MTV News recently had the chance to visit Imagi Studios where the finishing touches are being put on “Astro Boy,” set to hit theaters October 23.
Though the character isn’t quite as recognizable to US audiences, “Astro Boy” is one of the most enduring Japanese pop icons, dating back to his 1952 debut in the manga by Osamu Tezuka. The film tells the story of a scientist, Tenma (Nicolas Cage) who replaces his lost son with a powerful robot (Freddie Highmore), who must then come to terms with his own identity as both a child and a hero.
Fans should be pleased to know that Imagi’s take on “Astro Boy” is incredibly faithful to the various incarnations of the character of the years, right down to the “butt machine guns”. Extensive work has also been done by the Imagi artists to create accurate 3D versions of the 2D drawings and it’s safe to say that they’ve pulled it off; the look is Tezuka through and through.
A number of new characters have been added for the film, including Cora, voiced by Kristen Bell and a scene-stealing robot that’s half dog and half trashcan.
Among the scenes previewed were Astro’s awakening for the first time, brought to life through a powerful energy source that the villain of the film, General Stone (Donald Sutherland) plans to take and another, surprisingly moving scene where Astro has to give up the same power source. Also previewed was Astro and Cora meeting Ham Egg (Nathan Lane), junk robot dealer, and Astro and friends battling against one of Stone’s robot creations.
Overall, the film’s tone appears to have quite a lot going for it. Alongside the retro ’50s future look, there seems to be a lot of range between humor, emotionality and action sequences.
Expect a lot more on “Astro Boy” next week, as Imagi’s going to have a big presence at San Diego Comic-Con.
Did you watch or any version of “Astro Boy” growing up? If not, what’s your first impression of the film? Share your thoughts below!