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.
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