Astroboy review

Energetic but uninspired tale of a robot boy's crazy adventures

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, kids: it’s the Mighty Atom, a 50-year-old Japanese manga revived for this slick, shiny, if ever-so-slightly soulless CG caper.

Fun, colourful and full of action, David Bowers’ ’toon will have little trouble diverting those of a similar age to its perky, wide-eyed protagonist. But anybody older will probably spend the film’s modest running time ticking off the better movies it clearly borrows from.

Essentially, it’s Pinocchio spliced with AI. Simple as that.

This tale of a robot child (Freddie Highmore) built by a grieving scientist (Nicolas Cage) to replace a human original is surprisingly dark at first, especially when Astro’s ‘father’ casts him out into a wilderness populated by feral kids and rejected androids.

But once the young fella realises he can a) fly and b) shoot bullets from his arse, such intriguing shadings are soon put to one side in favour of predictably noisy mayhem that’ll merely make you feel nostalgic for The Incredibles.

Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.