Movie Review: 'Astro Boy'

In a state of madness after the death of his only son, robotics genius Dr. Tenma creates Astro Boy. Astro looks, sounds, and acts like young Toby Tenma, but of course he isn’t, so his “father” casts him off. The near-boy winds up in the underworld of the environmentally destroyed planet and becomes a star gladiator in “robot wars.” But an egomaniac politician covets the precious space mineral that powers Astro, and the result is filled with betrayal, sacrifice and a gloriously destructive robot battle.

The film touches on almost too many issues to count—poor parenting, grief, humanity, prejudice, the environment—and truly deals with none of them. Some may find that unsatisfying but I think it’s fine in entertainment for 8-year-olds, who are best left to process these things without the kind of easy conclusion available in a 90-minute animated flick. But I (fooled by Astro Boy’s big eyes and weirdly Betty-Boop-like appearance) brought my 3-year-old, who couldn’t brush off his fears for Toby/Astro in a world where trusted adults continually betrayed him. For that reason, more than the enthusiastic fight scenes, I’d leave younger kids home.

KJ Dell'Antonia

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