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Astro Boy
Astro boy ver7.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Bowers
Produced by
  • Maryann Garger
  • Kuzuka Yayoki
Written by
  • Timothy Hyde Harris
  • David Bowers
Story by David Bowers
Starring
Music by John Ottman
Cinematography Pepe Valencia
Editing by Robert Anich
Studio
  • Imagi Animation Studios
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date(s) October 8, 2009 (2009-10-08) (Hong Kong)
October 10, 2009 (2009-10-10) (Japan)
October 23, 2009 (2009-10-23) (United States)
Running time 94 minutes
Country
  • United States
  • Hong Kong
Language English
Budget US$65 million
Money made US$42 million

Astro Boy is a 2009 computer-animated superhero film loosely based on the manga series of the same name by the Japanese writer and illustrator Osamu Tezuka. Produced by the Hong Kong-based company Imagi Animation Studios, it was directed by David Bowers, who co-wrote the screenplay with Timothy Hyde Harris. The film stars Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Matt Lucas, Eugene Levy, Nathan Lane, Samuel L. Jackson, Charlize Theron, and Donald Sutherland.

The film was first released in Hong Kong on October 8, 2009, and in the United States on October 23, 2009. It received generally mixed reviews from film critics and was a box office bomb, earning US$42 million worldwide against its US$65 million budget. As a result of the film's financial failure, Imagi shut down on February 5, 2010, and Astro Boy became the last film produced by the studio.

Plot

Toby Tenma is a teenager who lives in the futuristic city-state of Metro City, which floats above the polluted surface on Earth. His father, Dr. Tenma, works at the Ministry of Science, alongside Dr. Elefun. They create the Peacekeeper, an advanced defensive robot that is powered using the Blue and Red cores, two powerful energy cores that emit respective opposing positive and negative energy, discovered by Dr. Elefun. The two scientists brief the President of Metro City, Stone, who is running for re-election. Against the scientists' warnings, Stone loads the negative Red Core into the Peacekeeper, causing it to become highly aggressive.. Toby is accidentally killed by the Peacemaker, as it attempts to violently leave the research facility, before it is put down by Dr. Elefun.

A distraught-driven Tenma creates an android replica of Toby programed with all his human self's memories, but also makes his body with built-in defences to protect him. Powered by the Blue Core, the robot activates and believes himself to be Toby, but although he has his human self's mind and a similar personality, Tenma realizes he could never replace the son he lost. Toby discovers his robot capabilities including the ability to understand non-talking robots and rocket-powered flight. Stone has his forces pursue Toby, but the chase leads to him falling off the city's edge when Stone's flagship blasts him with missiles. Meanwhile, Tenma escapes arrest by agreeing to disable Toby and give up the blue core.

Toby awakens in an enormous junkyard, created from the redundant robots of Metro City it dumped there. He meets a group of orphaned children, Zane, Sludge and Widget, and Cora, accompanied by a dog-like robot named Trashcan. Toby also meets the members of the Robot Revolutionary Front (RRF), Sparx, Robotsky, and Mike the Fridge, who plan to free robots from mankind's control, but are very inept and bound by the Laws of Robotics. While attempting to recruit him for their cause, they renamed Toby "Astro". Hamegg, the caretaker of the orphans, takes Astro in. The next day, Astro comes across an old, offline construction robot named Zog, whom he reactivates through sharing some of the Blue Core's energy. Hamegg scans Astro, showing that is actually a robot, paralyzes him with his electrical blaster to use Astro in the fighting ring.

Astro reluctantly defeats Hamegg's fighters until Zog gets deployed. Astro and Zog refuse to fight and Hamegg attempts to disable both of them, but Zog, who predates the Laws of Robotics, fights back. Zog nearly kills Hamegg but gets saved by Astro, shocking the crowd. Moments later, Stone's forces arrive to take Astro back to Metro City, and he willingly surrenders himself. Astro reunites with Tenma and Elefun and allows them to disable him. Realizing even though Astro is not Toby, he is still his son, Dr. Tenma defies Stone, reactivates Astro, and lets him escape. Furious, Stone reloads the Red Core into the Peacekeeper to send it after Astro, only for it to absorb and merge with him. The Peacekeeper absorbs weapons and buildings, becoming bigger and stronger, and attacks Metro City, prompting Astro to battle it. Metro City's power station gets destroyed during the fight, causes the city to fall, and Astro uses his superhuman strength to help it land safely.

The Peacekeeper tries absorbing Astro to get his Blue Core using the Red Core, but the cores' connection causes a violent reaction and separates them. Dr. Tenma tells Astro that the two cores united can destroy themselves. The Peacekeeper captures Astro's friends from the junkyard, and he flies into the Red Core, sacrificing himself to destroy it, while Stone survives from its destruction and gets arrested for his actions. As Elefun and the children find Astro's body, Zog reactivates Astro by sharing back the Blue Core energy that reactivated him, and Astro reunites with all his friends and his father. The city is later attacked by a monstrous cycloptic extraterrestrial, but Astro punches it as he leaps into action.

Cast

  • Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy and Toby Tenma, Astro is a robot duplicate of Toby, Dr. Tenma's son.
  • Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma, Toby's father, Astro's creator, and the head of the Ministry of Science of Metro City.
  • Kristen Bell as Cora, a teenage girl who lives on the surface and befriends Astro.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Zog, a 100-year-old construction robot brought back to life by Astro's blue-core energy.
  • Matt Lucas as Sparx, the leader of the Robot Revolutionary Front.
  • Eugene Levy as Orrin, Tenma's cowardly robot household servant.
  • Bill Nighy as Dr. Elefun, Dr. Tenma's best friend & associate; and as Robotsky, the muscle of the Robot Revolutionary Front.
  • Donald Sutherland as President Stone, the ruthless, ambitious, and corrupt President of Metro City who is running for re-election.
  • Nathan Lane as Hamegg, a surface-dweller who repairs machines and then uses them in his fighting tournament.
  • Charlize Theron as the "Our Friends" narrator, the voice used for educational video seen at the film's beginning.
  • David Bowers as Mike the Fridge, a talking refrigerator and third member of the Robot Revolutionary Front.
  • Moisés Arias as Zane, a surface-dwelling child.
  • Alan Tudyk as Mr. Squeegee, a cleaning robot that Astro encounters.
  • David Alan Grier as Mr. Squirt, a cleaning robot that Astro encounters.
  • Madeline Carroll as Widget, Sludge's twin.
  • Sterling Beaumon as Sludge, Widget's twin.
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Trashcan, a dog-like robot that eats the rubbish.
  • Elle Fanning as Grace, a girl from Hamegg's house who kicks President Stone's leg.
  • Ryan Stiles as Mr. Mustachio, Toby's teacher.
  • Newell Alexander as General Heckler, President Stone's second-in-command.
  • Victor Bonavida as Sam, a teenage boy from Hamegg's house.
  • Tony Matthews as Cora's dad.
  • Bob Logan as Stinger One, President Stone's pilot henchman who leads a group of aircraft with suction tubes and is dispatched to capture Astro.
  • Ryan Ochoa as Rick, another teenage boy from Hamegg's house.
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