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Astro Boy Director Speaks 82

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-looks-so-pretty dept.
An anonymous reader writes 'The director of Flushed Away, David Bowers, discusses his new Japanese manga adaptation, shares his science fiction influences and relates Astro Boy's thematic relationship to Star Wars.' I recently was reading Astro Boy manga, and I'm very hopeful that the movie won't disappoint. It looks really fantastic, but visuals in trailers certainly can lie.
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Astro Boy Director Speaks

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  • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@ d a l . net> on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:04AM (#29794411)

    The continued rape of my childhood.

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:05AM (#29794419) Homepage Journal

    Astro Boy ran out of money and fired it's entire staff of animators at one point. The movie was finished on the cheap. I do not have high hopes for this one.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Astro Boy toy line went straight to the discount stores, a sure sign that retailers see it as this year's Speed Racer (the toy line of which was an even bigger flop than the movie, as a trip to any Toys R Us will confirm).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Toonol (1057698)
        retailers see it as this year's Speed Racer

        I will be thrilled if this is as good as Speed Racer. That is a criminally underrated movie.
    • by OzPeter (195038)
      This story [ramascreen.com] puts a slightly different slant on the "no money" aspect. They had bridging finance that was late in showing up, so union says that they have to shut down for the duration.
    • by jvenzon (615567) *
      It's true the gap financing ran out, but if you'll remember something happening with the economy at that point? A bunch of... what's it called... lack of available credit? And with Astro being an independent animated film, it was hit the hardest. Once financing was back in place the majority of the crew came back, and finished it. Sound designer Richard Anderson (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and composer John Ottman (Usual Suspects) were hired and the film finished in style. See it, and then judge.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They've turned it into generic commercial fluff.

    The new one is a comedic coming of age story where the little robot boy has lots of cliche catch-phrases and in the end Dr. Tenma finally realizes the worth of his estranged robot-son.

    (Sorry for the spoiler.)

    Don't even torrent it. It's not worth the bandwidth.

    • The new one is a comedic coming of age story where the little robot boy has lots of cliche catch-phrases and in the end Dr. Tenma finally realizes the worth of his estranged robot-son.

      One of the more recent animated series had Tenma eventually seeing Astro as a robotic Messiah that would eventually lead robots to complete genocide against humanity. That's the version they should have done. ;-)

      Was that the 2003 series? I remember one of the newer ones having really nice art design to it. One character had an ostrich robot that would follow her around like an assistant and also acted as luggage and a computer. Totally wanted one.

  • hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991)
    The trailer looks pretty bad. But then again, the original show was pretty bad, too.
    • It was a manga first, actually, and THAT was excellent and groundbreaking. Osamu Tezuka is one of the most important names in cartooning and animation. Let's hope the movie lives up to his name.
    • A Tepid Defense (Score:3, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      The trailer looks pretty bad. But then again, the original show was pretty bad, too.

      Having not experienced Astro Boy until the ripe old age of 25 on Adult Swim, I will defend certain aspects of the show. Namely, I found the various scientists [wikipedia.org] to be interesting, inventive, original and true to science fiction in that -- at least in the handful of episodes I watched -- the often posed moral problems with their inventions. I found some of the topics almost prophetic about what we would be faced with as our technology advances. While this was nothing new to me now, these were animated from

      • by darkmayo (251580)

        For a different take on Astroboy you should check out Pluto, by Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys)

        Its a retelling of the "Greatest Robot on Earth" except its more focused on the Detective Robot and his tracking of a series human murders and the deaths of the most advanced robots in the world.

        Excellent story and not so black and white.

        • This is indeed a really excellent book.

          (But it _is_ black and white except for the first pages and some flowers)

          Now if they could just hurry a bit to publish the end of the story ;)

      • He also seemed to have the Batman's Utility Belt Effect enabled (I just happened to have the antidote to Iocane powder in my belt!) in the devices in his back.

