I dawdled about getting the kids to agree to take me to see Astro Boy, but I shouldn't have. I really enjoyed it, as did they, and it's a pity the movie has been pretty much a box office failure. (Releasing it outside of school holidays might just have something to do with that, though.)
How could I not like a cartoon which makes jokes about Descartes and other philosophers (when did you last see an animated film which shows us a copy of Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason"?); features a comedy trio of robot liberationists who have posters featuring Trotsky and Lenin in their hideout; and deals with the deep issue that was really the major theme of 1980's TV Astro boy - whether robots which act, think and feel like humans should actually be deemed to be human.
Some American reviewers thought it too politicised, but I am sensitive to such things and really did not find it objectionable.*
The arc of the story was, I thought, very satisfying, providing even an explanation as to why Astroboy, built as a replacement for a real boy, should have been provided with weaponry. It is a fine screenplay for such an entertainment, I reckon.
There really wasn't anything I disliked about it. Yes, it reminds you of some other animated and science fiction films, but in some cases, I would say that TV Astro boy dealt with those issues before the movies which then are reflected in this one. (Particularly when you think of the fighting robots of Spielberg's AI, and a similar scenario in Astro boy.)
It has nearly finished its cinema run here; and Tim Train, the only reader of this blog who might possibly be persuaded by this post, you should go see it.
* Update: If you thought the evil President wanting re-election by waging war was inspired by Bush, even though he doesn't look or sound like him, you at least have it balanced by the communist inspired robots who are ideologically sound but very inept. In fact, it is slightly curious that the film is doing well in China, which I thought might be a bit sensitive about that subplot.