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Parent reviews for Astro Boy

Common Sense says

Action-packed adventure a fun bet for young superhero fans.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 30 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 30 reviews
Adult Written bymiss.sjv January 8, 2019

A childhood favourite of mine (warning: possible spoilers [and a very long review])

(note: I am not a parent of a child but I'm too old to be on the "kids" section of the reviews) ... It has been quite a few years since I had first seen this film, I was about 10 or 11. I had no knowledge of the original manga series prior to watching this, and I remember absolutely loving it (although my mum didn’t due to it not being the same as the 80s series she grew up on). Due to hearing this from her I decided to learn a little more about the original series by reading the manga and watching the TV shows. I’m 20 now, this movie was on television not too long ago and I decided since I had nothing better to do, and it was one of my childhood favourites, I’d rewatch it. This time with knowledge of the manga series. Due to my slight change of opinion on the film after a rewatch, and new information on the series, I was interested to see what other kids and parents thought of this movie. I decided I’d write a review for it too while I’m at it. A bit of a run-down of the beginning of the film, which many seem to be concerned about: Set in a futuristic world, Metro City is a place that floats above the earth’s surface and is a prosperous nation that is served hand-on-foot by advanced robots. The earth below (known as “the surface” in the film) is the stark contrast. It is polluted and destroyed, and serves as Metro City’s dumping ground for disregarded robots and machinery. The people still living on the surface do not have a life like those of Metro City who live more “upper class” than the rest. One man that is responsible for the advancement of robot technology is a man named Dr. Bill Tenma, the head of The Ministry of Science. He has one son named Toby, a cheeky, approximately 13 year old boy who has the same talent and passion as his father in the department of science and robotics. Due to Tenma’s work we find out quite early in the film that he spends very little time with his son and has to constantly cancel family time with Toby. On this particular day after Toby leaves school and is on his way home, Dr. Tenma has to cancel another one of his father-son days for a military weapon demonstration to the city’s president. Toby, is of course upset about another broken promise by his father, and begs Tenma to let him come and see the demonstration of the “Peacekeeper”, a powerful robot weapon requested by the president. Given strict orders by his father, Toby’s mischievous and smart self tampers with the Tenma’s robot-nanny who is driving the car, and reprograms him to drive to The Ministry of Science. We are then introduced to the main antagonist of the film, President Stone. A cocky, “violence solves everything” type of character who thinks starting wars will get him re-elected (#logic). Dr Tenma and the President are listening to a presentation on two types of new energy sources that can be inserted into robots, “positive blue core energy”, and “negative red core energy”, being an overly obvious representation of good and bad, which will alter the behaviour of whatever robot it is inserted into. The President orders to have these energy sources for the military demonstration. On the way to the demonstrations lab, Toby finds his father and President Stone. After being told off by Tenma for coming, the President allows Toby to view the demonstration, but quickly takes it back when Toby starts talking smart about a piece of Stone’s technology that he claimed was “outdated” (coz the guy has that fragile of an ego). He called his guards to lock Toby in a storage room until the demonstration was over. Toby escapes when he steals a guard’s ID card when he gets thrown in. Toby then finds the room where they are testing the Peacekeeper. Of course even with all the scientists telling the President to not use the red core in such a dangerous machine, this over grown child thinks it’s all just a game and who cares if this robot weapon is “unstable”…right? All of the scientists and the President are sitting in an open area which seems to be a control room, and Toby is much closer to the action (within the demonstration area, which nobody is aware of). The Peacekeeper with the unpredictable red core energy loses control and gets ready to attack the scientists, in which they quickly respond by closing off the area with a large glass-panel shield. The shield malfunctions when the Peacekeeper knocks into it locking it shut, and Toby is stuck in the testing ground. He bangs on the glass helplessly calling out for his father, while Tenma tries to comfort him saying that he promises to get Toby out. This unfortunately is Tenma’s final empty promise to Toby, for the Peacekeeper tries to evaporate the shield, the screen flashed in white, and Toby is gone (assumed killed). The Peacekeeper’s red core is destroyed by a scientist, and Tenma searches frantically for his son, only thing that remains of him though, is his red Ministry of Science hat. Tenma stricken by grief (and not thinking straight), creates a robot replica of his son, installing the memories of Toby within it with the DNA from hair found in the hat (#animelogic). The robot is created with advanced defence systems such as machine guns, arm cannons and rockets in his legs, to make sure he does not lose his son again. He uses the remaining blue core from the Peacekeeper demonstration to power his robot creation. He is so sure of himself that this robot is going to be a “perfect” replica of his son. Once activated Tenma attempts to set his new Toby in, not making him aware of the fact he’s a robot. Very quickly though, does Tenma realise this robot is not going to be exactly like his son, and is very quick to kick him out to the kerb. This robot boy will go on his adventures and eventually be known as the classic hero “Astro Boy”. Now when I was younger the movie made me laugh, feel sad, and be pumped for the action scenes. Although the humour doesn’t really do it for me anymore, I still love the fight scenes, and I still can’t help feel sad at the story. I think I was old enough to not take everything in this film to heart, hence why I didn’t get scared. I see a lot of parents in these reviews complaining about the target audience being really little kids, and I have to sadly, agree with the parents that the target audience does seem to be a bit wrong. The humour in this film… For very young kids. The fight scenes state otherwise. It’s too scary for young children and too cheesy for teenagers. It’s as if there was no set audience. I think it should have either be for pre-teen audience, or the adults/older kids that grew up on Astro Boy as kids, which leads me to my main disappointment: The thing