        Bat shark repellant was the worst.

      • Now, that said, the worst aspect of the show was the main character. Tetsuwan Atomu ("Mighty Atom") or Astro Boy was pretty darn one dimensional. Maybe this is great for children, I got real tired of it.

        This is intentional. Astro Boy is a proxy for the viewer (or reader); the neutrality of his personality serves as a blank slate for you to project onto. Other examples: Tintin, Fone Bone, and most of the major "superheroes" in Western comics (Superman, Peter Parker, etc.).

  • obligatory (Score:5, Informative)

    by earlymon (1116185) on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:34AM (#29794795) Homepage Journal

    http://www.astroboy-themovie.com/ [astroboy-themovie.com]

  • by elnyka (803306) on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:37AM (#29794825) Homepage
    When the movies came out, I was hoping to get the DVDs and show them to my 6 and 7 year old nephews. Instead, movie makers took a perfectly kid's cartoon and made it into a drool-over-Megan-Fox-with-doggie-humping kaplooza for male teens.

    Can't wait to see AstroBoy (I grew up watching the cartoon), but color me surprise if it doesn't get butchered, too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Absolut187 (816431)

      Don't forget John Turturro's ass in a thong.
      And the best line from any "kid's movie":
      "I only wear these when I'm going to fuck"

      What a piece of garbage.
      All they had to do was show big robots fighting for 2 hours without cursing, and they fucked it up.

    • by Donniedarkness (895066) * <Donniedarkness@g ... il.com minus bsd> on Monday October 19, 2009 @12:03PM (#29795183) Homepage
      I was actually a little angry over the second Transformers film.

      I'm normally pretty liberal and all, but WHY was a movie that was marketed so heavily towards children (tons of toys, promotional burger king kids meals, etc.) filled with so much sex and profanity?

      • I was actually a little angry over the second Transformers film.

        I'm normally pretty liberal and all, but WHY was a movie that was marketed so heavily towards children (tons of toys, promotional burger king kids meals, etc.) filled with so much sex and profanity?

        Megan Fox is in it. The woman is beautiful. How is her acting? Most do not get past he looks to notice her acting. I think that is what the producers are hoping for.

        I saw an interview she did. It was not totally scripted. She seems sort of hung up on herself.

      • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:37PM (#29796643)
        You seem to have missed the current trend in "kids" movies. Shrek 2 had a character performing auto-fellatio. Casper had Casper excited because he had a girl in his bed. Happy Feet had the King Penguin asking the women which one was going to go first in the orgy they were about to have. Cars had a character talking about the woman's deposit load here tattoo. The list goes on and on. Any more, it isn't a question of which children's movies have inappropriate content. It's a question of which movies don't.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Did you just equate a cat grooming himself to auto-fellatio? I think that one may be your issue rather than Shrek being porn.

          • When a character that stands on two feet, speaks English and dresses in human clothes is put on the screen, it is no longer an "animal". It is a person. Specifically the fetish for these anthropomorphized characters are called "Furries". It amazes me how many people rationalize that if it is animated Furry Porn, that it is OK to market it to kids. If your into furry porn, that's fine, but it shouldn't be marketed directly to prepubescent children any more than any other porn, fetish or not, should be.
        • At least Astrogirl's not in it! I also hate the way that sex is brough in it now-a-days, but I hated it just as much when romance crept into the stories back then.

          It's always been the case that the vast majority of main characters are male (on the logic that girls will relate to both male and female characters, but boys will only relate to male characters). I remember being quite annoyed when the shows would suddenly introduce the female, waste-of-space version of the male character (Astrogirl/Batgirl/tha

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by beanyk (230597)

        ... and, um, violence?

        • by gnick (1211984)

          Thank you for adding that. Why shooting guns at people, for some people, is less shocking than swearing at them confuses the heck out of me. And gods forbid that a nipple enter the scene - Maybe we can filter that nasty part out by digitally inserting a carefully placed exploding head.

