Astroboy the Movie
Writer: Osamu Tezuka (comic), Timothy Harris David Bower (Screenplay)
Director: David Bower
Voice actors: Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Kristen Bell, Donald Sutherland, Samuel L. Jackson, Charlize Theron
Taken from the original Japanese comic of Osamu Tezuka, the US version of Astroboy sets the most sophisticated city of technology, called ‘Metro City’. The film brings us to the image when life run by robots.
In Metro City lives Toby (Freddie Highmore), an excellent boy with fantastic intelligence. His father, Prof. Tenma (Nicholas Cage), is well-known professor and the Minister of Science. Toby comes to his father’s office when he is going to release a robot with the powerful blue core, in order to help the president re-elected. With Prof. Elfun (Bill Nighy), Prof. Tenma put the blue core into the heart of a robot. But for the president’s ego, the opposite element of the blue core, the red core, is inserted to the robot, making it as a fighter. There, Toby is trapped with the fighter robot who comes out uncontrollable and fights back to the president and the scientists.
In one attack, Toby disappears forever. Prof. Tenma cannot save him. For his grief, he’s gone crazy re-making his beloved son to be alive again. He makes a new robot which looks like Toby and exported the memory of Toby to the robot, so the robot looks just like the old Toby. But the real old Toby cannot thoroughly come back to Tenma’s life.
Although the new Toby doesn’t know that he is a robot at first, he treats the robots like his friends---unlike other human beings do. When Toby finds out that he has superpower, Tenma rejects him. Dr. Elfun encourages him that there would be a place for his uniqueness. In Toby’s nomad, he is chased by the president’s robot soldiers as he finds out the blue core is inside Toby.
Toby is succeeded to escape but he falls to the world called the surface. There he meets a ‘trashcan’---a robot in the form of trashcan---and other orphans (human beings). Through those children, he was taken to Hamegg, an abandoned scientist from Metro City who takes care of those children. For Hamegg, the children salvage old robots. By the power of Toby’s blue core, he reactivates the life of an old robot who before has killed Toby (the human) and names it Zog.
But everything turns out that Hamegg is an imposter. He doesn’t love robots like he said, instead he used the robot to hold a gladiator event, battle the robots till death. For human, the robot has no heart and has no worth. He finds out that Astro (new name of Toby) is a robot and wants him to fight Zog, the robot that comes from Astro’s life. When the show is over, Astro is taken back to the Metro City by the President’s order.
Tenma changes his mind about deactivating Toby and gets the blue core out. Later, the president is controlled by the evil robot of red core and ruins the city. It was the time that Astro realizes about why he is created for: To save the world.
My review: It’s a great adaption 3d animation film from 2d animation tv show. The orientation plot shows the changes very well, like playing a little of 2d animations as its past.
I love this story by the way, though I wasn’t really interested to watch the movie. It’s telling a quite simple thing on how we should treat our obsession and others, no matter human being or not. But the most important thing I learn that the film tries to share one major point about the changing of our humanity, in the world of technology that lead out practical things, and the forever bond of a family. We can see it through the relationship between Tenma and Toby (a.k.a Astro), where sometimes a soul is not the only the connector, but also memory---something we’d never considered before.
But I regret this story tells something that is in common with Transformers about the difference of robot and human being---that human is harsh and full of violence, rather than the robot they enslave.
The animation in 3d went out well. The image of the originality of 2d Astroboy is still there. Not to forget, the lesson of the story, there’s always a place for everyone’s uniquesness and kindness will be kindness in return.
Best moments: When Astro re-activates ZOG, the robot which killed him in the past live though he doesn’t know who it was.
When Zog and Astro are forced to fight each other by Hamegg, they both refuse. Then ZOG tries to step on Hamegg, but Astro saves Hamegg’s life, making him wonder of what kind of robot Astro is.