I want to make one thing clear — I cannot even pretend to be unbiased about the CG, non-Japanese-made Astro Boy. If you think that I never gave the G.I. Joe movie a chance, I’m sure you’re cackling now, but in my head, I tried to evaluate the Joe based on the evidence it presented to me. Astro Boy may end up being awesome, but I hate it and I don’t think any facts are going to change my mind. I hate the addition of a generic spunky girl, even if she is voiced by Kristen Bell. I hate how they’ve seemed to neuter the character of Dr. Tenma, who built Astro to replace his dead son, then cast him away for not being real enough. I hate that Tenma’s voiced by Nic Cage, one of the celebrities who should truly never be allowed to do voice acting.I hate the lack of adherence to Osamu Tezuka’s character designs, as if he wasn’t the Walt Disney of Japan. I hate that the movie looks like a lame Iron Giant rip-off of the military trying to capture Astro, as opposed to Tezuka’s stories of using robots to condemn prejudice and racism. I hate it.
And yes, the irony that I’m totally prejudiced against this movie is not lost on me. But I don’t care.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.