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            Because usually 7 year olds don't have guns to shoot at people, but they do have mouths to run?

          • by elnyka (803306)

            Thank you for adding that. Why shooting guns at people, for some people, is less shocking than swearing at them confuses the heck out of me. And gods forbid that a nipple enter the scene - Maybe we can filter that nasty part out by digitally inserting a carefully placed exploding head.

            You seem to be missing the point of a fight comic, of good characters fighting evil characters, the heroic epic.

            Remember how in the GI Joe cartoons when the good guys where shooting at the Cobra airplanes and never did a Cobra soldier died? They all were jumping in parachutes?

            Or in the old Transformers' toons. Rarely a character died. You can't compare that kind of shooting (the fighting/struggle part of an heroic epic) with, say, a bunch of gansta' blowing each others brains off over a truck of dope.

        • by abigsmurf (919188)
          There were shots in the action scenes long enough for you to see what was happening?
      • by abigsmurf (919188)
        It's weird I love a sleazy action film but I when they had the mother getting high (L O L) and the knee high camera shots of girls' arses, all I could think was "this is a film being at least partly marketed at 10 year olds?". It's not something I would have taken kids to.
      • Uuum, in what perverse sick world is sex not the opposite of filth? It seems you got the "Religion" disease, which makes you think, that beautiful thing has any bad association at all. You should be ashamed of yourself. And "profanity"?? For real? If you dislike being a human, and living in a world of reality, then please STOP doing so. Instead of looking through the glasses of a twisted and sick reality. Or get yourself a therapy.
        You disgust me.

  • I'm not sure if I am looking forward to learning the "Astro Glide"
  • I'm guessing this one doesn't have a drunken Dr. Tenma selling Astro off to the brutal robot circus. Or maybe it does, but the trailer doesn't presage such a thing. Anyone seen a sneak preview, legal or otherwise?

    But, hey, now we know that Astro was "born ready". :-\

    Maybe he'll be doing the kicking of the asses and the taking of the names and the chewing of the gum of the bubbles.

    Woops. Sorry. Started channeling Starfire for a moment.

    • by stevel (64802) *
      I happened upon an exhibit of Tezuka's work at the Tokyo-Edo Museum when I was visiting Japan in April. It had a TV showing an extended clip from the movie. It didn't show anything that hinted at the overall plot, other than it evidently being, as noted in the interview, an "origin movie". All of the text on the displays was in Japanese, so if there was any explanation of the movie plot, it eluded me. As a big fan of the English version from the 1960s, I'm eager to see the movie, but my expectations are
    • I'm guessing this one doesn't have a drunken Dr. Tenma selling Astro off to the brutal robot circus. Or maybe it does, but the trailer doesn't presage such a thing. Anyone seen a sneak preview, legal or otherwise?

      It does have that bit. I saw it on the weekend.

  • ...it's gonna be awesome.

  • This is a travesty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KnownIssues (1612961) on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:59AM (#29795121)
    *Movie X* was such an influential part of my childhood. You can't just take *X* hours of a series and cram it into a movie without losing everything magical about it. There's just too much compromise moving from *medium X* to the movies. And changing *minor element X* to *minor element Y* just proves that point. This is one movie I will definitely claim not to see. The graphics look pretty good though.
    • by tepples (727027)

      You can't just take *X* hours of a series and cram it into a movie without losing everything magical about it.

      Let X = 2 to 3 (that is, five to seven episodes) and save room for the sequel; does that change the outcome?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      Personally, I think this is a healthy and normal reaction to maturity. Adult eyes are far less able to detect magic than juvenile ones. Were this movie to be shown to our ten-year-old selves, we'd probably love it. But since it fails to recreate that wonderment and imagination potential that the previous material did when we were younger, we lay blame.

