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Movie Review: Astro Boy

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For a movie about robots, Astro Boy is surprisingly wooden. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have heart.

Based on the work of Japanese comic book artist and animator Osamu Tezuka, this CGI version of what’s widely regarded as the first anime is largely faithful to the beloved character. First published in 1952 and animated in 1963, the future-set Astro Boy is the story of Dr. Tenma (voiced by Nicolas Cage), top scientist at the Ministry of Science whose son Toby (Freddie Highmore) dies in a tragic accident. Fueled by grief, Tenma builds a super-powered robot likeness of his son into which Toby’s memories are implanted. Though the robot Astro has all of his son’s curiosity, intelligence and warmth, Dr. Tenma realizes his son can’t be replaced and he cruelly casts him out of the Ministry of Science, creating in Astro a Pinocchio complex where all he wants is to be thought of as a real boy.