that seriously disappoints me about this film is the fact is has almost no connection to the original manga series. It’s as if they changed the storyline to fit a (not so good) villain such as President Stone, who is a shallow character with a “start-a-war-to-get-me-re-elected-as-president” attitude (possible foreshadowing to a future election, maybe?). They tried so hard to make the film have a political element like previous versions of the series, but the character has no good reason for his actions, nor does the “motive” match the older series. Nothing good to take out of this guy, he served no real purpose, and the movie would have been better off using some villains from the 60s, 80’s or 00’s series such as Atlas (a robot that does not follow the Rules of Robotics and can hurt humans), Skunk and his gang (a bunch of mobsters/thieves who frequently control robots to do their dirty work), The Blue Knight (who’s an enemy to humans and a saviour of robots), Deadcross (one who's trying to rid the world of robots), and heck, could’ve gone with the 2003 series and made Dr. Tenma the main antagonist! (who was a much more interesting character if you ask me). That series made drastic changes to the plot, but it was done in a tasteful way. This film took some of the main plot points (and even changing them, like how Toby died which was originally a car accident), didn’t bother to keep to the same order as the manga, didn’t keep all the original characters and threw in some that don’t exist in any version of the series and don’t do the plot any justice... and voila, a try-hard to be different from the original series. The Tezuka magic, the creativity of the original Astro Boy was just not there in this. I think the great Osamu Tezuka would be rolling in his grave at how childish this plot was rewritten. The film also changes Astro’s main power supply. His heart and sense of justice does not come from the heart Tenma has built, but from a source of energy from an asteroid called the “Blue Core”. This gives a strange sense of god-likeness to Astro, being able to resurrect robots with his blue core energy, and them likewise being able to resurrect others. He is practically invincible, with unlimited power supply which takes away from any suspense created in the movie which is a darn shame. Astro in almost every series was an incredibly powerful robot, but did not have an unlimited supply to make him invincible. The parents that complain that the movie was too violent, I agree it shouldn’t be shown to very little kids (It was rated PG for a reason, I believe). Those who are surprised have clearly not seen the original manga or any remake of the TV series. The story of Astro Boy is almost 70 years old, violence is not a new thing to this story. Although Toby dies in a car accident rather than a military-weapon demonstration, the 60s version of the show I recall, actually shows Dr. Tenma holding his dead son when he finds him in wreckage. In no version of Astro boy though, is there any signs of blood and gore. Death was shown as characters laying motionless, and injuries were shown as scratches, bumps and band-aids. The original manga also shows a much more horrible side of Tenma, not only the neglectful side, but an abusive side, to his robot son when he realises Astro will never be like his Tobio (Toby’s original Japanese name). He then sells off Astro to a robot circus owner named Hamegg, who puts robots in gladiator games to fight to the death. The movie has this “Robot Games” scene, but Astro did not end up there due to his own father’s neglect. Robots and aliens get destroyed by fighting, that’s I guess the point of it being called action. The original story of Astro’s beginnings is much more dark and depressing. This is why I think it’s not a problem with the “violence” itself, it’s been toned down a great deal (too much if you ask me), but I probably wouldn’t be showing it to a five year old or under, like some parents apparently have. The movie set itself up for some great discussion points and themes that could have been educational, but they were replaced with cliches and bad jokes. It could have gone more in-depth about the environment, and protecting it. Equality, between robots and humans, which is one of the main themes in the original series (and of course can be applied to real life with equality in the human race). Could’ve had a villain with a political motive that actually made sense… That’s what’s missing in the film. The original manga, the TV series, no matter if you’re watching the 60s, 80s or 2000’s, at least gives you an insight on themes (some fairly grim) but get the audience, young and old thinking. Death, abuse, slavery, inequality, a fight between right and wrong, things that unfortunately exist in the world today. These are explored and flat out shown in some cases. Astro was put into positions that tested his morals. The main plot of the original story is lost in this film, Astro’s fight to make robots and humans live together in society as equals. They had in this movie, 3 robots that were like a “robot activist group”, but they were such morons that it just made the whole cause sound like a joke. Astro used to be a hero who was stuck between a rock and a hard place. His own kind, robots were being mistreated by humans but he would still not harm them, and would save both if need be, rather than picking sides, even if, the humans didn’t treat him with any respect (after saving them countless times). This film made him a boring one-dimensional character with a personality of the stereotypical awkward teenager. Yes he saves the day of course, but what positive messages are there to take out of it? He sacrificed himself to save Metro City and destroy the Peacekeeper, some parents didn't like the message that sent out. I will admit there are some positives, themes of one’s identity, and belonging is shown throughout the film, could’ve been fleshed out a little more thought I think. The animation of this film back in the day, left me speechless because I thought it was so awesome. There are some awesome sequences in the film, the creation of Astro, the scenes where he learns to use his powers, the epic action scenes… pure animation magic I called it. It is an entertaining film, to those kids that are mature enough to handle some animated action. Final take on this, I’d say this movie is best suitable for older children, 8+, but I would also recommend talking to your kids about the main themes in the film before watching, and going into more detail after. They are things your kids are going to learn about eventually, it might be a good incentive to start explaining certain life circumstances. I liked the movie much more when I was younger when I didn’t know how much they disregarded the main material, but I think this movie will always hold some kind of special place in my childhood memories, and if I hadn’t seen this I probably wouldn’t have dug further into the original manga.
Adult Written byJoshuaHMP January 17, 2015

