A popular manga in Japan since 1952, and a cult TV show in the US since the early 1980s, Astro Boy makes a bid for worldwide domination in this flashy but flatly realised animation from director David Flushed Away Bowers.
Freddie Highmore provides the voice of Astro Boy, a robot child cloned by Dr Tenma (Nicolas Cage) from the DNA of his son, who was killed in an explosion caused by Metro City’s power mad politician President Stone (Donald Sutherland). Rejected by his father, the space age Pinocchio learns to fly on jet-powered legs, but a knockout blow landed by one of Stone’s guards banishes Astro Boy to the robot graveyard that surrounds the city.
With Kirsten Bell, Charlize Theron, Samuel L Jackson, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy and Nathan Lane also contributing, there’s clearly been no expense spared here, but Astro’s instigation of a robot revolution and the po-faced environmental themes invite unfavourable comparison’s with Pixar’s WALL-E. Despite some decent animation and the valiant efforts of an overqualified cast, Astro Boy’s first big-screen adventure is also likely to be his last.
General release from Fri 5 Feb.