Yes, there is a huge list of utter bombs. Dragon Ball Evolution, Speed Racer, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Again, NOT making a good case here. But read me out!
Released in 2009, Astro Boy is the adaptation from the works of the same name from The God of Manga and the Godfather of Anime, Osamu Tezuka. The storied manga, known as Mighty Atom in Japan, lasted from 1952-1968. The series was such a smash hit, that once Tezuka met Walt Disney, and Disney himself said he wished he could create something just like Astro Boy. Astro Boy has enjoyed huge success as a manga and spilled over into other media such as movies and video games. But for the purpose of this blog, which I haven't done in a while, I want to shed light to something that isn't necessarily popular or things that many people just plain don't know about. And this time, it's 2009's American adaptation of Astro Boy.
The movie starts with genius robot expert/scientist Dr. Tenma working on a new weapon, but tragedy strikes as his son Toby is accidentally killed by his own creation. Distraught, Tenma creates a robot replica of his son to take his place.
Overcome by grief the Dr is cold to this creation, who has the memories of Toby programmed into him, so Astro actually believes he is the actual Toby until he discovers the truth. Once Astro finds out he's a robot, the Dr. rejects him and Astro runs away.
He runs into trouble and then is found by a group of misfit kids calling themselves the Robot Revolutionary Front. Through a series of events the President and the Dr. find Astro and convince to be shut down, since he represents a danger since the blue core that powers Astro is half of the core that killed Toby. Astro agrees to be shut down, but the Dr. has a change of heart only now feeling like Astro is truly his son, so he helps Astro escape.
A final battle ensues with Astro trying to stop a Peacekeeper robot than has run amok in it's attempt to recapture Astro, problem being that the Peacekeeper is fueled by the other half of the core, a red core, and once the blue and red cores come together, both Astro and the Peacekeeper would destroy one another.
Now, I know it's a somewhat vague description of the movie, but I just want to keep it as spoiler free as possible since chances are you haven't seen it. Unless you were in China when the movie debuted. At the time, Astro Boy was the highest grossing CG film of all-time in China. Unfortunately, it tanked in the US, and did even worse in it's homeland of Japan.
Which to be honest, is quite a shame. As I mentioned before, there was excellent voice acting in this movie, and looking again at the cast, it makes me wonder what contract they all had because WOW that is actually a very solid cast here! There's ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ACTORS in this film!!! The designs for the most part are quite good and there are scenes in this movie that are genuinely touching.
Yes, it has all those tropes that comes along with making an American adaptation to appeal to the American audience, like the butt jokes, the brooding, the misunderstanding that creates a rift between friends but they all get together in the end anyway, the Hollywood ending. Even the animation is very similar to Pixar visually, especially since the studio decided to go with CGI instead of 2D to be able to appeal more to the American mainstream audience.
If you don't over think it too much and look past the standard US cliches in animated movies, especially those adapted from another country, Astro Boy makes a great family night movie with great voice acting, good designs and animation, and some scenes that genuinely touches you and moves you, so if you have a chance, give it a try. That is, if you didn't click away before giving this blog a chance. And if you did, your loss! Anywho, thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend!