ASTRO BOY will be at Comic-Con Thursday – Read a Preview Here

     July 21, 2009

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If you’re a fan of “Astro Boy” and have been waiting for this year’s Comic-Con to finally watch a few complete scenes from the animated movie, you’ll want to be in room 6BCF at 10:15 Thursday morning. That’s because Summit Entertainment is going to premiere some footage and have stars Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, director David Bowers and producer Maryann Garger answer questions and talk about making the movie. I actually went to Imagi Studios headquarters in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and saw some of the film. My thoughts are after the jump:

I liked Imagi Studios first animated feature “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. I thought the animation was really well done and if the film had a better script, it probably would have been a bigger movie. But while the film didn’t make tons of money, it did show the studio was capable of producing a high-quality animated feature film and this was just the beginning of what the studio could do.

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At the time, “Astro Boy” and “Gatchaman” were the far-off projects, and now both are moving full steam ahead with “Astro Boy” set for release this October and “Gatchaman” sometime next year.

Since many of you might not know about “Astro Boy”, Osamu Tezuka created the character back in the early 50’s. However, it wasn’t until the character got his own animated show in the 60’s that he became a global icon. That’s because while the show was made for audiences in Japan, it was dubbed in English and it aired for years in syndication. Recently, “Astro Boy” has been in many comics and those original cartoons have aired on the Cartoon Network.

The story of “Astro Boy” is set in a future world where humans co-exist with androids. Like the manga and animated series, the movie tells the story of a man dealing with the death of his son. And just like before, to deal with the loss, he creates a robot in his sons image. Playing the father is Nicolas Cage and the voice of “Astro Boy” is Freddie Highmore.

Astro Boy movie image (5).jpgAs the movie progresses, Astro Boy leaves his home after finding out the truth about himself. He then meets up with a group of outsiders – one of whom is voiced by Kristen Bell.

Anyway, while the film is clearly aimed at kids, I was surprised by the storyline, as I never watched the cartoon or read the comics. It’s not too often death is front and center in an animated story, but since that’s why Astro Boy was created, it does make sense.

Since I hate when someone tells you everything from the scenes that were shown, here’s a brief recap of the footage I saw a few weeks ago at Imagi Studios. All of them featured the same style of animation that we saw in “TMNT”.

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In the first scene, we saw the doctor dealing with the loss of his son and trying to bring him back to life as a robot. The second featured the doctor telling Astro Boy he’s a robot and his son running away. As he leaves, he starts to discover his powers and that’s when the military starts to go after him so they can turn him into a weapon. The final scene shows Astro with his new friends and he then has to choose; run away like he did before, or protect his friends and the citizens of Metro City from a new robot that’s more powerful and much bigger than Astro Boy.

Overall, I really liked what I saw and it’s definitely a better film that I expected. I don’t know why, but I thought “Astro Boy” was going to aim really young and that’s definitely not the case. While I’m sure kids will enjoy the film, there’s definitely stuff for adults to enjoy.

Anyway, if you’re at Comic-Con and want to brave the crowds, the “Astro Boy” panel has moved from the chaos of Hall H and away from the screaming Twilight fans and into Hall 6BCF at 10:15am on Thursday with stars Freddie Highmore (Astro Boy) and Kristen Bell joining director David Bowers and producer Maryann Garger to debut footage exclusive to Comic-Con and answer questions about the film. While I don’t know if it will be the same stuff I saw, I’m sure some of it will be. I think you’ll be surprised by “Astro Boy”. I know I was.

Look for plenty of Comic-Con news starting tomorrow night. If you haven’t already subscribed to our RSS feed then click here because we’re gonna have a ton of updates throughout the Con.

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