Film (2010 Hong Kong). Imagi Animation Studios/Tezuka Production Company. Directed by David Bowers. Written by Timothy Harris. Cast includes Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Freddie Highmore, Bill Nighy and Donald Sutherland. 94 minutes. Colour.
Starrily voiced, Hong Kong-made reboot for global audiences of Osama Tezuka's most famous creation, the boy Robot created to substitute for a scientist's dead son, equipped with jet-shooting extremities and weaponized buttocks. This version of the origin story ramps up the father-son issues by having the flesh-and-blood Toby accidentally vaporized in one of his Scientist father's experiments (rather than killed in an unrelated accident); the robot version is created from the same Technology in a passion of guilt, but rejected and thrown out of the sky-City to survive on the junkyard surface below with other rejects, with whose help (and copious invocation of the Laws of Robotics) he defeats the city's autocratic ruler and wins his father's acceptance. The film bends a heavily Christlike redemptive arc around a maudlin narrative of parental guilt and rejection, which might convince more if it found any place at all for the concept of mothers. [NL]
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