Toby/Tobio=Astro/Atom

Astro Boy should be the best even though it has violence in it well at least nobody dies right? Oh yeah I forgot Toby died so what? To people who complain about it just let me ask you something how can Toby become Astro if he doesn't die? The story about Toby dies and reborn as a robot has been the same origin of Osamu Tezuka works and he is after all the godfather of anime. As far as it being violent, I tend to disagree. Compared to some of the stuff that is out there this was tame and totally sci-fi, Astroboy was a lot of fun not the best of the year, but very entertaining and very interesting. And this movie is not a cartoon movie! but an animated movie. For children who watched this movie will understand being good is much better than being bad, and for parents who watched this movie will understand that they should spend more time with their kids than at work.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bynduns October 26, 2009

Parents, stop talking down to your kids

I will admit, the violent scenes were indeed very violent, but I have to ask anyone who truly complains about that: Did you ever watch Astro Boy when growing up? You have to remember that the show was very much like that. In fact, it was even more violent than the movie, so I don't know where you're coming from. Anyway, this was a good movie. I like that it doesn't talk down to kids. Since parents these days tend to lie about death, we kinda need that in movies, which parents seem to treat as teachers nowadays. We all have to deal with things that like sometimes, so it's good to let kids know about it ahead of time so they're prepared. Afterall, is it not a parent's job to explain this and maybe make it seem less scary for the kid? The story was good and while critics call it unoriginal, one has to remember that the show came out years before other robots shows like Robots and Wall-E, so in a way, this movie is completely original. I, myself, am an action lover, so I loved the fight scenes. They were cool and luckily, they did not last for too long so I didn't find myself annoyed by how long they were. I don't really consider it a worthy addition to anyone's DVD collection when it does come to DVD format, but it's certainly worth checking out at least once. Edit: Also, SMNetwork, just a quick heads-up, this film came out in 2009 and is based on a manga from the 50's. Big Hero 6 came out in 2014 and is based on a comic from 1998 that was basically Marvel trying to cash in off of the popularity of manga.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byUsrthea March 3, 2019
Adult Written byislamalking October 13, 2014

film, youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1buMDTF21FY film, youtube
Parent of a 9 year old Written bySaft-e November 15, 2009
I just took my daughter to see this movie and I am totally disappointed by what I saw. The dad was completely unsupportive and the child died three times. Twice was the dads fault. It was a terrible picture and had my daughter crying. I would not recommend this movie to anyone and we definitely will not purchase this one when it comes out on DVD.
Adult Written byDave L. April 24, 2017

A special type of hero

Too many modern heroes are too keen to fight. My kid thinks good guys want to kill bad guys and bad guys want to kill good guys. In other words, there's no difference! Astroboy is different. Like the best kind of hero, he wants to save everybody if he can. In that respect, he reminds me of the hero in Princess Mononoke. Unfortunately, this movie still has a lot of violence, meaning it is probably not appropriate for very young kids.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent Written byMadoka K. April 12, 2015

Rip off

I've seen this movie before. It's called Big Hero 6. And Big Hero 6 was the best movie ever. This is just a low budget rip off.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byJLFM May 8, 2012

A little violent, but not too bad

This title contains:

Positive role models
Adult Written byTony632 April 9, 2012

blast off !

