Osamu Tezuka's groundbreaking Sixties anime series gets a stylish CGI update in this sci-fi animation. A scientist (given voice by Nicolas Cage), distraught over the death of his son (Freddie Highmore), re-creates the boy as a robot powered by a blue core of "good" energy. Like the series, the film considers humanity's dependence on and fear of automation, though this new treatment also has an apocalyptic theme, as a craven politician foments war by harnessing the "bad" energy of a red core (a none-too-subtle allusion to recent U.S. electoral showdowns). The lighting, production design, and character modeling are excellent, and director David Bowers (Flushed Away) references Frankenstein, Wall-E, Transformers, and even Abraham and Isaac. But the TV series, primitive though it was, had a sweet innocence and joyfulness that made it more fun (94 min.).
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