After watching the movie, I guess we have a long way to go when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. As bizarre as it may be, we are far from creating robots that can mimic Astro-Boy. Notwithstanding, we should not discard our creation simply because it lacks the qualities/functionalities of our desires.
Rather, we should improve and create something special in accordance with our satisfaction. Sometimes, when we look closely and objectively, our creation may have a heart even when it is a robot.
He may be a reconstructed robot, but this little cyber kids got some real heart
And that’s got to account for something, yes?
Nonetheless, Astro-Boy is a computer-animated superhero film loosely based on the Manga of the name Mighty Atom or Iron Arm Atom by the Japanese writer and illustrator Osamu Tezuka . The manga was serialized from 1952 to 1968 and the English version was made available in 2002. Although it was written in the past;
Astro Boy may be an old-time favourite, but as directed by David Bowers with a screenplay by Bowers and Timothy Hyde Harris, it arrives here as fresh, invigorating entertain
Needless to say, Astro-Boy may be conceived and written in a time when the idea of chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are in theoretical/conceptual phase. The idea, setting and message are still relevant today. The idea of an AI having humanity cannot be denied in this movie. And that is what’s going to save humanity from killer robots.
The Movie Short Story
Astro-Boy is a story about a robot that was unable to meet and fulfil his creator’s expectations, unfortunately, it was discarded. After experiencing betrayal, rejection and loneliness, it embarks on a journey of life self-finding meaning.. It turns out that Astro has more humanity than even the human that creates it.
Set in the future floating city called Metro, Toby Tenma was being driven home by his family robot/Butler, when his father informed him that he has an important meeting in the Ministry of Science. Toby temporary reprogram the robot Orrin to drive him to the Ministry of Science.
Toby meets with his father Dr Tenma, Dr Elefun and President Stone who has been working on creating a Peacekeeping robot at the Ministry.
Dr Elefun who synthesize positive energy (Blue core) and negative energy (Red core) from a fallen star, warns President Stone that putting the negative energy into the Peacekeeping program is hazardous.
The President blinded by his ambition for re-election decided to put the red core into the Peacekeeping robot. The robot started absorbing other robots and growing bigger. It literally became a threat to itself and the people in the lab.
image credits: imdb
Dr Tenma in attempt to control the situation lock down the robot in a glass barricade to stop it from destroying the lab and everyone in it. Unfortunately, Dr Tennnma son Toby was locked down together with the Peacekeeping robot, and he was vaporized.
The grieving father, spend days without sleeping to create a perfect replica of his deceased son using a strand from Toby’s hair. Dr Elefun provided the blue core and was used in powering Dr Tenma’s son’s replica robot.
image credits: Imdb
Unknowingly, the replica had no memory of the accident in the lab, but at home, things began to change. Toby rejected his love for his Favorite P-cap, this triggered rejection from his father.
Toby realized he can understand robots. Amazed by his newfound abilities he rushed to inform his father, but over had his father and Dr Elefun talking about him.
Dr Tenma finds it impossible to see his son replica robot-Toby as a replacement for his son. Toby feeling emotional flies out only to find himself being attacked by President Stone military forces with extreme prejudice.
In an attempt to capture Toby using extreme prejudice, he was blown off Metro City. And he fell to the surface world on a scrap pile of old robots.
He was found by some group of children who are scavenging for old parts. A group of robots whisked away Toby claiming to be a part of a group called the Robot Revolutionary Front (RRF)
image credits: Imdb
Toby rejoined the group of kids and was taken to the kids home where he meet with Hamegg. Hamegg explans to him his loves robots. On the morrow, the kids and Toby went looking for scraps robots as usual and Toby fond ZOG.
With his abundant blue core energy, he jumped start ZOG back to life after 50 years. The kids were very happy, they took ZOG home and got him clean.
Hemegg found out that ZOG and Toby have the same power energy signature and Toby secret was uncovered. ZOG and Toby were forced to fight in the arena for human entertainment against other robots.
The Content of the Movie
The idea of creating a robot with human emotions is fascinating. As intriguing as it may be, these emotions should not interfere with the robots sense of love, care, selflessness and justice to protect humans from harm or anything that may lead to their demise, this is what makes Astro have more humanity than most people.
Artificial Intelligence has been our theme for several months now. We are looking into a future where man and machine can co-exist without the fear of the Rise of the machines. Peaceful co-existence has been achieved in Metro city where robots and humans are living freely without fear or prejudice.
Astro was designed to be a replica of Dr Tenma deceased boy, fortunately for robot-Toby, it inherits Tenma child characteristics and humanity. Contrary to robots don’t sleep, have emotions and cannot feel hurt, Astro has all these qualities and that makes it more human.
image credits: Imdb
Having a robot in the house in the form of a child, one may think it has the capacity to help a grieving father/mother/brother/sister with his/her loss. But it turns out that, a machine cannot help humans get over their grieve (or so we are meant to believe).
