Astro Boy

Rated 4.0

A scientist in a futuristic floating city (voiced by Nicolas Cage) creates a robotic replica of his dead son (Freddie Highmore), but when the “boy” is attacked by the city’s ruling tyrant (Donald Sutherland), he flees to the savage planetary surface below. The 1960s Japanese comic-book and anime hero gets revamped for the big screen, with exhilarating results. The story by Timothy Harris and director David Bowers has a familiar ring—an amalgam of Pinocchio without the cricket, Peter Pan without the pixie and Oliver Twist without the gruel—but the familiarity gives it the elemental power of a fairy tale. The animation is serviceable but nothing special; what makes the movie work is the brisk pace and the engaging characters. Other voices include Bill Nighy, Nathan Lane, Kristen Bell and Eugene Levy.