Monday, November 30, 2009
Review: Astro Boy Movie
Saw this film yesterday with the kids at a local "dollar cinema." Of course a dollar cinema doesn't cost a dollar anymore, but this one is reasonably priced and pretty clean, and five minutes from our house.
As for the movie itself, the kids liked it. My seven year old son was particularly entertained and enjoyed all the action sequences. My ten year old daughter, who has read some of the Astro Boy manga in translation, thought it was fine, but wondered why they made so many changes to the storyline of the manga.
Ah, the ageless question of why adaptations make the changes that they do to stories that we love. Although I can't say that I cared a lot about Astro Boy one way or the other coming in.
The film's narrative is very simplistic. The villains are foolishly and almost pointlessly villainous, the comic relief is slapstick, and the whole question of how humans should interact with intelligent beings that they have essentially enslaved is sort of waved at in passing. There's probably more action than necessary. You won't get any insights into human dependency upon technology or the emotions of robots as you do in Wall-E. As far as the animation, it's fine but not breathtaking in any way; the characters are cartoonishly exaggerated but without much subtlety of expression, kind of like a big screen Jimmy Neutron film with less humor.
All in all, not a film I'd recommend seeing or renting unless you have younger kids interested in it. Then it's not bad to sit through as far as such things go. The enthusiasm of children can compensate for a lot of visual and narrative shortcomings.