In the far future, Metro City, a floating city that is generally run by robots with humans merely enjoying life, brilliant scientist (who is also Metro City’s Minister of Science working under the selfish & power-hungry President Stone played by Donald Sutherland) Dr Tenma with the help of his trusted friend, Dr. Elefun (Bill Nighy), created an incredible sentient robot to replace hi s young only son, Toby, after he was accidentally killed in a military exercise gone awry in their attempt to harness a powerful alien and unlimited "blue" energy (which was eventually used to power Astro Boy himself). The robot was programmed with Toby’s memories & personality but it failed to fill the void that was left by Dr Tenma’s dead child and was asked to leave.
In search of acceptance, the robot, broken-hearted, leaves Metro City and heads to the surface world where he meets & befriends a group of colorful characters who gives him the name - Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore). Upon learning that his friends and family up in Metro City are in mortal danger, Astro Boy returns to his father’s side in a valiant effort to save the city & everything he cares about. Of course, he ends up being the super-powerful robot hero defender of Metro City that we all know and still love today.
The voice acting from the cast is very believable and I’m especially impressed by Freddie Highmore. However, knowing in advance that Nicholas Cage was the voice behind Dr Tenma did take a little toll on my enjoyment of the movie as Cage had not really made a good impressing portraying characters other than the bitterly hopeless tragic remorseful dad/hero/victim. On the other hand, Eugene Levy, Nathan Lane & Kristen Bell provide an appealing supporting cast of colorful characters that are quirky and lovable.
Astro Boy is based on a Japanese comic book/ Manga created by Ozamu Tezuka (who many consider to be the Grand-father of Manga) dating back to circa 1950s. He was also the star of several popular TV series. The original (Japanese version) Astro Boy wears very little clothes and this being a Hollywood production, has been made more acceptable to international audiences. Another point to note is also that Astro Boy looks very much like Marvel's Namor, who also wears a green speedo and has black hair.
I'm sure he was as big as, perhaps today’s Ben 10 or Spongebob. Just go ask your dad or uncle and they would have something nostalgic to say. =)