Imagi Animation Studios’ big screen rendition of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy couldn’t be more off my radar, but now that I’ve seen this splendid first image of the legendary character… I now know an Astro Boy movie is being made! And that Astro Boy will look like Astro Boy. And that there’s going to be a giant robot something doing vaguely robotic things while Astro Boy stands around in swim trunks beaming like a jackass.

This Westernized take on Astro Boy is being directed by visual f/x veteran Colin Brady (he earned an Oscar nomination for his work on Ang Lee’s Hulk), who will work from a screenplay by Michael Lachance (his only other writing credit is for that direct-to-DVD Christmas movie featuring the penguins from Madagascar). Though I’m sure both Brady and Lachance are talented guys, all we’ve really to go on with this Astro Boy movie is the property itself (beloved in Japan), which is essentially a futuristic reworking of Carlo Collodi’s The (Non-Erotic) Adventures of Pinocchio (in Tezuka’s telling, a heartbroken scientist creates a robot boy in the image of his deceased son, and things get complicated from there). Until I read a script, this’ll be filed under "Projects I’d Rather See Done in Live Action with Roberto Benigni".

Brady’s Astro Boy (or is it AstroBoy?) is slated for a 2009 release, where it will struggle to distinguish itself among the 3D animated likes of Monsters vs. Aliens and whatever Pixar’s got going that year. Warner Brothers and Miramax will split up the global distribution.