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Updating 'Astro Boy'
How a new version of the 1960s Japanese cartoon translates to the big screen
 

Hong Kong-based Imagi Studio's Astro Boy "merges the best of western and eastern animation styles," said Des Partridge in Australia's The Courier Mail. Based on the popular 1960s Japanese television show about a grieving scientist who builds a robot child to replace his deceased son, Astro Boy (watch the trailer) is a "frequently moving epic adventure" that "should satisfy both adults and children."

The CG animation in Astro Boy is "stunning," said Tim Grierson in ScreenDaily.com, and it "creates an exciting, high-tech environment for the film's flashy robot battles." But the movie feels like it's "been assembled from spare parts," and although the filmmakers try to make us "sympathize with Astro's predicament of being both man and machine," the story "underwhelms."

It's too bad, said Roger Moore in The Orlando Sentinel, because "lovely dollops of wit and warmth float through" Astro Boy. But nothing can save this "thinly-plotted cartoon from sagging," and the "look, themes and slam-bang Transformers violence" of the original Japanese series make this updated version feel "every bit as dated as Speed Racer."

Also opening this week: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant; Amelia, Antichrist

 

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