Astro Boy (2009)

Astroboy (2009)ASTRO BOY – the brainchild of respected artist and animator Osamu Tezuka – first appeared in Japanese manga (comic books) way back in 1951. Later, he found his way onto the television screens of at least forty different countries, in both black & white and color incarnations. It was these cartoons that helped lead the way for what would become world famous as “anime.”
Now, in 2009, the franchise has finally been brought to the big screen. And woe to the uncreative, unclever version that’s finally surfaced. It wasn’t ASTRO BOY’S childish (or even child-like, if you prefer), simple-minded, one-dimensional views on politics, social structures, and religion that betrayed the filmmakers’ insipid mentality as much as it was simply the bad, formulaic script and its painfully clichéd characters. I wanted my damn money back and, more importantly, my precious, limited time!
Look, I’ve always been a huge animation fan, but unless you’re about five years old avoid this mess as if it were H1N1. Watch anything done by Japan’s famed Hayao Miyazaki instead.
The infamous fictional French archaeologist Dr. Rene Belloq once said of Marion Ravenwood in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, “If she fails to please me, I shall waste no more time with her.” Brother, are his words ringing in my head now! So with that practical thought in mind, I’m done here.
ASTRO BOY (Imagi Animation Studios, Tezuka Production Company, Ltd., and Summit Entertainment, 2009; 94 min.) Directed by David Bowers. Screenplay by Timothy Harris. Based on Osamu Tezuka’s comic book series. Produced by Pilar Flynn, Maryann Garger, and Mark Tarbox. Executive produced by Francis Koa, Cecil Kramer, Ken Tsumura, Paul Wang, and Yoshihiro Shimizu. Cinematography by Pepe Valencia. Art Direction by Jake Rowell. Animation supervision by Jakob Hjort Jensen. Visual effects supervised by Yan Chen. Edited By Robert Anich Cole. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Freddie Highmore, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Eugene Levy, Nathan Lane, Madeline Carroll, Sterling Beaumon, Moises Arias, Ryan Stiles, Matt Lucas, Victor Bonavida, Tony Matthews, and Samuel L. Jackson.

News: Astro-Boy flies to Summit

Astro-BoyVariety reports that ASTRO-BOY, the upcoming big-screen version of the famous franchise character, will be distributed by Summit Entertainment instead of previously announced Warner Brothers. Summit will handle all territories except for Japan, Hong Kong, and China.
The computer-generated movie, based on the character created by Osamu Tezuka, was scripted by Timothy Harris for director David Bowers. Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy, and Eugene Levy provide voices, with Freddie Highmore taking the title role – a robot created by a scientist in the image of his son, who died in a lab accident.
This is the second CG movie from Hong Kong’s Imagi Studios, which previously produced TMNT.

Astro Boy takes flight

astroboy.jpgHollywood Reporter has an interview with Danish-born animator Jakob Jensen, who is working on the computer-animated big-screen version of the classic anime series ASTRO BOY. The film is being produced at Hon Kong’s Imagi Animation Studio, which previously did TMNT and also has GATCHAMAN in production. ASTRO BOY is scheduled for a 2009 release.
Jensen sings the praises of Hong Kong animators when it comes to action and fight choreography, but he thinks he helped them learn the value of character animation that focuses on giving the equivalent of an “acting” performance. Although unfamiliar with the subject before being approached to work on the film, he was attracted to the story of a father who creates a robot in the image of his dead son:

“I was intrigued with the possibility of the project. I’m in the process of educating myself about the ‘Astro Boy’ universe, and I love what I see. ‘Astro Boy’ utilizes very classical story principles of the hero’s journey that we see in all good storytelling around the world, Jensen said. “Astro Boy has the moral underpinning and strong emotional resonance that a lot of animation today is lacking.”

Gatchaman and AstroBoy flying to the big screen

Dark Horizon’s Garth Franklin reports that Warner Brothers and the Weinstein company have settled on terms to distribute GATCHAMAN and ASTROBOY, feature films produced by Imagi Animation Studios, the company behind TMNT.
ASTROBOY is the seminal Japanese anime television series. Created by Japan’s legendary Osamu Tezuka, it became a syndicated hit on American screens in the ’60s. The story involves a scientist who creates a robot to replace the son he lost. Colin Brady (TOY STORY 2) directs the feature film version, which is schedled for a 2009 release.
GATCHAMAN is of more recent vintage (the 1970s). It’s about five heros whose DNA enables them to defend the Earth from aliens. TMNT’s Kevin Munroe directs the film adaptation.