearted and heroic - what's wrong with that? I will agree with you, however, on the political claptrap in the film; that was VERY unnecessary and not funny, and it's a shame it's in there. But it still couldn't damage my overall enjoyment of the film. I'm getting it for the kids - and myself - when it comes out on DVD.

  7. thanks! your last sentence sealed the deal for me, we will not be seeing Astro Boy tomorrow.

  8. astro boy is a multi featured movie full of action, comedy, adventure and animation. Movie is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. I had
    watch astro boy
    movie last week, yup ! 1st day of its release, and that too online.


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