I won't lie when I say that I have almost no knowledge about "Astro Boy". I do know that it was based on a Japanese manga and even inspired a popular anime, but apart from that, I did not know the source material whatsoever. Going into the computer-animated movie also called "Astro Boy", I had no idea what to expect. Leaving it though, I felt unimpressed. This was one of the most uninspired animated movies I have seen in quite some time and it just left me bored and empty. This was as basic an animated movie you can make and just felt like textbook standards.
When a young boy named Tobi (Freddie Highmore) is accidentally killed by a scientific accident, his father Dr. Tenma (Nicholas Cage) decides to build a robot decoy of his son in hopes that he can get back his son. He also enlists his partner Dr. Elefun (Bill Nighy) to use a special powerful blue core to help bring him to life. However, the robot seems different from his real-life son as it also has self-protection powers and rocket boosters which prompts Tenma to eventually disown him. This comes as a blow to Tobi who decides to leave the doctor behind only to fall far from the sky-high Metro City where he lives to the surface below. There he comes across a group of kids including a young girl named Cora (Kristen Bell) who believes he's a young boy and seems to grow to like him. On the surface, Tobi adopts the name Astro and begins to befriend the other kids there including a robot builder named Hamegg (Nathan Lane) and begins to take a liking to his new life. Though his troubles aren't over as the evil president of Metro City, President Stone (Donald Sutherland), wants the blue core inside Astro back in his hands so he can be reelected president of Metro City. What will become of our hero? Well, I guess you can figure out from there.
This film was made by Imagi Studios, who also provided the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film from 2007 titled "TMNT". It also ended up being the studio's last film as they closed almost five months after this film was released. I can say that if they were expecting this movie to save their company, they were wrong because it's just simply boring. I was amazed at how unimpressive this story was. It seemed to go through every twist and turn you can imagine leaving for a pretty unforgettable experience. There wasn't any surprise to be found it the film and I just kept expecting every scene to just end since I knew what was coming which led to the film feeling a lot slower than it should've been. As far as the animation goes, it's really bad. This animation feels like plastic with every single character looking like a toy meant to be played with rather than a living breathing character. Also, the environments they created were very unimpressive and visually bland. Though I think the effects animation was what failed about this film the most. It simply looked awful since it felt unrealistic and unnatural. Whenever an explosion or dust effect happened on screen, I just cringed. It needed to be polished up more. Then we have the characters who are also extremely dull. Astro is a boring protagonist as his only personality trait is his nice attitude, Cora is also very bland as she seems to be a tough girl who has a soft heart. There were these annoying comic relief robots on the surface who were trying to overthrow President Stone and they just annoyed me right from the first second they were on screen. Though the worst character of all was easily President Stone. Talk about a standard villain. His only motivation is just to keep his office and wants to stop anyone from getting in his path. He says the line "I have an election to win!" several times. You can't get much more stale of a villain than that. Also, there's another thing I want to talk about, and that's the voice cast. If there's an example of miscasting actors in animated movies, it's here. Except for Bill Nighy and Donald Sutherland, everyone is miscast. Freddie Highmore is too old to be playing a young boy and his voice shows that he was going through puberty at the time. Kristen Bell also didn't work as a tough girl with a soft heart, especially compared to her future role as Princess Anna in "Frozen" which matched her voice perfectly. Yet the badly miscast one was easily Nicholas Cage. This was the absolute wrong voice for this character. He stood out like a sore thumb and was also very bland and unemotional. It made me had no sympathy for this character. Also, I don't get why they hired Charlize Theron and Samual L. Jackson even though they had less than ten lines of dialogue. That was a waste of talent.
And a waste of talent can perfectly sum up "Astor Boy" in a nutshell. This was such a bland movie with a story unimpressive from the surface, animation that was just plain bad, and boring characters with bad voiceovers. I can't say much about this movie except to just avoid it. I think the only thing that was memorable and got a laugh from me was that the film tried to set up a sequel. A sequel that will never happen. Not much else to say but this film tried to go out with a bang and instead ended with a thud.