Posted: 08/14/2008

 

Fly Me to the Moon

(2008)

by Laura Tucker




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The commercials for Fly Me to the Moon just looked so cute, I had to take my daughter to see it. While the movie had some great moments, I didn’t find it as promising as the commercial. If there were one good thing about this movie in 3D, though, it’s that it introduces kids to the wonders of the space program.

My generation grew up mesmerized by the space program. In July of 1969, when man first landed on the moon, I was a few weeks shy of beginning kindergarten. It was such a big deal, my husband remembers teachers rolling a TV into the classroom so everyone could watch subsequent rocket launches. We would go down to Florida to visit my grandparents in those years, and it was big doings when a rocket was due to take off. A generation later, as a parent myself going down to Florida, my kids enjoy seeing shuttles take off, but they don’t see the wonder of it that we always did.

It’s the sense of wonder that I like most about Fly Me to the Moon. It definitely wasn’t my favorite kids’ movie of this year, but its sole redeeming quality was opening up this generation to the same feeling that we were exposed to. It takes place that same summer that man landed on the moon. To take us back to that time, it has the music of the era, starting with “Groovin’” by The Young Rascals.

Three young flies—Nat, I.Q. and Scooter—at play in the junkyard, are good friends and take on the typical roles of a cartoon. One is an overeater that is heavy, one is a brainiac, and the other is the adventurous one. Their banter was cute, but from the very beginning, the script bothered me as one uttered, “How do I know? Do I have eyes in the back of my head?” and another answered, “But we do have eyes behind our heads.” The problem with this is that these cartoon versions don’t have eyes in the back of their heads, or even multiple eyes, so that whole thing doesn’t even make sense.

The youngsters overhear that the humans are headed to the moon, and Nat makes it his goal to figure out a way to join them. He’s encouraged in this by his grandfather, a guy who sits around telling the fly joke about three of them on the beer can and two on the phone, identifying the difference between male and female flies, and reminisces about the time he flew across the ocean with Amelia Earhart. Also residing in Nat’s home are his mother and his younger siblings, a bunch of maggots, who are supposed to be cute, but that’s just too big of a leap for me. If you’ve seen maggots, you know they’re far from cute.

Nat, I.Q. and Scooter find their way onto the rocket and head to the moon. NASA realizes there is a potential contaminant onboard, and when this information gets out, the flies at the Kremlin in Moscow are embarrassed to not be making it to the moon first. They set out to stop the flight and are helped along with Nat’s grandfather’s ex, Nadia.

The 3D is practically nonexistent in Fly Me to the Moon. It’s there, but it doesn’t really add a whole lot to the film. Also nonexistent are the voices behind the fly characters. They have some big names here, but the only one that is immediately recognizable is Christopher Lloyd playing the grandfather. Other big names are Tim Curry, Kelly Ripa, Nicolette Sheridan and Ed Begley, Jr. It’s great to add the star power to the film, but it just didn’t have an effect.

Fly Me to the Moon is a cute enough film; it just wasn’t as good as it could have been. While its one redeeming factor remains that it opens up this generation to the wonder of the space program, it could have used the 3D and stars of the film to do more. Kids could have walked out wide-eyed and awestruck, but instead, the younger ones walked out giggling at the antics of the flies, and older kids walked out having seen just another animated 3D film.

Laura Tucker is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Reality Shack, and operates a celebrity gossip blog, Troubled Hollywood.



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