Another of my childhood heroes is coming to the big screen! Hitting theatres this October, it's the all-new feature film version of Astro Boy!
The vital stats: this is the second film from animation studio Imagi. Their first film was 2007's computer animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The director is David Bowers, a long time Dreamworks and Aardman storyboard artist who made his directorial debut a few years back with Aardman's Flushed Away.
We've known for a while now who the celebrity voice cast is, but only recently was it revealed who all their voicing. Previously, the only celebrity voice and who they're playing that we knew was Freddie Highmore as Astro. Highmore is probably still best remembered as Charlie in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Astro's creator, the distraught scientist Dr. Tenma, who creates Astro in the image of his deceased son, is voice by noneother than Oscar winning actor, well-known comic book nut, and all around crazy guy, Nicholas Cage.
As we trace through Astro's origin, of which this film largely tells, we know that Tenma soon regrets what he did, and sells Astro to an abusive ringmaster, Hamegg, who makes Astro the star attraction in his circus. Hamegg is voiced by Nathan Lane, still best loved by a generation as the voice of Timone in The Lion King.
Astro is soon rescued from the circus by Tenma's old colleague Dr. Elefun, who recognizes Astro and knows that his potential is being wasted. Elefun is being voiced by Bill Nighy, who's still probably best known in North America for playing Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Elefun soon encourages that Astro go to a regular school with regular kids, where he meets Cora. Cora is voiced by Kristen Bell, still beloved by geeks the world over as Veronica Mars.
In addition to the origin, they also drew a bit from the "Peacemaker" storyline from the original manga. President Stone (voiced by Donald Sutherland) sees Astro's obvious military potential, and when Astro refuses to become a WMD, the President unleases the Peacemaker robot to bring in Astro.
And there's a couple of celebrity cameos revealed at the San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago that are worth noting. Samuel L. Jackson voices Zog, that robot that Astro brings to life in the trailer up there. And Charlize Theron reads the opening narration.
What am I thinking? Well, I'm cautiously optimistic, because I liked the CGI Ninja Turtles. However, there's a lot of gags in that trailer, like with the robot going "Is this thing on?" and the dog driving the car and all that. I understand the need for comic relief, but that trailer leaves me thinking they may have made the film a little too goofy.
We'll find out on October 26 if it really is goofy, or if they decided to cram all the comedy into the trailer to make it look goofy.