Astro Boy (also known as Astro Boy: The Movie via marketing and some of its merchandise) is a 2009 Japanese-American CGI superhero film loosely based on the manga series of the same name by the late Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka. It was produced by Imagi Animation Studios, and was the company's last film produced prior to shutting down on February 5, 2010. The film was first released in Hong Kong on October 8, 2009, and in the United States on October 23, 2009. It received mixed reviews from critics and bombed at the box office, earning $42 million worldwide against a $65 million budget.
In futuristic Metro City, a brilliant scientist named Tenma builds Astro Boy, a robotic child with superstrength, X-ray vision and the ability to fly. Astro Boy sets out to explore the world and find acceptance, learning what being human is all about in the process. Finding that his friends and family in Metro City are in danger, he uses his incredible powers to save all that he loves.
- The main problem with this film is that it is incredibly unfaithful to the source material.
- While Astro Boy retains his trademark design, his energy core design is wrong: he doesn't have a metallic heart core unlike in the original source material. He instead has a glowing blue core that are just nothing but a blue core and that's it.
- Tobio doesn't die in a car crash, unlike the original (unless the 2003 anime is counted), but instead gets vaporized by Peacekeeper.
- Unlike the original, this film is set in the 22nd century rather than circa 2000, although this is understandable due to adapting it for modern times, since a futuristic movie taking place in the 2000s would not make sense nowadays. (unless the 2004 short is counted)
- In the original, Astro Boy is 6 years old, but in this film, he is 14 years old.
- The toilet humor quote, "What? I got machine guns... in my butt?"
- The film adds a bunch of characters that never appeared in the original manga series, such as President Stone, Orrin, Cora, Trashcan, and Peacekeeper.
- President Stone is very idiotic, rash, reckless, bully and overall a very unlikeable villain.
- Some of the characters, like Uran and Cobalt from the original, are absent.
- The RRF are pointless comic relief that have nothing to do with the plot.
- The film ends on a cliched sequel bait ending, which is never resolved.
- Some of the character designs feel rather out of place for the Astro Boy universe and do not blend well with the designs of characters like Tobio and his father who have their original anime designs still intact in the film, mainly with the outsiders who look more realistic when compared to Tobio and can look rather uncanny at times too.
- This did end up being Imagi's final film before the company closed down in 2010.
- Decent voice acting, thanks to actors such as Freddie Highmore, Bill Nighy, Nicolas Cage and some celebrity voice cameos including Charlize Theron and Samuel L. Jackson.
- Great soundtrack, composed by John Ottman.
- As stated before, Astro Boy's design remains faithful to how it appeared originally.
- While the humor tends to be weak, there are still a few funny moments.
- Some of the characters can be at least somewhat tolerable. One of the new characters, Cora, is a very nice character.
- The CGI animation looks pretty good, especially since it was made by Imagi Studios, the same company who made the animation in 2007's TMNT.
- Dr. Tenma's portrayal in the movie was great as instead of being a plain-evil villain in its original source material, he is a caring father who's attempting to deal with his struggles and grief from his son.
- The concept of Astro-Boy's beginning is a good idea, apart being failed miserably.
- "I'm old school."
The film received mixed (almost positive) reviews from film critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 50% of 136 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.6 out of 10. The movie also has an equal audience score of 50%. The site's general consensus reads. "While it isn't terribly original, and it seems to have a political agenda that may rankle some viewers, Astro Boy boasts enough visual thrills to please its target demographic." Meanwhile on Metacritic, it has a score of 53 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".
- This film was originally going to be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment as a live-action film, but it was made into a CGI-animated film distributed by Summit Entertainment and Imagi Studios instead.
- Originally, a sequel to the film was planned, but it was scrapped after Imagi Studios was shut down.
- This page was briefly featured as a Google search result on the PatMac video "Fascinating Cases of Lost Media - Cartoons, Movies, Video Games, & More!", uploaded on August 14, 2021.