: Astro Boy
I like animated films and this one seemed interesting, but the trailer blew it for me with one scene that showed machine guns popping out of the robot boy’s butt. That was so ridiculous and inappropriate that it turned me off and I skipped it, assuming the whole film would be such cheap humor. It turns out, it’s actually a pretty good film. That single scene is really the only crass note in the thing. Though the plot’s a little forced and simplistic (evil is red, good is blue), it’s an interesting tale of a scientist who recreates his dead son in robot form. The boy doesn’t even realize he’s a robot but soon discovers he has rocket feet and can fly and he has super-strength. A big part of the story is the clash between classes, as the privileged live in a floating city above the ruined world with robots to do their bidding, while the people on the ground are poor and struggling. There’s also an interesting side plot dealing with robot rights. The film is clearly for kids as the moral lessons are see-through thin, but I did like the ending a lot, where the boy gets saved because he saved a life earlier in the film (his goodness comes back to reward him in the end). I also really liked how the father-scientist role was not completely stereotypical and didn’t just magically reform after his son died, but kept some of evilness and began struggling with his conscience. The film’s a bit dark at times — interesting for kid fare — with the death of the human boy and robots killing each other for sport and the amusement of humans. Above average. I just wish that butt-gun thing had been left out. It was lame and completely out-of-character with the rest of the film.