"Fly me to the Moon" takes one small step for computer animated movies and another giant leap for the 3D movie trend, by committing to a '3D-only' release. So whereas previous movies using the new 3D process such "Journey to the Center of the Earth" or "Meet the Robinson's" hedged their bets by releasing both a regular version and one that requires the new 3D glasses to watch, "Fly me to the Moon" goes for it, and will only be shown in theaters capable of projecting the new 3D effects and seen by movie goers willing to shell out a couple of extra bucks for the plastic glasses.
The box office returns will reveal the results of the experiment; however the viability of the emerging 3D format can't be based on "Fly me to the Moon" as a gauge of its success. The film reminds audiences that just because something comes wrapped in the latest and greatest technology, in this case 3D, doesn't make it good.
As a movie, "Fly me to the Moon" comes off a few notches above a direct to video release. The Belgian made computer animation is stiff and clunky, and lacks the kind of subtle magic that Pixar works into their films. The character design appears sort of like a cross between the California Raisins and the insect world, with a lot of typecast characters that are easy to follow and easier to forget. Except of course for the cute cherubic maggots that evoke aww's and then ewww's when you start to think about what they are.
The movie is aimed at the younger audience, and works as a family film without too many harsh edges to worry about. The dialog and plot follow a slow predictable pace that centers on the pivotal time in space exploration when America put a man on the moon in the summer of 1969. This setting and the chance to see most of the highlights of the infamous Apollo 11 mission recreated and rendered in 3D make "Fly me to the Moon" worth watching. We see the whole mission literally from a fly on the wall perspective following three young flies who tag along for the ride.
Christopher Lloyd stands out as the life of the movie, offering up to the younger flies, his tales of adventures which includes his role flying with Amelia Earheart on her transatlantic flight. The rest of the celebrity cast that loans their voices to the film get lost in the clutter. So much so, that even Tim Curry's distinctive voice is difficult to identify as one of the 'evil Russian' flies that are competing in the space race. The movie puts too much emphasis on trying to rehash Boris and Natasha from Bullwinkle and not enough on forging ahead to create their own new cold war Russian stereotypes. Back at home the fly community watches their offspring fly to the moon on TV, which provides the unlikely pairing of Kelly Ripa and Adrienne Barbeau as worried fly moms.
The movie wraps up with a bizarre but emphatic message from the real Buzz Aldrin, who reassures us in 3D that there were no flies when they made it to the moon 38 summers ago. Its odd how he shows up but it's nice to see the actual astronaut who took those lunar strolls and makes you long for a 3D movie about the space exploration program instead.
Swatting these 3D flies out of the room, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2008 - Purple - Air Date: 8/6/08
Fly Me to the Moon
Belgium - 2008