Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Astro Boy Doesn't Quite Soar

Plus, The Vampire's Assistant flunks, Amelia is grounded, and guess Saw VI's Tomatometer!

by | October 22, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an anime hero (Astro Boy, with voice work from Kristen Bell and Nicolas Cage), a vampire war (Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant , starring Chris Massoglia and John C. Reilly), an aviation pioneer (Amelia, starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere), and gore galore (Saw VI, starring Costas Mandylor and Mark Rolston). What do the critics have to say?


Astro Boy

Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy is one of anime’s most iconic and venerable characters. Now he’s getting the big-screen CGI treatment, and the result, critics say, is an energetic but derivative affair. In the film, Astro Boy is a young robot with super powers who learns, slowly but surely, what it means to be human; he also must protect his new-found friends from danger. The pundits say Astro Boy is a lively and good-looking jaunt, but it also cribs from such legendary kiddie fare as Pinocchio and Wall-E without making a distinctive stamp of its own. (Check out voice actress Kristen Bell’s Five Favorite Films here.)


Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

Vampires are all the rage these days, so it makes sense that the 12-volume Cirque du Freak book series would be adapted for the silver screen. However, with The Vampire’s Assistant, critics aren’t exactly hailing the birth of a franchise. Chris Massoglia stars as a young man who mistakenly ends a truce in a 200-year-old vampire war; becoming a half-vampire means “dying” to his friends and family and plunging into the bloodsucking world. The pundits say The Vampire’s Assistant is overstuffed and scattershot, uneasily mixing scares and laughs while leaving its characters underdeveloped.



As an adventurer, author, and proto-feminist icon, Amelia Earhart maintains a powerful grip on the public’s imagination. And Amelia has all the trappings of an award-worthy biopic: it stars Oscar winner Hilary Swank and was directed by the critically acclaimed Mira Nair. Unfortunately, the critics say the film is decidedly earthbound. The film follows Earhart from her early aviation triumphs to her 1937 disappearance over the Pacific Ocean — and explores her fame and interpersonal relationships as well. The pundits say Amelia takes these compelling raw materials and does little with them, conventionally ticking off Earhart’s accomplishments without exploring the soul of the woman.


Saw VI

As with most of the previous entries in the gorehound-fave Saw series, Saw VI has not been screened for critics prior to its release. This latest installment finds Detective Hoffman continuing Jigsaw’s legacy of mayhem after framing some poor chump in Saw V. (And don’t forget to check out See Saw With Alex, in which RT’s own Alex Vo watches all the Saw movies in order.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The South Korean import Night and Day, about a 40-year-old professor who impulsively flees to Paris for a bohemian existence, is at 100 percent.

  • The Wedding Song, about a friendship that crosses religious lines in facist-occupied Tunisia, is at 100 percent.

  • Killing Kasztner, a documentary about the still-controversial Hungarian Jew who bargained with the Nazis to rescue more than 1,000 concentration camp inmates, is at 60 percent.

  • Ong Bak 2, starring martial arts celeb Tony Jaa as a nobleman on a mission to avenge the murder of his family, is at 53 percent (check out Jaa’s Five Favorite Films here).

  • Lars Von Trier‘s controversial Antichrist, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving married couple on the brink, is at 51 percent.

  • (Untitled), an indie comedy about a love triangle amidst New York’s hipster art scene, is at 44 percent.

  • Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman in a comedy about a stay-at-home mom who writes about her experiences, is at 29 percent.

Finally, props to lancerbird13 and King Kubrick for coming the closest to guessing The Stepfather‘s 13 percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

binge Shondaland Country spy thriller Interview Kids & Family CNN Trivia dceu Horror ratings LGBTQ Rock Pop Sci-Fi SDCC DC streaming service Infographic historical drama Drama Ghostbusters transformers political drama Cosplay MTV Fox News The Arrangement cinemax Extras YouTube Red cats See It Skip It Paramount Network serial killer Adult Swim Logo Countdown Toys Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reality Competition Schedule Superheroe Warner Bros. Hulu singing competition Oscars Netflix Winners crime drama Dark Horse Comics Marathons NBC TCA 2017 Sneak Peek unscripted social media The CW travel E3 crime TCA Nominations Syfy Creative Arts Emmys FXX Rom-Com PBS IFC Animation Best and Worst IFC Films Set visit dc thriller Winter TV Bravo GIFs VICE YA CBS All Access zombie Comedy RT History Summer biography Pirates war Watching Series TCM American Society of Cinematographers BBC ITV PaleyFest DC Comics 21st Century Fox Premiere Dates Sundance Acorn TV Lionsgate Action Tumblr Showtime Election talk show Tomatazos Christmas Box Office President Lifetime justice league Comedy Central CW Seed Pixar Ellie Kemper adventure comiccon Amazon History TLC Teen Thanksgiving Awards USA Cartoon Network BET Music Universal DirecTV A&E golden globes First Look Fantasy Emmys ABC Family Star Wars docudrama Western robots TruTV Opinion Food Network Musicals boxoffice Reality Musical Nat Geo Character Guide TIFF psycho BBC America Sony Pictures medical drama Spike cooking period drama Valentine's Day ABC Masterpiece 45 Holidays Fall TV Marvel ESPN romance FOX Photos discovery DC Universe 2015 007 police drama SundanceTV aliens Star Trek politics Martial Arts Video Games what to watch Writers Guild of America MSNBC diversity Polls and Games CMT Red Carpet vampires TV Land GoT Biopics X-Men Certified Fresh Spring TV science fiction APB VH1 El Rey Starz Mindy Kaling TNT FX Superheroes Sundance Now Year in Review GLAAD Esquire Trailer 2016 24 frames Rocky 20th Century Fox Disney Channel cults Calendar Nickelodeon composers NYCC HBO Disney sports WGN Podcast AMC Paramount OWN TV supernatural Britbox CBS technology dramedy crime thriller Comic Book E! TBS Super Bowl Mary Tyler Moore sitcom Freeform cops 2017 based on movie harry potter Mystery Lucasfilm Grammys USA Network Crackle