Astro Boy parents guide

Astro Boy Parent Guide

Given his ability to break down barriers between humans and robots as well as burrow through solid rock, "Astro Boy" is a champion most parents can approve.

Overall B+

Based on the TV cartoon series with the same name, Astro Boy (voiced by Freddie Highmore) is a robotic child built by a grieving scientist (voiced by Nicholas Cage) who has lost his son. When he fails to fill the empty place in his human father's heart, the young robot sets off on a journey of self-discovery.

Release date October 23, 2009

Violence B-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B+
Substance Use A

Why is Astro Boy rated PG? The MPAA rated Astro Boy PG for some action and peril, and brief mild language.

Run Time: 94 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen a television episode of Astro Boy. Long enough that I didn’t remember much about the individual other than his characteristic cowlick and jet powered boots. Fortunately, my reunion with this undersized and updated superhero was more enjoyable than I anticipated.

In the movie, Dr. Tenma (voice by Nicolas Cage) is working on a highly technical research project that promises to provide a new source of power for Metro City. He and his fellow employee at the Ministry of Science, Dr. Elefun (voice by Bill Nighy), have managed to separate positive and negative aspects of the energy and are ready to test its capabilities.

Unfortunately, General Stone (voice by Donald Sutherland) is up for re-election and wants to make an announcement that will guarantee his success at the polls. Rather than wait for more controlled analysis, he forces the scientists to immediately insert these volatile resources into his new military android known as the Peace Keeper. Not unexpectedly, the experiment goes horribly wrong and Dr. Tenma’s boy is killed.

Heartbroken, the grieving father fashions a robot in the exact likeness of his son and brings him to life using the blue core of positive energy he discovered with Dr. Elefun. But it doesn’t take long for Dr. Tenma to realize this little mechanical child, known as Astro Boy (voice by Freddie Highmore), will never be able to replace the one he lost. Discarded by his "dad" and hiding from General Stone (who wants to recover the energy core for his robotic army), Astro Boy ends up in a decaying part of the planet with a bunch of orphaned children. It is a scenario torn directly from the script of Oliver Twist. These kids work for Ham Egg (voice of Nathan Lane), the only adult around. By day he sends them out to collect bits and pieces of mechanized junk that he refurbishes into functioning machines.

However, Astro soon discovers that robots aren’t particularly popular with these residents, so he opts to keep his true identity secret while he tries to find his place in the world.

Based on the Japanese manga series created in the 1950s, both Astro Boy and the storyline have undergone some dramatic changes that aficionados of the comic will quickly notice. Yet the robot’s desires to fit in and find a purpose in his life are still evident in the plot. Depictions of violent encounters with the gigantic, morphing Peace Keeper, that absorbs and integrates objects around it (including other robots, humans and parts of buildings), might be frightening for young viewers—although many of the portrayals are no more graphic than an after-school cartoon. More disturbing may be the emotional drama that takes place when Dr. Tenma loses his son and later when the human father rejects his creation Astro Boy.

Still, older children will likely be engaged by this high-flying superhero as he discovers his unique set of super powers. And, given his ability to break down barriers between humans and robots as well as burrow through solid rock, Astro Boy is a champion most parents can approve of too.

Starring Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release October 23, 2009. Updated

Astro Boy
Rating & Content Info

Why is Astro Boy rated PG? Astro Boy is rated PG by the MPAA for some action and peril, and brief mild language.

Robots in this film provide all kinds of help from household chores to soldiering. Some are outfitted with weapons. An evil politician attempts to force the upcoming election in his favor by making scientists use their experiment for military purposes. A research trial results in the death of a child. A father is shown grieving for his son. A robotic character is rejected by his human creator and later runs away from home. Orphaned children are shown living on their own. Robots engage in gladiator-like entertainment for humans. A scientist removes the energy core from a robot, rendering it lifeless. A gigantic android attempts to kill Astro Boy, destroys parts of the city and terrifies the inhabitants. Explosions are shown. Brief, mild profanities are used. A cartoon character is shown with his pants down in a doctor’s office. Astro Boy comments about his derriere.

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Astro Boy Parents' Guide

How are politicians and military personnel portrayed in this film? Do these stereotypical depictions color the way we see real government officials and soldiers?

How has technology changed over the past decade? How are mechanical devices becoming more interactive and user friendly? What would people do if robots took care of all the daily activities we presently engage in?

How does Astro Boy help break down differences between humans and robots in this story?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Astro Boy movie is March 16, 2010. Here are some details…

Release Date: 16 March 2010
Astro Boy is releasing on DVD and Blu-ray with the following extras:
- Two new animated sequences: Astro vs. The Junkyard Pirates and The RRF In: The New Recruit.
- Inside the Recording Booth
- Designing A Hero
- Building Metro City
- Astro Boy Image Gallery: Creating a Global Icon
- Getting The Astro Boy Look

Related home video titles:

Other mechanical objects also have emotional and human traits attributed to them in movies with similar themes. In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, a young budding scientist uses metal, bolts and nuts to fashion a high-tech pet that can play dead as well as fetch. A little android is left to clean up after the humans who’ve destroyed the Earth’s resources in WALL-E. Robin Williams stars as a robot who has developed a love of classical music and a penchant for painting in Bicentennial Man. Another father wishing for a son fashions a boy out of wood, in the classic fairytale Pinocchio.

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