Fly Me to the Moon
by Jef Burnham
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Although visually impressive, Fly Me to the Moon is an exceptionally poor family film that has very little to offer parents and older children but stands to succeed based solely on the technical achievements of its 3D effects. That is not to say the film has nothing to offer, since transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission and blueprints of the ship and lunar module were used in the creation of the film, but it would not have hurt for the filmmakers to have directed some of their energy into the screenplay rather than the visuals.
The 3D technology utilized for Fly Me to the Moon does not require the blue and red paper deals that come to mind. Instead, to view the movie requires a special pair of what look like sunglasses. The lenses are angled so that your eyes are forced to turn in slightly unnatural directions, which does not alleviate any of the headaches endemic with the previous technology. The new glasses are difficult to wear if you already require glasses, and I should imagine only get worse the stronger your prescription is.
On to the film itself, the story is thin, the dialogue is stale at best, and the voice-work is shoddily pieced together, creating awkward gaps between lines. The flies are just bizarre to look at. They are blue with antennae, but are otherwise graced with human features like noses, breasts and human eyes. I realize that actual flies would be too creepy for a children’s movie, but I found these things to be quite unsettling in their own right.
Whereas recent Disney and DreamWorks family films had material geared toward all audiences (because, let’s face it, parents have to sit through these movies, too), Fly Me to the Moon has so very little that will appeal to adults. Despite the constant attempts at humor, I do not recall laughing once. Half the jokes are predictable of an underdog story like this, and the other half are at the expense of a particular race or people set. For instance, the obese character is constantly eating, belching and farting. He even floats out toward the screen and belches in the audience’s faces in one scene, and it does not stop there. The other stereotyping material is far more outdated. Just because the film is set in 1969 does not mean it is okay to portray women as constantly cooking, nagging, worrying and fainting, or depict Russians as a hideously malformed race of people.
These are just a few problems I had with Fly Me to the Moon. Obviously, children will not notice 99% of these things, and will be screaming their heads off as things fly out of the screen at them. However, parents must take into account their own enjoyment from time to time, as should filmmakers show the same consideration for parents. And with Disney releasing a 3D film in the near future, discerning parents may just want to hold out for that.
Jef Burnham is a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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