Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, one of the longest-running and most-popular manga in Japanese history, has been made over into an American animated film, set to be released on October 23rd.
The film features voice work by Kristen Bell, Freddie Highmore (as Astro Boy), Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, British actor Bill Nighy, Nathan Lane, and others. Check out the trailer.
I haven’t really watched much of the Astro Boy programs, either the 1950s series or the remade 1980 series. Still, I know it’s a huge phenomenon throughout Japan and elsewhere. Because of its popularity, I’m sure this movie is being highly anticipated by many people. Of course, whenever movies of this type are made, people (and dedicated fans) tend to find problems with the film adaptation, and with Astro Boy I think they might have issues with the character of Cora (voiced by Kristen Bell).
Cora was a character made up for this American film, as she was not part of the original series. It will be interesting to see how the film and especially her character are received by the general public and Astro Boy fans worldwide.
People also tend to be wary of Americanized adaptations of Japanese stories and films, so that is also something to keep an eye on. There will be a blog entry soon about that very issue of American film adaptations of Japanese entertainment and how they have mostly been unsuccessful and generally heavily-criticized over the years.
The casting of Freddie Highmore as the voice of Astro Boy is also something to think about regarding this film. Astro Boy is a Japanese manga, and yet the American movie version will be voiced by a British actor who was in the remade Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In theory, this casting is…curious.
Apparently the new Astro Boy was received well at its panel at Comic-Con this past month, so it could be very successful when it drops into theaters in October. I’m curious to see how it is.
Stay tuned to this blog as we’ll be updating our Astro Boy coverage if and when new promo pictures and trailers are released. 🙂