You're telling me we have a movie where a girl travels to the moon? Of course the Earth is flat, but can we even be sure that the moon isn't just part of our imaginations?
Glen Keane and John Kahrs direct Over the Moon, an animated musical adventure about a teenage girl named Fei Fei who travels to the moon to meet the moon goddess, Chang'e, to prove her existence to her father.
Now, before I begin my review, I want to clarify my current state: I have been awake for 17 hours, I spent over five hours today on Zoom calls, I watched Borat 2 earlier tonight, I wrote a review of that movie, and then I watched this film. So this may not be my most formal review because I am losing it at this point.
First, let's get the obvious out of the way. The very premise is ridiculous. How does a 14-year-old girl build a rocketship that can go to the moon? NASA has infinitely more resources than her, and they have an entire team of people.
A 14-year-old girl does not build a rocketship on her own. Also, how does she get the money to do it? She uses her dad's credit card early in the film, but how does he not notice that her daughter spent about $500,000 to build a rocketship? I am Asian; we care too much about money to not see that.
Okay, now that I have gotten that off of my chest, I think this is the part of a review where I write about my thoughts on the movie. I like the Asian representation in this film. I think it's good that Asian people are in an animated movie where most of the voice actors are Asians. Appreciate that.
But this is a frustratingly generic film. It reuses many tropes from Disney movies, with the young female lead, the funny animal sidekick, and the dead parent within the first few minutes of the film. The film doesn't do the clichés very well because it doesn't explore the characters as well as it could.
This movie tries to establish an interesting protagonist with Fei Fei. Her mother told her the story of Chang'e, and Fei Fei believes in the story too. The mother dies from unknown causes, and her father is dating a new woman with a young son. Fei Fei doesn't want the new mother for undeveloped reasons.
It is not the most compelling conflict, but it almost worked. Also, the music in this movie is there. There are no catchy songs, and they're generally forgettable. It's a bit useless, too, as a character is introduced with a pointless concert scene that adds nothing to the movie.
Unfortunately, the writing is not very good either. Putting aside the tropes, it is poorly paced as the characters don't feel like they're facing too many obstacles. There are no villains in the film, and the ones that come closest are a trio of chickens with very little screentime.
Also, the exposition is a bit ham-fisted. The legend of Chang'e is told to us instead of shown, and that isn't very good visual storytelling for an animated film. We mostly have Fei Fei verbally announcing how she feels rather than showing it to us. It deserved more subtlety.
The animation is also something to take note of. It's an aggressively colorful film with neon color at every corner, blinding the audience with its vibrance and determination to keep children entertained with the pretty colors.
Honestly, this movie could feel a bit like an acid trip. There's a scene where two characters float in the air against a colorful background and play ping pong while rapping at each other. The film also has Fei Fei want to get something, but by the end, her journey feels worthless for reasons I won't spoil.
I think there's a good story somewhere here. It could have explored the human condition and made something beautiful. However, it just goes down formulaic territory with the animal sidekick and the big, forgettable adventure that doesn't have much going for it.
This movie should have done more extraordinary things. However, it takes no real risks, and it wastes its potential to combine a character study with a Chinese legend by not developing anything. And I think that's all I have to say. Let me check my notes.
Okay, yeah, that's everything. Pretty disappointing movie. I have been awake for 18 hours now. I am getting delirious. This review was not written or structured that well, but hopefully, you get the big picture of what I thought of this film. Have a great day. Really.
Grade: ★★✬☆☆ [5/10, C]
Rating: PG for some thematic elements and mild action