Over the Moon: Netflix Film Review

Over the Moon

There has been a distinct lack of animations so far this year, but they now seem to be coming out at the same time, with Wolfwalkers, Soul, and Over the Moon being released within weeks of each other. Will Over the Moon stand out from the crowd? Read on to find out. 

Over the Moon, featuring an all-Asian voice cast, 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 Chui). 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. 

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 – a frog and a rabbit (which is a great source of humour), there’s an unwanted sidekick (in Chin), a disco-pop musical number which reminded me of Zootroplis, and Fei Fei’s new moon friend Gobi (Ken Jeong) was very Olaf-like. It’s like Glen Keane and his team were trying to tick the boxes of what makes Disney/Pixar movies so successful. I understand why they’d want to stick with the tried and tested formula, but it just results in a film that feels rather derivative. 

Also, you can guess the message – or the lesson Fei Fei learns from her journey – just from reading the summary above, so it’s obvious and predictable, but it’s still a worthy message and its heart is in the right place. And on another critical note, I didn’t love how the moon inhabitants (not including Chang’e and another rabbit) were realised visually. They seemed to be colourful blobs without a proper outline. All the Earth-based scenes and people are animated like you’d expect and look great so the moon-based imagery looks cheaper and more garish by comparison. 

But, despite all these criticisms, I still really enjoyed it. Fei Fei is lovely, I think kids will really like her, there are some moments that made me properly laugh out loud (I even rewound one to watch it again), and some of the musical numbers are a lot of fun, particularly Chang’e’s introductory number, an electro-pop banger that wouldn’t seem out of place at Eurovision. Chang’e is given gorgeous costumes and she has a beautiful singing voice, which is no surprise considering Soo is from Hamilton. Although not all the songs made an impact, I loved that there was a mix of styles, so there’s the usual musical theatre ones, the generic pop numbers, and even a rap one. 

Over the Moon has quite a few flaws but at the end of the day, the only question that truly matters is – will children enjoy it? And the answer is a big fat yes. If your kids like Disney, they will like Over the Moon, because you probably can’t tell the difference. It is a much-needed slice of entertaining escapism.

In selected cinemas now and on Netflix from Friday 23rd October 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Films I want to see this October

Saint Maud

It’s the start of a new month so it’s time for my monthly movie preview once again.

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Scoob!: Film Review

Scoob!

As a big fan of the Scooby-Doo TV show and the live-action films growing up, I was sceptical about a reboot of the franchise, but Scoob! was much better than I was expecting it to be.

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Crazy Rich Asians: Film Review

Crazy Rich Asians has been killing it over in the US and the hype about it has been insane, so naturally I was very excited to check it out. The annoying gap between US and UK made my anticipation even higher and it truly didn’t disappoint.

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Pics: The Hangover III premiere

hangover 003

Tonight was the European premiere of The Hangover Part III in London’s Leicester Square. The fans went wild for Bradley Cooper as well as Zach Galifinakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham and Ken Jeong.

Other minor celebrities included The Saturdays (minus Rochelle), Russell Kane, Dynamo, Jessica Lowndes and boyband Lawson.

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Bradley was amazing and spent ages with the fans and press. He went through everybody and seemed more focused on taking a picture of himself with fans. This was great for people in the front row but those further back didn’t benefit. He was so good. I was very impressed. Zach and Ed both signed for fans but not as thoroughly as Bradley, sometimes skipping sections to do press, so I didn’t get close to them. Justin was so nice and spent ages with the fans and even came back to us twice! Heather was equally friendly and was displaying some serious cleavage. Ken didn’t sign as much as the others and The Saturdays barely approached the crowd.

Enjoy the thumbnail pics below. Click on an image to enlarge.