Although Dr Tenma took a couple of days in designing and perfecting Astro, It does not prevent him from discarding the robot when it fell below expectations.
This movie is about human expectations and regrets. As humans, we are apt to treat other humans/machines without regards to how they may be feeling or how they are feeling.
We just want them to deliver unto our expectations without fail without putting them into consideration.
The Collective Works of the Actor
I’m glad because of Bitlanders Artificial Intelligence Theme Blogging. This provides me with the privilege to write about Artificial intelligence. You can’t deny the ingenuity of the actors that voice this animated movie-Astro-Boy
This charming, futuristic family flick has enough firepower to overcome and awkward premises and Nicolas Cage general Creepiness
Each of the actors brings to the movie their kind of style and acting that makes the movie an epic movie in this era.
These actors, Toby (Freddie Highmore ) as Astro, Orrin (Eugene Levy), Dr Tenma (Nicolas Cage), as Toby Father, President Stone (Donald Sutherland), Dr Elefun (Bill Nighy), Mr Squirt/Mathe Cowboy/Boxer Robot (David Alan Grier)
To each of these individuals to have come together to voice this particular movie, it makes the movie one of the best-animated movie in history.
The Heroes of the Movie
I’m sure if you have not watched this particular movie before, you will want to watch it after reading this review. And if you have, please go back and re-watch the movie. It never gets old!
Life is full of surprise, twist and turns. Sometimes these twist and turns in life may result in a full-scale disappointment, regrettable moments, joyous moments and moments we wish could change.
image credits: Imdb
Sometimes, we shy away from our regrets, try to correct our mistakes, or be bold enough to confront our misdeeds. We may succeed in undoing what has been done, other times we fail again.
Fortunately, Dr Tenma (Nicolas Cage) created a robot replica of his son to replace his son in his grieve. He regretted his creation and discards it like a used paper.
What seemed unneeded, rejected and scorn at becomes the beacon of hope and the saviour of Metro-City.
Dr Tenma intentions are far from heroism, protection and love. They are just replacement. He just wanted something to fill the hole left in his heart after the death of his son. What he hoped for, ended up filling the hearts of the whole city and the surface world.
Although, Dr Tenma and robot-Toby played the heroes in this tale. I must confess, Dr Elefun (Bill Nighy) is the biggest hero. His advice, counsel and words of wisdom led Toby to the part of making the right decision to see a world where humans and robots live happily.
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Astro-Boy General Acceptance and Popularity
Without an element of doubt, Astro-Boy is Tezuka most famous work, as such, Frederik L Schodt described the author as God of Manga in an interview with Aaron H. Bynum
Osamu Tezuka influence on the culture of manga and anime is an intricate web of innovation. Having provided the developing Japanese comics and animation industries with profoundly imaginative concepts, narratives and characters that ranged far and wide, Osamu Tezuka is an icon. Tezuka status as the ‘God of Manga’ and thereby the creative father of Japan’s circulated comic and moving picture industries are the result of one man’s uninterrupted desires to chronicle the complexity of human nature
Astro-Boy did not just stop as one man’s obsession with manga, but in time was able to appeal to people across the world. Empire magazine recorded the manga as among the 50 greatest comic characters of all times. To have this recognition, it must have made an impact across the globe.
image credits: Imdb
Japan celebrates the achievement of Osamu Tezuka by giving Astro a birthday, April 7, 2003, and an honorary citizen in 2004 of Niiza city. It does not just stop there; Astro was inducted into Robot Hall of Fame in 2004.
For the work of one man to impact people all over the world like this is nothing short of a miracle.
Is the Movie any Good?
Animated movies are sometimes conceived & designed to be distributed for the consumption of little children in our homes. Most at times, these conceptions are wrong. Nevertheless, animated movies have much deeper emotions in them.
image credits: Imdb
The movie is such created to emulate a heartbroken robot who is trying to find his place in the world. This movie is easy to sympathize with, viewing the condition of how a father (Dr Tenma) is feeling, and how Tobio ( robot-Toby) who thinks he is a real child feels when he discovered he a robot. These emotional feelings cannot sway us from realizing what makes us humans.
Highmore playing the character Toby brings to the movie the perfect emotive voice, with Nicolas Cage acting of Dr Tenma adding the aggrieved father act to its maximum.
Strictly speaking from an animation nerd point of view, this movie is fun and should be watched with the family.
The film is packed with lots of comedy to keep both kids and adult entrailed. And the fight scenes aid adrenaline rush for both family members.
On A Final Note
We are undoubtedly in an era of artificial intelligence. Hollywood has given to us some sci-fi movies of what will happen when a program goes haywire.
Astro-Boy coming to Hollywood is an eye-opener that beneath all the fear and insecurity of having artificial intelligence in our lives, with the right programming-AI is the future we need.
Imagine creating a robot-like Toby with all the ingenuity and without any of Ultron madness.
The future of artificial intelligence in our lives is now and it’s not going away. Let’s embrace it and look into the future with optimism