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Consumerism
Parent of a 6 year old Written bybeth721 July 20, 2010

Too scary for little ones

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo June 25, 2010

Another so-so kids movie.

Astro Boy isn't bad, but it could be better. Robots killing each other is a bit iffy at best, but it doesn't resonate as scary with younger kids, and doesn't bother older kids. In our family, this movie raised no particular issues. Astro Boy came off as a good role model, although I'm not sure that sacrificing himself for the greater good is such a great message for kids to take out of it. All in all, pretty harmless.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bySallyPDC June 24, 2010

Inappropriate themes and plot events, handled insensitively, make this movie inappropriate for ANY children

I was aghast to discover that the main plot is established after the on-screen death of a child in a horrifying military experiment gone awry. Worse, the child's death occurs seconds after his father promises that everything's going to be okay. While the themes of the movie thereafter address the father's grief and his wrong-headed efforts 'replace' his lost child with a robot/clone, it's not a message that my under-10 year old children are prepared to confront, nor does the film address it sensitively. Essentially, a character who seems central at the beginning is dispensed with early and the tragedy of that loss never fully addressed by the film (because, obviously, that would spoil the 'fun'). Much of the rest of the film depicts terrible acts of violence directed towards a character who is admittedly a "robot" but one who appears to be a real child, with authentic feelings and fears. The authentic-seeming child also faces complete rejection from his father (like many movies, there's never been a mother in sight from the start), and falls into the clutches of a cultish robot-slave master who forces him to battle to the death in a Roman-style gladiator's ring. I am generally considered to have pretty loose standards for allowing my children to confront dark themes and cartoonish violence, but at every plot turn in this film, my jaw just dropped at the inappropriate themes, addressed insensitively. I can't believe anyone could for one second consider this a childrens' film, and assume it was made with older, anime-enthusiast teens in mind.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byclcfh June 16, 2010

Fathers and father figures endanger and reject children

I regretted taking my children to this movie because of the messages it sends about fathers. A boy with no mother who craves his father's attention sneaks into his father's work area, leading to his death. The father creates the boy's replica, Astro Boy, only to reject him too. Astro Boy chooses another father figure who forces him to fight for his life. It was actually after my bad experience with this movie that I started relying on Common Sense Media reviews, which have been very helpful to me, so it was a surprise to me that the Astro Boy reviewer didn't share my concerns about this one. Obviously older children could handle these messages, but after a certain age, surely interest in this movie would drop off, so I'm rating it "off." (P.S. I'm not a teen reviewer. The registration form wouldn't take my real birth year for some reason.)
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written byeives4 May 1, 2010

Morbid movie for kids...I don't think so

I am a teacher of young children and heard my students raving about this one. So my husband rented it for our son. BIG mistake! While he enjoyed it, the child of the story is evaporated and there are robots fighting to the death. Whoever thought this made sense to market and show to children was seriously mistaken. Unless you are prepared to discuss the possibility of children dying I would steer clear of this one!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 8 year old Written bymattsdad March 30, 2010

My 8 year old thoroughly enjoyed it

As noted, there are mature themes presented, both painful and positive. Good messages about "belonging" and "being different". Entertaining (if not a little scarey) robot battle scenes.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byAunt Kren March 26, 2010

Good for older children

Started with the death of the boy. Then, once the robot is made, from the boy's memories, the Dad rejects the robot. Too much going on in this movie, hard for younger kids to go over all of this adult subject matter that so happens to be in a cartoon form.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 4, 7, and 9 year old Written bybjck March 26, 2010
This is a repeat one at our house - they LOVED it!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written byndebane March 12, 2010
Parent of a 10 year old Written byJollyPumpkin December 4, 2009

Perfect for ALL ages! An above-par movie!

I loved this movie as much as my son did. It's got heart to spare, a lead character you can't help but love, great, uplifting story, great animation and thrilling music score. Really it's the best animated film my family has seen all year, and I'm including "Up" (my kid got bored at that film, although he did like the dog). Yes, it has some darkness and sadness, but so did The Lion King, and it's hardly traumatizing. I haven't seen a movie that moved me so much SINCE The Lion King, come to think of it. My son adored this film so much, we saw it again with my niece and she loved it too. It's a shame it hasn't done better at the box office; the only movie we've seen that comes close to its overall entertainment value was "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs", and "Astro Boy" was even better than that. We are definitely getting the DVD of this film, and my son is hoping for a sequel!

This title contains:

Educational Value

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