Astro Boy (2009) — Another Anime/Manga Adaptation Failure?

It seems that when it comes to manga and anime getting adapted by Hollywood, the powers that be first assume that since anime and manga are cool in the U.S., that will mean an automatic cool factor for the big screen. Then, they turn right around and do all sorts of stupidity which ends up making the Hollywood adaptation pretty terrible.

I read Harry’s review on AICN and it sounds like Astro Boy will be the latest in a series of “meh” adaptations of Japanese classic titles. Maybe one day, Hollywood will understand that the elements that made a Japanese title great weren’t American domestications, but the actual original story and elements from Japan.

That said, if any of you saw this movie, I’d be glad to hear your thoughts. Some other reviews can be found here.

Astro Boy (2009)

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10 Responses to “Astro Boy (2009) — Another Anime/Manga Adaptation Failure?”

  1. arimareiji says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. My opinion of them is a lot more caustic, though.

    “Let’s see, we ran out of originality a long time ago, and people are sick of our Bigger!Better!More! wankfests at the expense of any hint of a coherent, believable plot.

    “So…. let’s take someone else’s great idea, cut out the coherency and plot elements that those dumb fans loved about it, and have a Bigger!Better!More! wankfest with the things we like instead! Sounds like a surefire recipe for a blockbuster, right?”

    I gave up on Hollywood as the world’s biggest waste of oxygen a while back. Haven’t really looked back, and haven’t missed it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No point in seeing the movie. You pretty much saw the entire movie in the previews. 😛

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Anon — figures

    @arimareiji — There are some things I wouldn’t mind seeing adapted into a big budget production. For example, I think that Space Battleship Yamato would make an excellent trilogy. Some of the 70’s cheese could be removed and better character work done but in the right hands (and retaining the original names and story), it would make an excellent set of films. However, those good hands would need to extend to the executives who often times don’t seem to know what makes a good movie.

  4. junior says:

    Obviously you’re just too dull and unenlightened enough to realize that the essence of true characterization is angst. The more angst, the better! The more hopeless, useless, and spineless your characters (e.g. Shinji Akari) the better your story! The more cynical, gloomy, or just plain depressing your story is, the better the writing! Real heroes are filled with self-doubt and introspection! It’s not the fault of Hollywood if you and the rest of the ticketbuying masses are too unenlightened to see that!

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Obviously you’re just too dull and unenlightened enough to realize that the essence of true characterization is angst.

    Either that or I’m too old to realize. *lol*

  6. evgenidb says:

    I’m “obviously just too dull and unenlightened”, because I completely disagree with you, junior. You can’t sell a movie anymore with just a couple of tons of angst. It’s done so many times, that counting them will be a complete waste of time. You need a good story as well. Believable characters and so on. There are many things that make a good movie a good one. And angst and depression is just one of them – and a small part of it. In reality, you even don’t need the angst. You don’t need to make your story a depressing one. You can make a good story without it. It’s just not absolutely necessary. Angst is just a tool the writers and producers could use.

    If you’re so “dull and unenlightened” to see it, I pity you. Really, I pity you. I don’t care that you like films with lots of angst and depression and you watch just them. Yes, I also watched movies and series like the new versions of “Batman” and “Battlestar Galactica”, but this is not the whole world for me.

    What right do you have to call other people “dull and unenlightened” if you’re one of them? If you don’t understand the other genres and/or don’t like them, don’t call it’s followers “dull and unenlightened”. I agree that most of the Hollywood movies are trash, but they are trash only for me. For instance, I don’t like horrors and the last one I’ve watched (the last Saw, not the current one) was more like a comedy with lots of blood and cracking bones than a “scary horror”, because it wasn’t scary at all. But I’m sure that there are people who liked it. And I’m not going to call them “dull” because they liked the movie.

    P.S. Hollywood still can pull out good movies. But it seems that they can’t make a good anime remake, maybe because they don’t understand anime. But I doubt that it’ll be like that forever.

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    evgenidb — I’m pretty sure Junior was being sarcastic with his remarks on angst. ^_^;

  8. evgenidb says:

    In that case – OOOOPS! I took it quite seriously. You can delete my post.

  9. arimareiji says:

    @ANB: I know that Hollywood could do a decent job with just about any idea, anime included. Sturgeon’s Law still applies, albeit in a reversed sort of way: 10% of everything is not crap.

    It’s just that (for me) when they perform one of their 90%’s, it’s traumatizingly foul and stinky. The kind that make you say “Good Lord, man, what crawled up your bum and died?” It’s not even remotely worth taking a chance that a different one might be in the 10%.

    Anime obeys Sturgeon’s Law as well, but I’m willing to forgive it for the 90% because 1) it’s usually not too malodorous, and 2) the 10% are usually good enough to fall in love with, watch several times, and find new meanings each time.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I loved this movie. I’m a big fan of Osamu Tezuka’s work, just so you know – but I loved this film. I think it successfully translated the manga in such a way that an average moviegoer could enjoy it – and it developed Astro’s personality far beyond anything in the manga. I feel sorry for you dudes who didn’t even give it a chance. It’s got heart, terrific animation, balanced doses of darkness and light, and great fight scenes. Of all the animated films premiering this year, “Astro Boy” is my absolute fave. My friends and I have seen it 3 times already, and are shooting for a 4th viewing this weekend. If you don’t give it a try – YOUR LOSS.

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