Astro Boy

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 9, 2015

Nic Cage, eh English version? I wonder what he needed that assistant for? This looks terrific, especially the main character. Design is always very  important. Other than that though, it’s faintly offensive. The three main male adults are criminally fickle and emotionally inadequate/abusive (Dad), criminally manipulative and deceptive (Lane), and criminally psychopathic (Sutherland). I guess that helps us root for the protagonist, but that moral landscape is still half hopeless and half stupid. Oh—there’s Bill Nighy as the emasculated owl from Bambi. (Do I remember the source as being similar? Same setup, probably, but leavened by quirkiness, digression and direct address.) There are no women here to speak of, but that teenage girl has an exclusively eye-rolling approach to life. This bugs me for its own sake, but also because our own eye-rolling teenagers don’t need, or don’t benefit from having this kind of thing modeled for them.

All that said, if the dramatic execution lacks, then the resonances—environmental, technological, class/economical—are still kind of considerable. Pinocchio/A.I. Actually, given Monsters vs. Aliens and all, you might as well add gender in there. I don’t like it, but still feel to give it some credit. You might feel altogether differently.