      On the one hand, this seems to become our prerogative as we age. On the other, we could really stop being surprised when those in control of the media dem

    • *Movie X* was such an influential part of my childhood. You can't just take *X* hours of a series and cram it into a movie without losing everything magical about it. There's just too much compromise moving from *medium X* to the movies. And changing *minor element X* to *minor element Y* just proves that point. This is one movie I will definitely claim not to see. The graphics look pretty good though.

      Fuck *X*. I can't believe you like that shit. Epic n00bage.

  • If this had been done by Hayao Miyazaki, the director of "Spirited Away", it might have been good. He does kids as lead characters very well. But Miyazaki doesn't need to do remakes. He can develop original concepts.

    The director of "Flushed Away"? Much lower down the food chain.

    For a good cartoon remake, see Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood. [youtube.com]

  • Anyone else... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Monday October 19, 2009 @02:35PM (#29797567) Journal
    see the trailer and think it was for a Mega Man movie?
  • Do we get to hear Astro's report and pick out the things that are wrong?
  • Will the Buggles song be on the soundtrack?

  • by FornaxChemica (968594) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:06PM (#29801571) Homepage Journal

    I don't want to write this message, but I have to, because I'm an avid reader of Osamu Tezuka, because I think he's one of the greatests authors among all creative arts and because this movie adaptation, judging from the trailer, is nothing short of a blasphemy.

    They didn't need to make that film, they could have come up with their own robot teen hero instead of pillaging Tezuka's ideas and sculpting them into a run-of-the-mill cartoon comedy with cool kids. This is exactly what it's going to be, you just have to hear some of the lines, the delivery or see a few of the situations to know what you're getting into. This is the killing of a Japanese icon on the altar of aseptic filmmaking and inept storytelling with all the odious cliches we've been enduring film after film in American cinema for the past 10 years or more.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad because it's a production from the US; I love American films, I love good American films. It's bad because Astro Boy, like any other Tezuka work, has so much personality and such a unique Japanese identity that if you stray from it, you're not only losing what makes it so special but you're trashing it. Tezuka could be grandiose and grotesque, humane and merciless, profound and foolish, all this in the few pages of a single story. This is precious, rare, a delight to read. Even if Astro Boy is the lighter side of his vast work, it still should be handled with great care and pertinence, which was obviously not the intention of the filmmakers: their goal was just to make it cool and trendy for modern audiences as to rake money, not critical praise from his fans and admirers.

    Even though the story is completely different from the original manga, Metropolis (2001), a Japanese animation film, is certainly more faithful to Tezuka's style and spirit. Rin Taro and Katsuhiro Otomo (author of Akira, who wrote the script) perfectly grasped what made Tezuka's stories so inspiring and beautiful, the vulnerability and complexity of his characters behind the apparent simplicity. And they preserved the original drawing style! Yes, it was daring, but it was right. This is Tezuka, this is how his stories look and read, like it or not, but if you don't, leave them alone instead of trying to mend what you don't comprehend.

    • As said somewhere else, you should definetely give a try at Pluto, by Naoki Urasawa, before stopping people from touching Tezuka's work.

      • I had heard of Pluto before but I've never read it. There's a difference though, Naoki Urasawa isn't appropriating Tezuka's universe, it's a reinterpretation, he expands on an existing story, the drawing has nothing in common and it's not even bearing the same title. The film claims to be the Astro Boy. I wasn't outraged when Disney did The Lion King, even though it's supposed to be a rip-off of Jungle Taitei.
    • by lotsotech (848683)
      You seem to have an overly strong bias for the purity of Japanese production over American. Last I checked Studio Ghibli completely destroys any source material they can get their hands on. In fact any Anime adaptation of a western IP has always been hugely divergent from the source. I'll just throw Howl's Moving Castle and Earthsea out there.
  • Even if the Hollywood retards somehow manage to not butcher this one, didn't Tezuka specifically say he didn't want anyone remaking this story? This remake is wrong even if by some miracle it doesn't suck big sweaty donkey testes.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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