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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Astro Boy’ a stellar adventure for young


    Bringing foreign movies to American audiences can be tricky. They often avoid anything with subtitles, and dubbing the original film can alienate movie lovers. The filmmakers behind the new “”Astro Boy”” movie sidestep these problems by retelling Astro’s origin story with a 21st century American sensibility, and create a movie that will satisfy children, if not an older audience.

    Toby (Freddie Highmore) is the genius son of Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage), lead military scientist for Metro City’s President Stone (Donald Sutherland). Thanks to Stone’s rash actions, an experiment with a military robot using a new energy source goes awry and Toby is killed.

    Obsessed with the loss of his son, Tenma brings him back to life in the form of an experimental robot downloaded with Toby’s memories. He rejects him once he realizes that the robot can be nothing more than a copy of his son. Astro Boy then tries to find his place in the world.

    Like the original comic books by Tezuka Osamu, “”Astro Boy”” broaches weighty topics such as discrimination, environmental damage, humanness, gaps in wealth, politics and slavery. The movie blends these together somewhat successfully to convey a message of compassion and understanding.

    In retelling Astro’s origin, director David Bowers manages to capture some of the original comic book’s manic, adventurous spirit and visual style. The movie’s animation style is similar to the recent “”Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”” — realistic environments with smooth, exaggerated character designs.

    Many in the star-studded cast work well with the given material — Kristen Bell and Nathan Lane stand out — but the weak dialogue and odd characterizations in Bowers and co-writer Timothy Harris’ script hamper much of the fun.

    On the other hand, children, especially younger nieces, nephews and cousins, will be too dazzled by the fast-paced action sequences, visual gags and old-fashioned comedy routines to notice. There are also some Easter eggs for attentive adults.

    “”Astro Boy”” translates as a great excuse to introduce, or reintroduce, children and friends to Tezuka Osamu’s wonderful world.

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