A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids learn about inclusiveness through the orphans and their early acceptance of Astro Boy, as well as about mustering the courage to defend others through Astro Boy's actions.
Despite the fact that Dr. Tenma does something clearly unethical by creating a robot with his dead son's memories, the movie has several positive messages. Cora's ability to forgive Astro Boy for not revealing that he's a robot shows kids that it's his character -- not his "parts" -- that make him a good friend. And Astro Boy's decision to bravely put himself in danger because he's the only one who can fight the negative energy is an example of selflessly overcoming obstacles and accepting your own responsibility.
Positive Role Models
Although the hawkish Metro City General and his cronies are basically warmongerers, most of the role models are positive. Dr. Tenma redeems himself by saving Astro Boy, and Astro Boy himself acts bravely and selflessly to stop the negative-energy killer robot. Cora is also a positive role model, as she's not a damsel-in-distress type but rather a confident, capable girl.
Violence & Scariness
A lot of weapon-based explosions and disasters when the "negative energy" is unleashed. Several robots are destroyed throughout the movie, most of them a bit comically during their Coliseum-like battles to the "death." A child dies (off screen).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Astro Boy and Cora flirt mildly, but it's not more than a couple of looks and a hug.
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Characters occasionally say mildly insulting words like "idiot" and "stupid," and there are a couple of jokes about weapons growing out of Astro Boy's "butt" and the "sudden release" of a robot's "bodily fluids."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated robot superhero adventure based on the 1960s anime series Astro Boy is age-appropriate for elementary-schoolers. It has fairly sophisticated themes (grief, loss, and war), as well as plenty of cartoon action violence -- including the death of a child, the destruction of several robots, explosions, and robots armed with heavy artillery. But language is limited to mild insults like "idiot," and there's no product placement to worry about. A war-obsessed military man is presented as a humorously negative character; on the opposite end of the political spectrum is a trio of revolutionary robots who call each other "comrade" and have a poster of Lenin in their meeting place. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director David Bowers (Flushed Away) isn't revolutionary in his approach to animation, but he has a keen eye for action sequences. He also cleverly captures the comedy and tragedy of a robot who thinks he's a boy who realizes he's a superhero. Highmore has the perfectly sweet, emotive voice to play Astro Boy, and Cage sounds appropriately haunted as Dr. Tenma, who really just wants his son back. The scene-stealers are Sutherland and Lane, both of whom provide the movie's laughs by playing their characters as amusing and incredibly twisted egomaniacs.
Equal parts AI, Pinocchio, and WALL-E, Astro Boystrongly recalls each with its themes of a robot clone made for a grieving parent, an artificial boy wanting to become real, and the scary prospect of a future in which Earth becomes nearly uninhabitable and people must live somewhere else completely dependent on technology.But kids will be mostly unaware of these heavier themes,except for those who understand the obvious allusion to Pinocchio. Older viewers will get a kick out of the deceitful, hawkish General Stone, whose campaign slogans ("It's Not Time for Change") and outright desire for war are reminiscent of George C. Scott's General Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove. Astro Boy may not launch a thousand sequels, but its humor and boy-friendly superhero premise make for an entertaining diversion.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.