Fly Me to the Moon Review – Only a Few Scenes Manage to Lift Off” width=”560″/>
The story of three flies who hitch a ride to the moon, Fly Me to the Moon has trouble getting off the ground.
Nat (Trevor Gagnon) is a young fly who, along with his best friends, I.Q. (Philip Bolden) and Scooter (David Gore), wants to find adventure. Since they live near Cape Canaveral, they decide to stowaway on Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon. They get on board, go to the moon, and come back. Along the way, there are some very small complications involving evil Russian flies and some consternation from their concerned parents.
Now, clearly this is a children’s film. But this summer’s Wall-E showed us an animated film designed for young audiences can also engage and satisfy other demograhics as well.
Fly Me to the Moon
is the first animated film designed, created, and released exclusively
in 3D, so you’d expect that there would be some groundbreaking imagery
on display. Sadly, aside from several incredibly short sequences that
actually manage to lift off (pun intended), including an escape through
a venting tube between the main shuttle and the moon lander, the film
barely manages to stay in focus. And though the backgrounds and
sets are surprisingly realistic, the flies are plastic and stiff, with
a very small range of expressions. The movie does avoid making the insects seem gross, but there is one
exception: The maggots. There is, and excuse me while I gag a bit here,
a pair of pink, squirmy maggot babies who are supporting characters in
the movie. The maggots may be pink, and talk like babies, but for some
reason, they have horrific brown, broken, ogre like teeth, and make
awful squishing noises as they move. They’re so horrifying, a child in
the audience started crying every time they came on screen.
So what’s to like? The scenes that show Apollo 11 lifting off,
essentially animated versions of actual footage, are as thrilling as
you might expect from one of the true wonders mankind has managed to
create. Similarly, all scenes involving the astronauts working with the
lander, shuttle, and exploring the moon are treated with a reverence
that almost makes you wish they hadn’t bothered with the fly part of
the movie. And, in fact, for large chunks of the film, the flies
completely disappear. This is a good thing, by the way.
Of all the voice actors, Christopher Lloyd actually manages to
give some humanity to the voice of Grandpa, an old fly who once
adventured with Amelia Earhart. He’s also the only character that gets
some sort of arc, from his adventuring days being over to regaining
them once again. That being said, he’s also saddled with dialogue like,
“Women!” and “Here we go again!” Doc Brown deserves better than this.
After the flies have returned home and Nat has stated the film’s
moral, the words “The End” come up on screen. At which point, people in
the theater started to leave, until we were stopped by someone shouting, “Wait,
wait, don’t go yet! Wait! Hold on!” I honestly
thought there was someone in charge of the screening who needed to tell
us something. Turns out, it’s Buzz Aldrin, who proceeds to chastise the audience. On the off chance that we were
magically transported to another world where dreamers can do anything
their heart believes, Aldrin assures us that under no circumstances
were there any flies, or any other sort of contaminants on the Apollo
11 mission. And he knows that, because he’s the real Buzz Aldrin, not
the cartoon one in the movie. This is said with
no wink in his voice, no tone, except for bitterness about being
paraded out for his seal of authenticity. And that was almost enough to make me cry.