Over the Moon
A young girl builds a rocket ship so she can fly to the moon and met the goddess Chang'e.
There has been a distinct lack of animations so far this year - we have the pandemic to thank for that - so Netflix is here to fill the current gap in the market with Over the Moon.
The animation tells the story of Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), a young girl who is still grieving for her mum, who died four years before the main events of the film.
She refuses to believe her dad (John Cho) has moved on with Mrs Zhong (Sandra Oh) and that she now has a stepbrother, Chin (Robert G Chiu).
Fei Fei has always been obsessed with the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e (Phillipa Soo) and decides to build a rocket ship to the moon to meet her, with Chin secretly coming along for the ride.
On the moon, Fei Fei discovers Chang'e is heartbroken and is in need of a special "gift" to help reunite her with her long gone mortal love Houyi, so Fei Fei goes on a mission to find it.
Although the inclusion of Chinese mythology gives Over the Moon a new angle, many aspects of it felt borrowed, or at least inspired, by other animations.
For example, the main character has a dead parent, both lead children have funny animal companions, there’s an unwanted sidekick (in Chin), a disco-pop musical number reminiscent of Zootroplis, and Fei Fei’s new moon friend Gobi (Ken Jeong) was very similar to Olaf from Frozen.
It’s like director Glen Keane and his team were trying to tick the boxes of what makes Disney/Pixar movies so successful and stuck to the tried and tested formula, which results in a film that feels unoriginal and derivative.
Also, the main message of the movie - or the lesson Fei Fei learns during her journey - is very predictable and obvious, but it's still a worthwhile message and its heart is in the right place.
However, despite the unoriginal story, a lack of direction in the middle and some garish visuals in places, there is no denying that Over the Moon is still a highly entertaining movie that children will have a lot of fun with.
There are many laugh-out-loud moments and some of the musical numbers are very enjoyable, particularly Chang’e’s introductory number, an electro-pop banger that wouldn’t seem out of place at Eurovision.
Over the Moon is flawed but at the end of the day, the only question that truly matters is will children enjoy it? And the answer is a resounding yes.
If your kids like Disney, they will like Over the Moon, because they probably can’t tell the difference. It is a much-needed slice of entertaining escapism that we all need right now; children and adults alike.
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